After a few years of COVID disruptions, the first ANC competition is set to kick off on the 22nd of August in Traralgon. The new-look pathway competition designed to showcase emerging national talent will feature 10 teams.
The teams have been sought from state and territory Member Organisations and Suncorp Super Netball League clubs. The teams competing will be the Collingwood Magpies, Tasmania, Capital Darters, Queensland Sapphires, Victorian Fury, GIANTS Academy, QBE Swifts Academy, West Coast Fever Reserves, Sunshine Coast Lightning and the Southern Force.
With plenty of up-and-coming talent suiting up, The Inner Sanctum looks at five players to watch when the competition kicks off on Monday.
Natalie Medhurst (West Coast Fever Reserves)
Australian Netball legend Natalie Medhurst is making a comeback to professional netball, signing on for the West Coast Fever Reserves. Medhurst’s last Super Netball appearance was back in 2019 for the Collingwood Magpies, featuring in the semi-final against the Melbourne Vixens.
Across her 235 national league games, Medhurst has made a name for herself as one of the best long-range shooters, while being that real playmaker in the goal circle.
Almost three years since that day, Medhurst will be pulling on the green dress once again, although at the lower level.
At the four-day competition, Medhurst will be playing alongside some of the next wave of Western Australian goalers in Sloan Burton, Emma Cosh and Emma Putt.
Laura Towell (QBE Swifts Academy)
Swifts’ fans got to see glimpses of New South Wales pathway athlete Laura Towell when the Swifts took to Melbourne to compete at the Team Girls Cup back in March, to replace their international shooter, Sam Wallace.
Once Towell’s nerves settled down, she proved to be a strong option for the Swifts under the post, playing that role of the holding shooter really well. Since Team Girls Cup, Towell has been competing in the New South Wales Premier League for the Sutherland Stingrays.
As well as playing the role of a holding shooter, Towell’s movement in the goal circle can create that moving type circle. When turning to go to post, Towell is extremely accurate and is dangerous from just about anywhere in the goal circle, which makes it harder for opposition defenders.
Ramayer Gourley (Collingwood Magpies)
Ramayer Gourley is an exciting talent coming from the Victorian Pathway, playing for the Melbourne University Lightning in the Victoria Netball League. Gourley can play down both ends of the court, playing both defence and goal shooter.
In goal shooter, Gourley is incredibly hard to stop, using her height to her advantage to be able to take the ball and go to post. In defence, she is a key pillar as she is able to read the play to get the intercept.
While her usual partners in crime in Gabby Coffey and Maggie Carris are suiting up for Victorian Fury, Gourley will be combining with the likes of Sienna Allen and Zoe Davies in defence. If she’s to swing into attack she’ll combine with the likes of Nyah Allen or Olivia Wilkinson.
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Tyler Orr (Southern Force)
Tyler Orr has been an Adelaide Thunderbirds training partner over the last couple of seasons. Making her Super Netball debut back in 2020 for the Collingwood Magpies, when she was named a temporary replacement player, Orr continues to grow in the game.
Orr is a defensive midcourter who can play across both centre and wing defence and has been making her presence known in the South Australian premier league, playing for the Matrics Netball Club.
Orr is extremely strong when she hits circle edge and has a great midcourter/shooter relationship with new Thunderbird and fellow Force teammate Lucy Austin. This means she is able to feed the ball into the goal circle with ease. She also plays the defensive role just as good as she does on offence, able to win possession back for her team.
Leesa Mi Mi (Queensland Sapphires)
Leesa Mi Mi is the sister of former Queensland Firebirds player Jemma Mi Mi. Mi Mi (Leesa) has been a key player in the midcourt of the North Brisbane Cougars in the Sapphire Series, helping her team win three consecutive premierships.
Much like her sister Jemma, Mi Mi has speed to burn and uses it to her advantage and is extremely strong in that second phase off that centre pass. Playing across both wing attack and centre, Mi Mi is also really strong on the feed able to get it into the shooters with pinpoint precision.
Much like at the North Brisbane Cougars, Mi Mi will be combining with fellow teammate and new Firebird Macy Gardner in the midcourt and be feeding into Firebirds training partner Charlie Bell in goal shooter with Bell and Mi Mi creating a strong midcourt/shooter connection.
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