Magpies celebrating after beating the Firebirds in Brisbane. (Picture: Super Netball/ Design: Will Cuckson)

Despite a slow start to the season, which included three consecutive losses, the Collingwood Magpies were able to gain momentum towards the back half of the season to clinch a spot in the finals for the first time since 2019.

They were defeated by GIANTS Netball in the minor semi-final losing by seven goals after scraping into the finals with a loss against the Melbourne Vixens the week prior.

The Inner Sanctum explores the Magpies’ 2022 Super Netball season, in review.

What Worked?

The Magpies mid court went to a whole new level this season with the combination of Kelsey Browne and Molly Jovic really shining this season. They were supported by Ash Brazill in wing defence, who earned selection for the Diamonds to feature for the first time in a Commonwealth Games campaign.

Jovic had one of her best seasons at the level with the 26-year-old stopping some of the best centres in the competition, including Firebirds captain Kim Ravaillion and Vixens star Kate Moloney.

While the midcourt was strong in an attack perspective, they were just as good defensively with the Magpies midcourters able to regain the ball back for their team.

Jovic had nine intercepts and 15 deflections from 13 games in 2022, while Brazill had another stunning season in her first season as Magpies co-captain with 11 intercepts and 30 deflections from 11 appearances.  

Collingwood Magpie Molly Jovic. (Photo: collingwoodmagpies.com.au)

What didn’t?

The goal circle for the Magpies struggled to reach its full potential this season, this was due to its new configuration and the time needed for them to build up their chemistry as a unit.

Former Swift Sophie Garbin was adapting to playing full matches out at goal attack and developing her connection with Shimona Nelson and as a result, the magpies lacked that real playmaker in that goal circle.

When the goal circle started to fire in parts of the season, they were able to show how unstoppable the shooting circle would be. This was on full display during the match against the Queensland Firebirds in Tasmania in Round Nine.  

In this clash Nelson was almost unstoppable, shooting 65 goals for the game at an accuracy of 94 per cent, while Garbin was strong on the shot shooting at 100 per cent.

The Magpies were also inconsistent not only across the season but during games as well. During the semi-final against GIANTS Netball, a dominate second quarter for the Magpies put them in prime position to close out the game, despite this they finished off the game with 20 second half goals to 30 for their opposition.

More Netball Season Reviews

SSN 2022 Season Review: NSW Swifts – So Close But So Far

SSN 2022 Season Review: Queensland Firebirds Season Review – What could have been?

SSN 2022 Season Review: Adelaide Thunderbirds – A sense of deja vu

Season Highlight

It’s not often that a season highlight involved a loss but the final match of the regular season was a highlight of the season for the Magpies. For Collingwood, having a spot in the finals on the line, it went right down to the final shot.

The Magpies went into this game without reliable defender Jodi-Ann Ward, back-up midcourter Maggie Lind, Brazil or head coach Nicole Richardson, the odds were stacked up against them.

Despite these players being unavailable due to COVID Health and Safety Protocols, the inclusion of former Diamond and Vixen, Renae Ingles was welcomed by the Magpies after her retirement from the SSN in 2019.

During the final stages of the match, the margin got out to a ten goal margin in the favour of the Vixens, which spelt season over for the Magpies.

For the Magpies to make the top four, the margin couldn’t blow out to anything more than two goals. Although the side couldn’t get the win, the Magpies kept the margin to the two points required to stay in the finals.

Browne was strong for the Magpies with 15 goal assists and 32 centre pass receives, while Nelson (46/47) continued her fine form shooting at 98 per cent.

Season Lowlight

The season lowlight for the Magpies came pretty early on in the season with the loss coming against the eventual champions in the West Coast Fever back in Round Two of the Super Netball Season.

The Magpies were on the back foot from almost the first whistle. Losing the first quarter with the margin blowing out 19-9, it was a long way back for Collingwood.

The Magpies seemed to have no answer for Jhaniele Fowler (58/60) who dominated in the goal circle, while the Magpies were unable to convert the turnover down the other end.

Garbin (10/13) didn’t have her best day and struggled to sink the super shots (3/9), when attempting them.

Team MVP

Star midcourter Browne claimed the honours of Collingwood’s Best and Fairest award after her best season in the black and white.

Browne played a pivotal role in Collingwood’s quest to make finals, with her feeds into Nelson proving to be pinpoint perfect as the season built on.

Becoming one of the premier wing attacks in the competition for 2022, Browne finished the season with 305 goal assists and 312 centre pass receives. She was also strong defensively, finishing the season with nine intercepts and 10 deflections.

Kelsey Browne during the clash against the Thunderbirds Picture (Suncorp Super Netball/ Twitter)

Rising Star

Goal Shooter Nelson proved to be unstoppable for the parts of the season, with her game reaching a whole new level in 2022.  She was a rock under the post for the Magpies, shooting 90 per cent of the sides’ goals across the season.

The 23-year-old was also extremely accurate when turning to post, having only dropped below 90 per cent accuracy three times this season. On top of that Nelson shot at 100 per cent on three occasions this season.

Nelson’s ability in the air makes her truly unstoppable, which fans saw when the Magpies headed to Tasmania to take on the Firebirds, when no defender was able to measure up to Nelson.

There were also a couple of training partners for the Magpies that proved to be stars of the future. Young shooter Nyah Allen really made an impact on her few chances at Super Netball level in 2022, which has seen her earn a full contract for the upcoming season.

Another training partner making the most of her opportunity was Zoe Davies, who helped put a stop to one of the best goal attack in the competition in Gretel Bueta.

Moving Forward

There have been a few changes to the Magpies squad for the 2023 season, with the hope to keep the Magpies in finals contention.

Sharp-shooter Gabrielle Sinclair and midcourter Lind have both departed the club after not being offered contracts for the upcoming season.

Coming into the Magpies line up is young gun Allen who has impressed as a training partner for the Magpies for the past two seasons and was a part of the extended bench for the 2020 season.  Allen will be looking to add that flare that the shooting end was lacking at times in 2022.

Also coming into the line-up is Maddie Hinchliffe, who had a breakout season for the Sunshine Coast Lightning and will be adding some extra depth in the Magpies midcourt, especially in the centre and wing defence positions.

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