15/04/2024

Ruby Bakewell-Doran, Matilda McDonell, Olivia Lewis and Tayla Williams have been sensational in the SSN this season (Picture: SSN/Website and Melbourne Vixens/Twitter, Design: Will Cuckson)

In Australia, we wait with great interest to see the youth of netball coming through, particularly at SSN. The Inner Sanctum has put together a 2022 Under-25s SSN team.

With the enviable quality that Australia possesses in netball on the world stage, we wait with great interest to see the youth coming through, particularly at Suncorp Super Netball. The Inner Sanctum has put together a starting seven for the Under-25s of SSN with a bench and honourable mentions included.

Goal Keeper: Matilda McDonell (GIANTS Netball)

Matilda McDonell has well and truly taken the mantle of goal keeper at GIANTS Netball this season. After club legend Sam Poolman retired at SSN level last season, the starting goal keeper bib was up for grabs and now without hesitation, McDonell has earned that position every game ahead of new recruit Lauren Moore.

McDonell brings her athleticism and vertical leap to this position, showcasing many intercepts and deflections on goal shooters with an abundance of experience over her. She never gives up and keeps grinding her opponents down, helping to stifle the influence of the opposition attackers.

Her work with April Brandley and Amy Parmenter in defence has been sensational, one of the key reasons GIANTS Netball made finals.

She finished this season in third place in the league for defensive rebounds behind the Fever’s Courtney Bruce and Thunderbird Shamera Sterling. Of the 14 games played, McDonell amassed 17 intercepts, 45 deflections and 22 rebounds.

Matilda McDonell is becoming a star defender for Giants Netball (Picture: Suncorp Super Netball/Website)

Goal Defence: Ruby Bakewell-Doran (Queensland Firebirds)

The rise of Ruby Bakewell-Doran was one of the great highlights of the SSN season. Coming off an ACL injury as a teenager and an ankle injury in her first year as a Firebird, she was a training partner in 2021 then she signed a full squad contract this season after some impressive performances.

Playing 14 games this season, Bakewell-Doran had 19 intercepts and 17 rebounds. Finishing the season with 56 rebounds, she had the fifth most rebounds in the league.

She was a constant in the Firebirds defence, nulling the influence of goal attacks week in and week out. She often partnered with English Rose Eboni Ursoro-Brown, while keeping Kim Jenner out of the starting side.

The highlight of her year was the late-call up into the Australian Diamonds squad for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. She will join the squad as a travelling reserve which will do wonders for her development.


Wing Defence: Amy Parmenter (GIANTS Netball)

You cannot look at the top wing attacks of the league without looking at Amy Parmenter. The GIANTS midcourter was phenomenal this season, largely locking down on the game’s best wing attacks; Liz Watson, Kelsey Browne and Maddy Proud.

Working alongside McDonell and April Brandley, Parmenter has been a part of one of the best defensive circles in the league this season. She took 24 intercepts this season, which was the fifth most in the league behind some of the league’s best defensive players in Shamera Sterling, Courtney Bruce, Latanya Wilson and Sarah Klau.

A highlight for her this season was her selection in the Australian Diamonds squad, although she missed out on the travelling squad which will go to the Commonwealth Games. Another big highlight for Parmenter was being named the GIANTS Netball MVP alongside captain Jo Harten.

GIANTS Netball young star Amy Parmenter (Photo: GIANTS Netball/Twitter)


Centre: Tayla Williams (Adelaide Thunderbirds)

One of the best players for the Adelaide Thunderbirds this season was first year midcourter Tayla Williams. In 2020, Williams made her debut as a training partner and this year she impressed after she was elevated to the Thunderbirds’ official squad of 10.

Playing 12 games for the season she had 14 intercepts, 21 deflections and 95 assists. Her best performances were in the back to back games against the Collingwood Magpies and Firebirds were she was instrumental in their wins.

Williams was best utilised as an impact player, able to come in and change the momentum of the team with her speed and vision. Considering the issues the Thunderbirds had in the midcourt and the connection with the attacking end, Williams was a key factor in getting the ball into the shooters.

Wing Attack: Georgie Horjus (Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Playing in goal attack and wing attack this season, Georgie Horjus was a reliable force in both positions for Tania Obst’s team.

After having Australian rising star Tippah Dwan moving to the Thunderbirds in the off-season, it was not clear how that would affect the young goaler. It turned out to be a great move for the Thunderbirds because Horjus became a key link from the midcourt to attack. This move helped Adelaide to get more out of their goal circle in Dwan and Lenize Potgeiter.

In her third season, she boosted a 79 per cent goal accuracy (66 per cent from super shot range), along with 91 goals and 19 super shots.

It remains to be seen as to whether her goal accuracy and knack for scoring super shots will be missed within the team, however it seems like the move to wing attack will be more permanent. This is due to the arrival of English International goal attack/goal shooter Eleanor Cardwell in the off-season.

Georgie Horjus
Adelaide Thunderbirds attacker Georgie Horjus (Photo: Adelaide Thunderbirds/Twitter)


Goal Attack: Sasha Glasgow (West Coast Fever)

West Coast Fever’s Sasha Glasgow has had a breakout year which has partially led to the success the team enjoyed this season. Playing as a goal attack, Glasgow was an integral part of the Fever’s ability to score goals through her personally and through their superstar goal shooter, Jhaniele Fowler.

It was important for her to pull out a super shot if needed but primarily she fed Fowler the ball and they worked in tandem very effectively. Despite the super shot scoring ability, she still scored 125 regular goals of her own.

During the year she was shot the third most super shots with 51 and had the third most super shot attempts with 85 attempts. She was ranked third in these statistics behind English Roses Helen Housby and Jo Harten.

The highlight for her this season, was her MVP performance in the Grand Final against the Melbourne Vixens. She really came into her own in a performance that many thought would be outshone by Fowler, scoring 4/4 goals and 4/9 super shots. She had 26 goal assists, 28 feeds and 11 centre pass receives showing the work she does up and down the court receiving the ball out of the middle and getting it to Fowler.

Goal Shooter: Rahni Samason (Melbourne Vixens)

After having an immense debut game in 2021, where she scored 29/32 including a super shot to win the match Samason has been one young gun to watch.

In her first year as a full-contracted Vixen, Rahni Samason kept her form consistent despite less game time due to a persistent knee injury this season. Playing alongside Mwai Kumwenda and new Vixen Kiera Austin (particularly as a super shot pairing), Samason plays as an impact scorer off the bench for the Vixens.

She is the perfect impact player being quick and possessing high netball smarts, she quickly can make her opposing defender look silly. Her shooting accuracy has been a big weapon over the last few seasons, scoring at 84 per cent this season and 79 per cent from super shot range.

She scored 42 goals and 11 super shots, coming from an injury interrupted season.

Bench

Olivia Lewis (Melbourne Vixens)

Switching from the Fever to the Vixens, young defender Olivia Lewis has been a great find for the Vixen’s bench this season. Playing 27 games for the Fever, she has already made her presence felt in her new team.

Playing 10 games, she took 10 intercepts, 14 deflections and six rebounds. This was solid considering the relatively limited game time she got behind Australian Diamonds Jo Weston and Emily Mannix.

A fascinating match-up for the year was when she faced her old side and old teammate Jhaniele Fowler. In the round four match-up at John Cain Arena, Lewis played an immense role on the best goal shooter in the SSN. She had three intercepts and three gains after being substituted for Mannix, who had her hands full with Fowler.

Reilley Batcheldor (Sunshine Coast Lightning)

Playing under the tutelage of Australian Diamonds Steph Wood and Cara Koenen, Reilley Batcheldor is a star of the future.

Coming from the Queensland Firebirds, the former training partner took an opportunity to hone her craft at the Sunshine Coast. In her first year at the Lightning, Batcheldor has impressed in her first year as a contracted player in the SSN.

Shooting 37 super shots this season, Batcheldor shot the fifth most super shots in the league behind Housby, Harten, Glasgow and teammate Steph Wood. This was a spectacular effort considering her it was rare for her to play any game time in some instances throughout the season.

Her role was as a super shot shooter off the bench, which usually coincided with the Lightning being down in a match and Batcheldor being under pressure to keep them in it. This shows in her 69 super shot attempts for the season. She had a goal accuracy of 76 per cent (scoring 160 goals through the season) and 54 per cent from super shot range.

Sunshine Coast Lightning young shooter Reilley Batcheldor. (@sc_lightning – Twitter)

Allie Smith (NSW Swifts)

After making her debut in 2020 and playing 20 games for the Melbourne Vixens, Allie Smith took up an opportunity this season with the NSW Swifts. The young mid-courter took a big step up this season to show why she was so highly valued by both the Vixens and Swifts.

Playing in a midcourt consisting of Paige Hadley, Maddy Proud and Tayla Fraser, Smith was used mostly as a wing defence in conjunction with the Proud and Hadley midcourt combination. She showed her speed and aggression this season and the chemistry grew with her teammates as the season went on.

She played 14 games with six intercepts, 19 deflections and three rebounds. Smith will be better next season for the run this season and the chance to be able to gel with the Swifts will only strengthen the team.

Honourable mentions

Hannah Mundy (Melbourne Vixens)

Vixens mid-courter Hannah Mundy took a step forward this season after being a temporary replacement player for Liz Watson in 2021. She went on to win the Rookie of the Year last season and took strides this season off the bench.

Mundy was crucial to the Vixen’s form this season, working with Kate Eddy, Kate Moloney and Watson to give the opposition trouble through the midcourt rotations.

She played nine games this year and finished with 74 assists, 39 centre pass receives, an intercept and a deflection.

Hannah Mundy leaps to receive pass in Vixen’s final game for 2021. Photo: Super Netball / Twitter

Sophie Fawns (NSW Swifts)

Sophie Fawns was a great story for the SSN and the NSW Swifts this season after the loss of Sam Wallace due to an ACL injury in round one. The 18-year old shooter made her debut as a temporary injury replacement and earned a full contract for the rest of the season as well as next season for her efforts.

She played in tandem with Kelly Singleton to assist Helen Housby in the circle for the season and just as the season ended, the chemistry had formed for the shooters. Fawns had a 79 per cent goal accuracy scoring 153 goals and with 50 per cent accuracy from super shot range she shot seven long bombs.

NSW Swifts teen sensation Sophie Fawns (Picture: Suncorp Super Netball/Website)

Annie Miller (Sunshine Coast Lightning)

Former GIANTS Netball training partner Annie Miller is another young midcourter who played glimpses of fantastic netball across the season. Securing a contract with the Lightning, Miller came over after one year of being a training partner for more opportunity and a full squad contract.

The Lightning was rewarded as she played 13 games this season in centre and wing attack, alongside Mahalia Cassidy and Laura Scherian. She had 67 assists and a deflection for the season, however with more game time she will be able to show more of speed and agility she is known for.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

About Author

Leave a Reply