15/04/2024
April Brandley, Kim Ravaillion and Jhaniele Fowler headline the Team of the Year so far

April Brandley, Kim Ravaillion and Jhaniele Fowler headline the Team of the Year so far

As the Suncorp Super Netball season gets back to full speed, The Inner Sanctum looks at the top players of the season to build the Team of the Year so far.

With the midseason byes now over, thoughts of netball fans across Australia turn both to the finals, and to who have been the best players of the year. The Inner Sanctum looks at the players who have been best in their positions to create the Team of the Year.

The team of the year was based on players in their positions, not picked in combinations, but the best players in each spot, and like the Super Netball teams, three players on the bench.

Shooters

Goal Shooter – Jhaniele Fowler (West Coast Fever)

Easily the form shooter of the competition, Jhaniele Fowler has shot 447 goals for West Coast. 

The Jamaican import has been accurate too, shooting at 96 per cent across the Fever’s eight games. She’s notched up 26 offensive rebounds, which is the third best in the competition. 

Fowler has scored more than 50 goals in every game so far except against the Swifts last weekend. Her highest tally is 62 against the Queensland Firebirds in Round 7.

Standing at almost two metres tall, the Fever have the luxury of lobbing passes into Fowler on a whim.

The Fever were undefeated through eight rounds and Fowler continues to play an integral role to their success.

Most Valuable Player three years running, this goal shooter is on track for another feature under the post in the Super Netball team of the year.

Goal Attack – Helen Housby (NSW Swifts)

It has been a fairly even year for goal attacks in the Super Netball. No player has been consistently better than any other through the first half of the season to secure the bib.

For now, English Rose Helen Housby gets the nod after one of her best performances of the year against the Fever.

Housby has scored 102 goals at 84 per cent so far this season, and is 64 per cent when shooting from range during the Power 5.

She plays the goal attack role well; she knows when to be the main character and when to quietly take up the supporting role, doing the hard yards to move the ball around the court.

Housby can sink the super shot when her team needs it, she makes quick decisions to the benefit of her team and she is a calm head on court.

Midcourt

Wing Attack – Verity Charles (West Coast Fever)

There are several wing attacks in the competition that could get the nod in our team of the year, but the Fever’s Verity Charles has made the wing attack position her own in season 2021.

Her speed off the centre pass and feeds into the circle is an asset to the Fever. Charles’ impact has shown through her side’s dominant season, only losing the one game to the Swifts last week.

Charles has proved to be a versatile option this season, with coach Stacey Marinkovich being able switch her between wing attack and centre.

She has had 151 goal assists for the season, sitting in at fifth for the league and is a key to the Fever’s mid-court.

The defensive side to her game is just as good, having eight deflections for the season and is able really apply the pressure over every pass.

Centre – Kim Ravaillion (Queensland Firebirds)

This is Kim Ravaillion’s first season back after having time off to give birth to her daughter Georgie, and what a return it has been. She’s back in career best form and is a leader for the Firebirds, both on and off the court.

Ravaillion currently sits second in the league for goal assists, with 166 for the season. When she’s at the top of her game, the Firebirds lift around her.

In their wins against the Thunderbirds and the Lightning, she was named MVP for the match, proving her importance for the Firebirds.

Spending the most amount of time out on court among Firebirds players shows what she brings to the line up, as well as her ability to run out sixty minute games at 100 percent.

Wing Defence – Amy Parmenter (Giants Netball)

Inserting herself as one of the premier wing defences in the competition, Amy Parmenter is having another stellar season.

She’s working nicely in unison with defenders April Brandley and Sam Poolman to create a very hard defensive unit to get past.

When teams give Parmenter an inch, she’s taken it and run with it, with 17 intercepts for the season alongside 32 deflections.

Parmenter has been a barometer for the Giants and has shown the ability to turn any match on its head, whether it be through a deflection or an intercept that’s able to swing momentum the Giants’ way.

Defenders

Goal Defence – April Brandley (Giants Netball)

April Brandley is another player who has returned to the Giants full squad after spending 2020 as a training partner.

She has become a leader for the Giants, anchoring their defensive end and showing that motherhood is no barrier to elite form at the top level.

Brandley has averaged almost two intercepts, four deflections and almost one and a half rebounds when she has played this season.

She was named MVP in the Giants massive win over the Thunderbirds in Round 8 before the bye, after having eight gains over the course of the match.

Brandley’s impact was also noticeable in Round 5, when she left Western Australia early, citing the difficulties of preparing for a match against the West Coast Fever while in hotel isolation with her 15-month-old son Clay. The Giants would go on to lose the match, and struggled defensively, highlighting just how impactful Brandley has been.

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Goal Keeper – Shamera Sterling (Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Shamera Sterling has been back to her dominant best in 2021. She has single-handedly set up two of the Thunderbirds wins this season.

She leads the competition in defensive rebounds (18), deflections (60) and intercepts (30) after eight matches. Sterling has also added leadership to her repertoire in team huddles.

Sterling has demonstrated an ability to change the way that other teams attack, forcing teams to play slow, and avoid throwing high feeds in towards the post. Coaches around the league talk about how they make sure that they avoid putting the ball in play for Sterling.

She has been the anchor of the team, and has been one of the most impactful defenders around the league yet again in 2021.

Bench

Cara Koenen (Sunshine Coast Lightning)

Diamonds goal shooter Cara Koenen comes off the bench in the team of the year. She has shot 317 goals for the Sunshine Coast Lightning so far this season, scoring at 90 per cent.

On the small Super Netball bench, the versatility of Koenen is ideal.

Koenen can play in her preferred spot of goal shooter or move out to goal attack for a different look in the front half.

The Lightning shooter had her best game of the year in Round 8 against Collingwood.

Shooting 46 goals at 88 per cent, Koenen moved out to goal attack in the third quarter to change things up. She would return to the post as the game ran into extra time, helping her team to an important win.

Ashleigh Brazill (Collingwood Magpies)

She’s unlucky to not get the start in our team of the year, but Ashleigh Brazill hasn’t missed a beat since returning after missing season 2020 due to an ACL injury.

Brazill at 100 percent scares most wing attacks through her ability to lockdown or limit the impact of her direct opponent. 

She s a real game changer in the Collingwood line-up, and if you give her even the slightest of chances, she can flip a game on its head. 

Brazill has had 33 deflections and 13 intercepts so far this season, helping with the Magpies resurgence off the bottom of the ladder.

Courtney Bruce (West Coast Fever)

Courtney Bruce is similarly unlucky not to have been named in the team of the year on court. She has been a superstar for the West Coast Fever, locking down shooters across the league.

Bruce is a key part of the Fever’s hot streak to the start of the year, with 27 intercepts putting her second in the league, despite playing one game less than almost everyone else.

She also ranks highly for intercepts and rebounds, behind Sterling in all three categories.

Bruce’s return to the Fever after playing with the Diamonds in the Constellation Cup has shown that she has not rested on her laurels. In fact, she seems even more determined to disrupt teams around the league, as she makes any feed from the circle edge difficult.

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