14/04/2024

Jodi-Ann Ward starred as Collingwood claimed another win over the Vixens. (Photo: Dani Brown)

After claiming a second Melbourne Derby win, Collingwood can continue to dream its finals dream, but coach Nicole Richardson stresses that the 'lid is still on.'

It wasn’t the prettiest win, but it was one Collingwood needed to keep dreaming its Super Netball finals dream.

The Magpies downed the Vixens 52-48 at Netball SA Stadium in what was a see-sawing and “ugly” game according to coach Nicole Richardson.

They sit sixth on the Super Netball ladder, equal on game points with the Fever and Firebirds. While they boast a poor percentage, the second Melbourne Derby win could be just what they need to spark a bit of life in their run home.

“I thought we struggled with our connections in the first half, it was a very physical game,” Richardson told media post-game.

“[We] made some adjustments in the second half, the switch with Kelsey Browne and Molly Jovic through the middle worked well for us.”

Browne was one of the players struggling early to make the connection with her shooters, overcooking passes and costing her team possession.

The wing attack/centre switch benefitted both her and Jovic, the pair finishing with 20 feeds each and seven deflections between them. Jovic also had five gains and had two intercepts.

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Leading from the front (or the back, rather) was Jamaican import Jodi-Ann Ward, who had one of her best game in Pies colours according to Richardson.

She stole the show in goal defence with three intercepts, eight deflections and eight gains, playing aggressively off Ruby Barkmeyer and Kaylia Stanton.

It was her combination with goal keeper Geva Mentor that kept the Magpies in the game, Richardson explained.

“Jodie puts her heart on her sleeve each week, and gives you 120% each week she steps out on court,” she said.

“She had a lot more intent today. We spoke about three phases of defence for Jodie-Ann, so the first phase off centre pass, second phase off the transition space between the transverse line and the top of the circle, and I thought she really hassled and worked hard there.

“[Then] her efforts to then go again once the ball was in the circle. I thought her and Geva [Mentor] are really growing again in their combination. It’s not only what Jodes did and her efforts out there on court, but it was the work of Molly and Kelsey and Brazzy [Ash Brazill] out in front of Jody and Geva to allow Jody have some attack on good balls.”

Stability in attack

While the defence was working strong from the first centre pass, the shooters took time to find their feet throughout the game.

The Vixens’ Emily Mannix and Jo Weston managed to disrupt goal shooter Shimona Nelson as the Pies movement through the centre court stagnated.

After a time-out talking to, Nelson would go on to shoot her 37 goals at 100% for the game, helping the Pies to win the second half convincingly.

Nelson shooting. (Photo: Dani Brown)

“I thought in the first half she was getting pushed off the ball a little bit, so basically tried to get her to widen her base a little bit to see if she could take those knocks,” Richardson said.

“That opened up a bit easier for us in the second half. I think too we got the ball in a little bit quicker to her as well, so she wasn’t fighting off two defenders.

“The quicker release in getting the ball movement down court we were able to expose them in a one on one a little bit easier compared to the first half.”

With the remaining fixtures still to be confirmed, Collingwood will remain in South Australia for the foreseeable future.

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