Home Australia Super Netball recap: A surprising secret position change, Diamonds captain fights back and an extra-time win

Super Netball recap: A surprising secret position change, Diamonds captain fights back and an extra-time win

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Shimona Jok

Last week we wondered if the league was as close as was reported in the preseason, after watching three one-sided games. But in the third round, we saw Super Netball, for the most part, return to its entertaining best, with two extra-time thrillers.

In a strange coincidence, both matches were won by the visiting team and by a four-goal margin, as the Adelaide Thunderbirds beat the Sunshine Coast Lightning, 60-56, and the NSW Swifts claimed their State of Origin-style clash against the Queensland Firebirds, 77-73.

Meanwhile, despite losing a third game in a row, the Melbourne Mavericks will be proud to have been the first team to truly challenge table-topping West Coast Fever. The new team only lost by seven goals, 69-62, after the Fever demolished more established teams like the Giants (19 goals) and Lightning in previous rounds (25 goals).

The highlight of the weekend came in the final game between the Giants and Melbourne Vixens. The Vixens are the only team alongside the Fever still unbeaten, having handed the western Sydney-based side their second 19-goal defeat in the space of three weeks, 63-44.

If you missed it, don’t worry.

We’ve got you covered with our Super Netball roundup.

Jok surprises the goalkeeper

Jamaican Shimona Jok was likely to be called up and make her debut for the Mavs before the third round, after the new team struggled to find a solid target in its first two games. But no one anticipated that we would see their eleventh player sporting a goalkeeper’s bib.

Jok was signed as the number 11 player for her shooting prowess and was called up in the third round ahead of Rolene Streutker.(Getty Images: Jenny Evans)

Speaking to ABC Sport a couple of weeks ago, Jok said to expect the unexpected and that she would become a completely new player since she got married and changed her last name in the off-season, but we more anticipated that she was alluding. to a cameo in goal attack.

If you knew little about netball and only saw the height of Jok (195cm) and fellow Sunshine Girls shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard on paper (198cm), you might have thought this was an obvious matchup between the Mavericks and Fever …But Jok rarely has. he ventured away from that GS position during his time at the top, making this a very left decision by coach Tracey Neville.

It was already a big deal that Jok had been named as the team’s starting shooter and when the change came in the second super shooting period of the game, it surprised both the fans and the Fever.

Jamaica has form using her high beams at each end of the course, as we have seen with Romelda Aiken-George earlier in her career, however, that was something she did when going up the trails and we have never seen them do it with Joke.

Jok spent about 10 minutes on goalie, before shooting again midway through the third quarter. He then returned to guard Fowler-Nembhard for the final six minutes of the game.

In that time, Jok had three deflections and helped turn the ball over several times, so she should be proud of her efforts to take on whatever role the team needed her to play.

If he can grab the ball with both hands, Jok could become a really useful option on defense, which isn’t a sentence we ever imagined we’d write at the start of the season.

After the match, Neville joked with reporters, not wanting to reveal how long he had had that trick up his sleeve. In retrospect, perhaps we shouldn’t have been so surprised, as the Mavericks brand is all about being bold and Neville was sitting next to a game-changing player for the press conference in Eleanor Cardwell who had also switched sides under his management years ago.

“That’s being a Maverick, right? It was a bit of a secret,” Neville said.

“I think you earn the right to be in an environment and Shimona has been working very hard, we put a lot of pressure on her today by throwing her to the ground, but it was a demonstration of her character.”

“For someone who has played primarily as a shooter in her career and established herself in that position, being able to do that showed real spirit.

“So for us she did a job today and her contribution to the game was excellent.”

Liz Watson’s criticism is exaggerated

Towards the end of the Lightning’s contest against the Thunderbirds, with the game on the line, there was a key moment that drew criticism from a Diamonds centurion.

Liz Watson chases a ball while playing on the wings

Watson moved the clubs to the Lightning this year.(Getty: Jenny Evans)

With just two minutes remaining, Australian captain Liz Watson had the ball in her hands in just her third game for the Sunshine Coast since moving north from the Melbourne Vixens.

The midfielder looked toward the circle, saw no options to feed and instead tried to give a short, flat pass to Lightning attacker Steph Fretwell before Thunderbirds wing defender Latty Wilson used her closing speed to cross the space and carry the ball.

Wilson couldn’t grab it with both hands, instead hitting it against her shoe, which then sent the ball rolling toward Thunderbirds teammate Lauren Frew, who was waiting on the crossline.

Reacting quickly, Frew stuck out his right leg and stopped the ball with his foot before bending down to pick it up. However, before he could do anything with that, Watson, trying to make up for his poor pass that led to the turnover, snatched possession out of Frew’s hands.

With all Thunderbirds goalkeeper Shamera Sterling already beginning to move into her attack, Watson and the Lightning attackers had a free ride to the post to score her 49th goal and level up the score.

Without that moment, there are doubts that the game would have gone to overtime, but whether the game was decisive is another question.

As the Fox Netball broadcast’s lead commentator, former Diamonds shooter Cath Cox, said: “I can’t think of anything I’ve ever seen as blatant as that under-the-radar, unnamed thing.”

A day later, Cox doubled down on his criticism on the network show Pivot, adding: “I’m all for being physical, but cheating, I’m absolutely 100 percent against it. That was (cheating) in my opinion, it was a dirty play.”

Watson leans down and puts his hands on the ball as Frew holds it.

The moment Watson snatches the ball from Frew.(Source: Fox Netball)

The comment feels harsh and exaggerated, as that moment felt more like a mistake by the referee or a lack of intervention by the referees than about Watson’s conduct.

Sure, Watson probably shouldn’t have taken it out of Frew’s hands, but speaking after the match, the midfielder said he’d thought it was Lightning’s ball fairly, as you’re not allowed to kick the ball in netball, and both Wilson and Frew had a foot in it.

“Just keep playing, yeah, I thought they kicked the ball so I just picked it up and played it,” Watson said.

Even if the referee had deemed the Thunderbirds’ foot contact correct, they probably should have been awarded a penalty after Watson knocked the ball out of Frew’s hands.

Housby achieves narrow victory in his 100th match

It’s not often that players experience glory in their biggest games, and for much of Sunday’s contest between the Firebirds and Swifts, it looked like Housby would miss his big day, too.

In a true rut, the home team in Brisbane had a slight lead in the first three quarters, but something Swifts coach Briony Akle said at half-time kicked in in the final quarter and suddenly her team was the one who had the impulse.

Working hard on defense, the team converted their turnovers with super two-point shots to undo all of the Firebirds’ hard work. With just under two minutes left in regulation and the Swifts trailing by one, the purple team had to think fast.

In the end, they tried to copy the Swifts’ famous possession style of play, going back and forth at their third goal to try to reduce the clock. That plan backfired when they played around with it too much instead of just looking to publish.

What should have happened is that they passed it around a bit and then gave it to Donnell Wallam to score an easy goal under the post to keep the score or they gave the ball to Tippah Dwan on the super shot goal to score. the game out of reach.

Housby holds the ball above his head and points it towards the goal as a defender jumps in front.

Housby aims for a super two-point shot.(Getty: Alberto Pérez)

Instead, the Firebirds persisted with that risky style of play longer than they should have, darting in and out of the circle unnecessarily and returning to the crossline too many times, before spilling the ball over the sideline.

As a result, the Swifts got the throw-in, converted and sent us to overtime for the second time in two days. From then on, the Firebirds already looked defeated, playing with their heads down, knowing they should have never let the game get to this point.

Housby was one of the players who really stood up in the second half to help the Swifts get back on their feet.

Wallace and Housby celebrate

Housby with his filming partner Sam Wallace-Joseph.(Netball Australia: Jenny Evans)

His accuracy dropped to 67 percent in the second quarter, but by the end of the game he was back to 90 percent overall accuracy. His work rate on the center pass also improved.

“That felt really special, it’s definitely not a game I’m going to forget,” Housby said.

“I think we made it quite difficult for ourselves but that spirit and that fight probably sums up what I think the Swifts are about and it’s an honor to get 100 caps for this club.”

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