Infotainment Factory: How Super Netball was turned upside down

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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

How Super Netball was turned upside down


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Throw everything you know out the window. 

If round one of Super Netball taught us anything, it’s that 2019 is a whole new ball game. 

The West Coast Fever, last year's losing grand finalists, were beaten by the Adelaide Thunderbirds, winless in their previous 27 games.

The NSW Swifts beat their crosstown rivals the GWS Giants for just the second time in history.

Wallace with the lay up

And the Collingwood Magpies, second last in 2018 and with a host of new players on the roster, defeated the reigning premiers Sunshine Coast Lightning by 14 goals in the biggest win of a round full of upsets.

In fact, all four winners from round one finished in the bottom four last season.

Granted, the Magpies have underperformed in the two years since the competition's inception. Creating a champion team from a team full of champions has taken a little longer than expected. Now though, in the side’s third evolution, coach Rob Wright may have found the magic formula. 

Incredible off-season recruitment will do that. 

From the Thunderbirds came 20 year old Jamaican sensation Shimona Nelson, arriving in the goal circle alongside veteran Fever and Diamond star Nat Medhurst. Arguably the game’s best goal keeper Geva Mentor arrived at the other end of the court, and between them, also from Sunshine Coast, came mid-court dynamo Kelsey Browne, who spoke to the Super Netball Show this week following the Pies big win.

“It’s been unbelievable. A few of us haven’t actually won round one ever," she said.

"I know I haven’t, Geva hasn’t ... and for the Magpies girls it definitely created a bit of history. I’m really happy to be in the black and white this season."

Mentor and Browne have enjoyed plenty of success in recent times, joining the Lightning in the club's foundation year and leading them to back-to-back premierships.

"For Geva and I there was a little bit of emotion there. We both didn’t leave Lightning on bad terms," Browne said.

"We still love the club and what they were able to give us in the two years that we were there. We won two premierships and I still have lots of amazing memories."

Fast forward to now, and the pair helped demolish their former team, despite claiming they didn’t play anywhere near their best, even after completing an 18 goal to 10 final quarter. 

"Having won by 14 goals we should be feeling a lot more confident than we are. We’ve got a lot of better netball to play," Browne said.

"It did look good at times and then there were other times where we watched the replay and just thought 'what are we doing?' I don’t think, in preseason games we’d put 18 goals on the board in a quarter so to us that’s impressive.

"Shimona Nelson was amazing in that last little bit and we had three young players come onto the court and for us to get them exposure to SSN level is amazing as well."

One of the big drawcards for Browne was the chance to play again with her older sister Madi, the club's inaugural captain.

"It’s exciting to be back with Mads, the whole preseason I’ve loved being out on the court with her. She adds so much to that mid-court and really pushes all of us to be better," the younger sibling said.

Vixens v Firebirds: Round 1 - Highlights

With the elder Browne seeing a surgeon this week after injuring her knee, the on-court reunion will have to wait, but this Magpies team is coming together quickly ahead of a two game road trip.

"It takes a while to gel on the court but if you’re doing everything off the court to make sure you’re getting to know each other, you care about each other, I think that really does translate," Browne said.

Collingwood travel to Queensland to face the Firebirds this weekend. Catch it live on Channel 9 from 3pm on Saturday.

The Super Netball Show is available on demand via the Netball Live App and 9Now! 

Throw everything you know out the window. 

If round one of Super Netball taught us anything, it’s that 2019 is a whole new ball game. 

The West Coast Fever, last year's losing grand finalists, were beaten by the Adelaide Thunderbirds, winless in their previous 27 games.

The NSW Swifts beat their crosstown rivals the GWS Giants for just the second time in history.

Wallace with the lay up

And the Collingwood Magpies, second last in 2018 and with a host of new players on the roster, defeated the reigning premiers Sunshine Coast Lightning by 14 goals in the biggest win of a round full of upsets.

In fact, all four winners from round one finished in the bottom four last season.

Granted, the Magpies have underperformed in the two years since the competition's inception. Creating a champion team from a team full of champions has taken a little longer than expected. Now though, in the side’s third evolution, coach Rob Wright may have found the magic formula. 

Incredible off-season recruitment will do that. 

From the Thunderbirds came 20 year old Jamaican sensation Shimona Nelson, arriving in the goal circle alongside veteran Fever and Diamond star Nat Medhurst. Arguably the game’s best goal keeper Geva Mentor arrived at the other end of the court, and between them, also from Sunshine Coast, came mid-court dynamo Kelsey Browne, who spoke to the Super Netball Show this week following the Pies big win.

“It’s been unbelievable. A few of us haven’t actually won round one ever," she said.

"I know I haven’t, Geva hasn’t ... and for the Magpies girls it definitely created a bit of history. I’m really happy to be in the black and white this season."

Mentor and Browne have enjoyed plenty of success in recent times, joining the Lightning in the club's foundation year and leading them to back-to-back premierships.

"For Geva and I there was a little bit of emotion there. We both didn’t leave Lightning on bad terms," Browne said.

"We still love the club and what they were able to give us in the two years that we were there. We won two premierships and I still have lots of amazing memories."

Fast forward to now, and the pair helped demolish their former team, despite claiming they didn’t play anywhere near their best, even after completing an 18 goal to 10 final quarter. 

"Having won by 14 goals we should be feeling a lot more confident than we are. We’ve got a lot of better netball to play," Browne said.

"It did look good at times and then there were other times where we watched the replay and just thought 'what are we doing?' I don’t think, in preseason games we’d put 18 goals on the board in a quarter so to us that’s impressive.

"Shimona Nelson was amazing in that last little bit and we had three young players come onto the court and for us to get them exposure to SSN level is amazing as well."

One of the big drawcards for Browne was the chance to play again with her older sister Madi, the club's inaugural captain.

"It’s exciting to be back with Mads, the whole preseason I’ve loved being out on the court with her. She adds so much to that mid-court and really pushes all of us to be better," the younger sibling said.

Vixens v Firebirds: Round 1 - Highlights

With the elder Browne seeing a surgeon this week after injuring her knee, the on-court reunion will have to wait, but this Magpies team is coming together quickly ahead of a two game road trip.

"It takes a while to gel on the court but if you’re doing everything off the court to make sure you’re getting to know each other, you care about each other, I think that really does translate," Browne said.

Collingwood travel to Queensland to face the Firebirds this weekend. Catch it live on Channel 9 from 3pm on Saturday.

The Super Netball Show is available on demand via the Netball Live App and 9Now! 

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