InThe first whistle in Birmingham is just over two months away Commonwealth Games, the time for the selectors to name the final team is approaching. Decisions at the end of the defense are clear: only five players named in the wider squad will be reduced to four before the start of the Games. The problem in the middle of the court is an excessive supply of talent, and Maddie Proud of the Swifts and Kelsey Brown of the Forty require the selectors to pay attention, even though they are outside the team.
But it is at the end of the shooting that cracks begin to appear. Among the seven shooters in a team of 18 players, the only constant in the first 11 rounds Super netball there was inconsistency.
Sunshine Coast Lightning Captain Steph Wood has been named his country’s vice-captain, suggesting it will be the first castle at the end of the shooting. With 30 international matches behind her, she has crucial experience for the team, but has played most of her best netball this season in attacking flanks. Due to the fact that Diamonds captain Liz Watson is widely recognized as the best flank attack in the world, it is unlikely that Wood will be useful in this position in key matches. Although she did well in the attack on the head over the weekend, overall she has the lowest percentage of all seven shooters on the team, an accuracy of just 71%, and she will need to increase the load on goal.
Gretel Bueta is another obvious choice in the circle, and her form for the start of the season was excellent. However, as the fate of her Queensland Firebirds unraveled, so did Bueta’s performances as well. Its accuracy remains high – 87% for the season – but its high turnover has caused concern. She gives 5.36 rpm per game, and in a weekend loss from Lightning she topped her team in stats with seven games per game.
However, Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovic has demonstrated Bueta’s superiority in goal shooting, where her height, athleticism and accuracy are able to shine without giving as many opportunities for turns. With 40 international caps behind his belt, Bueta is almost certain to be reborn in the Diamonds environment.
The last two shots are essentially a battle between five players, with a total of 14 matches for international matches. Half of those matches belong to Wood’s Lightning team-mate Kara Coenen, who is also Australia’s most accurate scorer in the league with 89% for the season. But her team has been pretty weak this season, and she has had limited opportunities to shine. Due to the fact that Bueta prefers a goal scorer, Könen, who is slightly lower and has less flair and athleticism, may have to prove to voters that she offers something different in this position.
Another option in shooting – 28-year-old newcomer Donnell Wallam – definitely brings something else to the team. With a height of 193 cm, she is the tallest of the seven shooters and the only one who plays exclusively in the holding. Her height and strength make her an impressive force in the goal. However, like Bueta, her uniform disappeared along with the Firebirds team. Marynkovich would be particularly concerned about her struggles with international goalkeepers Heva Mentor (England) and Shamera Sterling (Jamaica) in recent weeks.
Sophie Garbin of Collingwood Magpies is also vying for the role of shooter in the head, however this season she has had limited time in court, especially in her favorite position as Shimona Nelson of Jamaica has been dominant for the Magpies in the Circle. Garbin mostly played in the goal attack and even in this position could not find a stable time on the court, averaging only 39 minutes per game. Her ticket to Birmingham is getting weaker over the course of the season.
Kira Austin of Melbourne Vixens was another who was hardly on the plane earlier in the season but was slowly gaining shape after returning after a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament. After the first two rounds Austin kept on the court for 60 minutes, and although her accuracy needs some improvement by 76%, her court skills and ability to adapt to different styles of shooting partner will make her an attractive option for selectors.
The final option – open giants Netball Sophie Dwyer’s goal attack. Known for her shooting skills, the 20-year-old has improved her ability to perform under pressure after an incredible performance in the 2021 Grand Superball Grand Final. At this stage, it still looks like a side chance, but its suitability and accuracy (80%) means it cannot be calculated.
There are only three rounds left in the Super Netball season and some of those seven shooters are likely to miss the final. Cabinet trophy after four long years.