Analysis: WANL Team Signings

With the seven teams boasting complete lineups, Netball WA’s Media & Communications Manager, Nathan Drudi, casts his eye over the squads, picking out a star, a rookie on the rise and the final verdict.

Team List

Chelsea Bartlett, Sarah East, Molly Fullgrabe, Mia Henderson, Kristy Horner, Eli Johnstone, Georgia Morgan, Claire Pickerill, Sydney Rafferty, Ellie Sanzone, Toni-Marie Smith, Tracey Swami

The Maths

Starting from scratch, the Comets were always going to be prizing players away from their existing clubs. They have used just 74 points of their allocated 90, including just three players in double figures (Mia Henderson, Sarah East and Tracey Swami).

Their shooting circle will likely be taken by Sarah East and Tracey Swami (20 points combined), with Kristy Horner (5) set to float in at Goal Shooter where needed, with youngster Molly Fullgrabe (2) another option for Head Coach Alexis Stevens. The Comets have spent 27 points in their attack end, roughly 36% of their list.

Defensively, Chelsea Bartlett and Mia Henderson will likely get the nod, with the latter moving from Queensland recently. Henderson has been named in the Western Sting squad, which will test the Comets’ depth when she’s required in the black and gold. She’s their only player worth 15 points and has experience at the ANL level.

Reigning Grand Final MVP and 18U MVP, Toni Marie-Smith, is set to control the midcourt, with a host of other youngsters around her.

The Star

Statistically speaking, Mia Henderson belongs here, as she’s the Comets’ only player worth 15 points. But, without having seen her play, I am going to give this coveted prize to Sarah East for year one. She was a workhorse for the Wheatbelt Flames last season, who struggled all year, yet she managed 135 goals at an average of 12.3 per game.

The Rookie

Toni Marie-Smith. She dominated the 18U division last year, and I mean dominated. She was a key part of the Lion’s premiership winning bid and was named MVP in the Grand Final. She backed that up by being named 18U MVP at the Jill McIntosh Medal. Keep an eye on her!

The Final Word

It’s hard to tell how the Comets will go in season 2019. More than half of their side haven’t played a single game of League division netball in WA, while Claire Pickerill has played just one game, Eli Johnstone four games and Ellie Sanzone six games. It may take a year of gelling before we see the Comets in finals action.

Team List

Emma Cosh, Kate Duncan, Ella Eastaugh, Zoe Fisher, Eve Guelfi, Courtney Kruta, Rebecca Nitschke, Grace Parker, Jessica Penny, Ella Sigley, Emily Smith, Katie Swetman

The Maths

The Sharks seemingly have found the ideal balance of youth and experience in year one. They have used their full 90-point allocation, taking three players worth 15 points (Emma Cosh, Grace Parker and Jess Penny).

In the goal circle, the Sharks have snared the Western Sting starting duo of Emma Cosh and Grace Parker, while Katie Swetman will be waiting in the wings when needed.

Perhaps the lightest part of the Sharks’ list is their midcourt. There’s no certain star, nor is there a player with worth more than five points. Courtney Kruta and Zoe Fisher will play big roles, while the test will be to see how the Sharks fill the Wing Attack bib, following Brittany Turnbull’s move to the Demons.

Defensively speaking, the biggest concern for the Sharks is the loss of Olivia Lewis, who, after another standout year, was rewarded with a full time Suncorp Super Netball contract with West Coast Fever. They do however, see the return of Eve Guelfi, who will likely start alongside Jess Penny.

The Star

It’s hard to go past Jess Penny. She picks up plenty of ball for her side and is a natural leader. For the first time in a while, she won’t be lining up with Olivia Lewis, so it will be interesting to watch how she develops her combinations with her new defensive partners. She can certainly play in both defensive positions, which makes the job a lot easier.

The Rookie

Ella Sigley. She’s a versatile midcourter who has been rewarded for consistent seasons with Western Sting selection in 2019. She can play across all three positions, possesses great speed and causes headaches for her opposition.

The Final Word

On paper, the Sharks are one of the teams to beat this year. Their depth will be tested when their ANL players are needed for Sting duties, with Emma Cosh, Grace Parker, Courtney Kruta, Ella Sigley and Jess penny all named in the squad. They certainly seem to have blended experience and youth nicely, and I would expect them to feature come finals.

Team List

Sunday Aryang, Kate Bunten, Amy Delcaro, Alice Hassett, Ashleigh Howat, Bridgette Maxted, Morgan Millar, Brianna Newnham, Georgia Pitt, Rebecca Tuckey, Myra Ugle, Brooke Walker

The Maths

The Rangers have used just 64 points of their allocated 90, including just one player worth 15 points; Sunday Aryang, who is a star on the rise. More on her below. However, the Rangers didn’t necessarily need to spend all 90 points to develop a strong lineup.

Their attacking circle is the same as last year, including Georgia Pitt. She was named Player’s Player of the Year last year and was picked in the Western Sting squad. She will partner up with Brianna Newnham once again, and these two combine for just 10 points. Bargain.

In the midcourt, Bridgette Maxted and Rebecca Tuckey both return, as does Kate Bunten, who certainly came into her own last year, and was rewarded with selection in the Western Sting squad. She was also named MVP of WA’s 19U State Team.

Defensively, Brooke Walker returns, while Sunday Aryang makes her return to the Rangers, with these two combining for just 23 points. I would suggest that this is the most potent defensive combination in the competition.

The Star

Georgia Pitt. 528 goals at 89% at an average of 37.7. Do I need to say anything more? She’s pretty much automatic from close range, and the competition stood up and took notice in 2018, as she was rewarded with Player’s Player of the Year honours last year. Honourably mention to Brooke Walker here as well!

The Rookie

I am not certain she really falls into this category, but I am handing the honour to Sunday Aryang. Sunday has had a rapid rise to the top, and was rewarded with a Training Partner contract for West Coast Fever. She’s got a massive chance to have another stellar season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I am calling her name out on a regular basis at the Jill McIntosh Medal count.

The Final Word

The Rangers shouldn’t be underestimated. They have been close in recent years, but not close enough for their proud Club. They desperately want premiership success and they have a huge chance to achieve that this year. Anything other than finals would be disappointing.

Team List

Cheney Armstrong, Natalie Bright, Stephanie Cooper, Amy Donaldson, Jessica Eales, Clare Gee, Meara Girvan, Hayley McKee, Lenore Smith, Hana Stokes, Helen Taylor, Donnell Wallam

The Maths

The Warriors have landed three players worth 15 points and two players worth 10. Hayley McKee returns to the fold (10 points), while Stephanie Cooper is an absolute steal at two points!

The Warriors have gone big in the midcourt, with Helen Taylor and Jess Eales joining McKee to combine for 40 of the Warriors 85 points. Defensively, Nat Bright (15 points) will team up with Steph Cooper to form a young, but potentially impactful circle.

The Star

Jess Eales. Hugely under rated at the Wing Defence position, she’s been Captain of the Club for the past few years and also led the Western Sting. She was named in the WANL Team of the Year at the position in 2018, and would almost be a lock for the same title in 2019.

The Rookie

Steph Cooper. In a competition stacked with defensive talent, Cooper definitely imposed herself on the competition in 2018. With Olivia Lewis now stepping up to Suncorp Super Netball level, the race is on as to who will be the number one Goal Keeper in the competition, with Steph Cooper and Brooke Walker (Rangers) set to fight for that spot.

The Final Word

It’s certainly a different looking Warriors side to what stepped out on the court in 2018, but, if there’s one thing I know about the Warriors, it’s they’re an incredibly proud bunch. Perhaps slightly light on in the shooting circle, but they again boast quality midcourters and a defensive line that loves to hunt ball. The derby against Curtin Hamerlsey will be a game to look forward to.

Team List

Alice Coakley, Tess Cransberg, Keeley Fitzpatrick, Larissa Harrison, Isabella McLernon, Lindal Rohde, Annabel Saggers, Maddison Schultz, Zoe Spencer, Abbey Thomas, Eliza Vlasich, Molly Warne

The Maths

The Roar have picked up three players worth 15 points, which form an important spine for their lineup. Alice Coakley (15), Lindal Rohde (15) and Tess Cransberg (15) are three important gets for the Club. They have used 87 of a possible 90 points, with only two players worth two points (Eliza Vlasich and Abbey Thomas).

The shooting circle is of particular note for the Roar. They have picked up Larissa Harrison (8 points), who shot 349 goals at 87% for the Flames last year. She will likely get the starting nod with Tess Cransberg at Goal Attack. Waiting in the wings is youngster Molly Warne and Maddi Schultz, who was leading the 2017 Jill McIntosh Medal count after the opening few rounds.

The Star

Lindal Rohde. One of the most consistent midcourters in the competition, Rohde’s move from the Demons at the start of last year was an important one. She played an integral role in the Lions’ push to the Grand Final last year, and will need to replicate that in 2019. She was named at Centre in the Team of the Year last year, and I would be confident that she will be making waves again this year.

The Rookie

Molly Warne. She’s certainly a gun shooter, finishing with 205 goals in the Reserves division last year at 77%, while also spending time in League side. She was dominant in the Sharks’ Reserves premiership, earning MVP honours. She’s in the West Coast Fever Academy and Western Sting squad in 2019. With plenty of depth at Goal Shooter, the question will be how much time she spends on the court.

The Final Word

Anything but a deep run into finals would be disappointing for the Roar. Their only knock might be that they’re slightly light on in the defensive end, but they undoubtedly have the most depth in the goal circle. With the Lindal Rohde-Tess Cransberg combination having another year under their belt, I suggest the Roar are one of the teams to beat in 2019.

Team List

Kodie Blay, Emily Cunningham, Meg Gallager, Abbey Hanley, Alicia Janz, Josie Janz-Dawson, Rebecca Lill, Katherine McKenzie, Jazmin Nash, Caitlin Paris, Brittany Turnbull, Phoebe Wilcox

The Maths

To say the Demons have gone all in 2019, would be an understatement. They have spent their full 90 points, with 67 of those being spent on five players. The Demons squad features three former West Coast Fever players, and that in itself has cost them a lot of points. Josie Janz-Dawson is the most expensive player in the competition with 20 points. The perennial Kodie Blay returns for another season, costing the Demons 12 points, while they have also recruited Western Sting midcourter Brittany Turnbull who set them back 15 points.

They have managed to retain the services of Meg Gallager and Rebecca Lill in the shooting circle, and with so much change around the competition, keeping combinations cannot be understated. The question will be getting the ball to the shooters, however. Kodie Blay has played at Wing Attack for a long time, as has Brittany Turnbull, so it will be interesting to see which one of these two moves into Centre under the tutelage of former Fever Assistant Coach, Tasha Richards.

The Star

Another line ball decision for me, but I have given the nod to Josie Janz-Dawson. She’s incredibly experienced, having spent a long time on West Coast Fever’s list, and most recently spent time in England playing in the Vitality SuperLeague. The Demons have, however, been slugged 20 points for her services. Will it be worth it? Notable mention to Brittany Turnbull here, who had a stellar season with the Sharks last year, being named in the Team of the Year at Wing Attack and winning a premiership.

The Rookie

Meg Gallager is young shooter that the Demons will be very happy to see returning in the black and red. In what was a tough 2018 campaign for the Demons, Gallager stood tall converting 276 goals at 79%, averaging 23 per game. I look forward to her combination alongside Rebecca Lill continuing to grow in 2019.

The Final Word

On paper, the Demons have the keys to success. Their strongest component is their defensive end, however it will be interesting to see how their midcourt gels together. Their shooting circle will be in its second year together, which cannot be understated, however I feel there may be stronger teams out there, particularly this season. It’s a long and tough season, so it will be interesting to see how some of the more seasoned players in the Demons’ lineup handle the speed and toughness of this new WANL competition.

Team List

Sloan Burton, Riley Culnane, Brooke Gibson, Sarah Leitch, Lisa Millman, Paris Newman, Brooke Repacholi, Jessica Repacholi, Harmony Sutherland, Ella Taylor, Giselle Taylor, Bethany Williams

The Maths

The Jets have used 72 of their allocated 90 points, including only two players worth double digits. The Jets have been busy bolstering their shooting end for 2019, recruiting games-record holder Lisa Millman and young gun Sloan Burton, who was a steal at five points. The Repacholi sisters return for 2019, and will play integral components in the Jets’ midcourt.

Defensively, Riley Culnane and Ella Taylor return to the fold, and in my opinion, I think it’s one of the most promising young defensive combinations in the League. Granted, they’re both young, but having spent time at the League level, they’re both set for standout seasons. Club President Sarah Leitch will also take to the court.

The Star

It’s hard to go past Lisa Millman. Having had a year off in 2018, Millman returns to WANL action and will become the first player to play 300 League games. She’s crafty in the goal circle, incredibly fit, and her knowledge and experience will allow her to act as an on-court coach to her younger team mates around her. Her combination with Sloan Burton is certainly one to keep an eye on in 2019.

The Rookie

How do you pick this? After deliberating on this name for quite some time, I landed with Sloan Burton. The youngster has made a bold decision to pick the Jets in 2019, however, I would expect her to start on the court at Goal Shooter come Round 1. Last year she finished with 183 goals at 77% from her 12 games in the League Division. Honourable mentions here to Riley Culnane, Ella Taylor and Brooke Repacholi, who polled incredibly well at the Jill McIntosh Medal in 2018.

The Final Word

I think the Jets are the dark horse of 2019. There’s no doubt that the talent has been there in the defensive end for quite some time, and now that the likes of Riley Culnane and Ella Taylor have had time at the League level, they’re ready to stamp their authority on the competition. They struggled to score goals last year, netting just 578 goals, the third least in the competition in 2018, however they have certainly fixed that issue by recruiting Lisa Millman and Sloan Burton. The Jets are, and rightly should be, hopeful of a finals berth this year, and they certainly have the talent on paper to be on court at the pointy end of the season.