• Stephanie Smarrelli

Collingwood Magpies Netball Season Preview


Image: Super Netball

THE Collingwood Magpies fell short of expectations again in season 2018, finishing seventh despite a star-studded line-up, which has seen the team turn to rebuilding during the off-season. Under new head coach Rob Wright, the Magpies took out the inaugural preseason #TeamGirlsCup.

The new look Magpies side consists of another group of superstars, however, they also lost some key players at the end of last season. Retiring from netball the Magpies lost an icon of the sport, Sharni Layton, along with experienced shooter Erin Bell and the reliable Shae Brown. Another missing face from the Magpies this season is Caitlin Thwaites who has returned back to the Melbourne Vixens making way for former Adelaide Thunderbirds player Shimona Nelson and former West Coast Fever goaler Nat Medhurst.

With the goal attack position a problem for the Magpies in the first two seasons of Super Netball, bringing in a veteran like Medhurst should strengthen the side’s attack. While Nelson is still quite young, she will learn a lot from Medhurst. Rounding out the shooters is Gabby Sinclair who has been elevated into the squad as a former Magpies training partner.

The Magpies have a midcourt stacked with talent. Two-time premiership player Kelsey Browne has moved from the Sunshine Coast Lightning to the Magpies following a standout season that saw her get the call-up to the Australian Diamonds squad. At the Magpies, Browne will be playing once again alongside her sister former Diamond Madi Browne and their connection in the midcourt appears as strong as ever. It is no secret that Magpies player Kim Ravaillion did not have her best season last year, however, she is still an Australian Diamond and her performances in this year’s preseason matches have been outstanding.The reigning Best and Fairest for the Magpies, Ash Brazill is an integral part of Collingwood’s defence, the unsung hero of the Magpies lineup has been in career best form despite juggling netball with her AFL Women’s commitments.

Down the defensive end of the court the Magpies may have lost a legend of the sport, however, they have replaced Layton with another legend in Geva Mentor. A Commonwealth Gold medallist with the England Roses and two-time premiership captain of the Lightning Mentor’s ability to read the play will be essential to the Magpies. Her leadership will help to guide the Magpies down back with Diamond April Brandley and Matilda Garrett likely to rotate between the goal defence bib this season. Garrett is currently recovering from an injury, however, this will not dampen the Magpies too much with her return expected after the first few matches.

It is the third year in a row the Magpies have lined up with a team full of netball stars, but with new a head coach, the gears seem like they are finally turning for the Magpies. If they can continue to build on their strong preseason and are able to handle the World Cup well, then the Magpies should finally be able to deliver for the black and white army.

Originally published on: Netball Draft Central


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