2019 was a superb year for the Collingwood Magpies, with the club fighting their way to the finals. However, similar to their 2017 season, they finished in the top four — this time, losing to the semi-final round against their cross-town rivals in the Vixens.
But the Magpies can expect an exciting season ahead with a string of new recruits joining the club.
A quick update on last season
The black and white were looking to secure a first-ever finals win, but 2019 was not their season despite winning 7 games and drawing 2.
Magpies co-captain Geva Mentor tells The Women’s Game, “I think definitely it was finding the groove towards the last couple of games of the regular season. We were trusting each other and trusting the processes we put in place.”
It has been an extremely good run to the finals, where Magpies were victorious in three matches against the Fever, Swifts, followed by the Vixens. Their winning streak was broken when they lost the first final against their crosstown rivals, the Vixens.
For Mentor, the game against the Vixens was her favourite of the season. She shared that playing for Collingwood is something she enjoys and anticipates, especially against team rivals, Vixens while citing the last game of the regular season played at Melbourne arena.
She felt that “it all click[ed] together nicely” and added that the team played well, making it an exciting game where they tried to “get as many points as possible and win by a certain margin” to enter the finals, which the Magpies did.
The game that stood out to Mentor was against Swifts in Tasmania. The match took place without Collingwood’s coach who lost his mum several days prior. Mentor recalled, “We banded together…we’re just able to take our game to the next level and it was like everyone was just on-song and everyone was on the court for each other and it was an amazing feeling to be part of.”
Resigned members include Madi Browne, Kelsey Browne, Geva Mentor, Shimona Nelson, Gabi Sinclair, and Matilda Garrett.
In: Jodi-Ann Ward (Severn Stars English Super League), Melissa Bragg (Elevated from training partner), Julia Woolley (Geelong Cougars VNL), Molly Jovic (Melbourne Fury ANL/VNL) and Kelly Altman* (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Out: April Brandley (Pregnancy), Nat Medhurst (Pregnancy), Kim Ravaliion (Pregnancy), Ashleigh Brazil (ACL Injury) and Kimiora Poi* (Tacix ANZ)
*temporary replacement player
What to expect
The upcoming superstars of Magpies are none other than the newly recruited players. Hopefully, this will spice the thrill and excitement of their game.
In December, Collingwood visited New Zealand to compete in the Super Netball competition where the team were triumphant in the games and went on to win the Super Club championship. The competition, which hosted teams from both the New Zealand and England Leagues, gave the new recruits some experience on the court.
Mentor urged the crowd to give them as much support as “the good show” they intend to put on for the fans — “a really exciting brand of netball on the court”.
Alongside her team, she wanted to make sure the different playing styles within the team translates well together. That way, a really enthralling match will be delivered on the court.
Personally, Mentor is keen on the opportunity of “playing alongside Kelsey and Madi Browne”.
She mentioned the hurdles the team had to face losing Maddie to injury at the beginning of last year followed by Kelsey at year-end. With the new teammates, the Magpies will have to “click on court” and gel together in a short time before the next season begins.
The power of three
Post-injury, she is all set to boost her performance in Collingwood’s midcourt based with her experience and star power. Without talented and experienced midcourt players like Kim Ravaliion and Ashleigh Brazil, Browne will be able to pick up where she left off.
With her return to the court from ACL, Browne is expected to contribute speed to the midcourt, alongside her sister. Their presence will be threatening to defenders, forcing them to keep up with the pace of the game.
She is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, causing trouble for goalers from opposing teams. She was an integral player in Collingwood’s rise to the finals.
Watch out for
Nat Medhurst will be taking off this season because of her pregnancy and Gabby Sinclair will be looking to secure her position in the team. If her performance in 2019 is anything to go by, she has the potential of being a star goaler in the competition.
Having been with Collingwood for three years, Matilda Garret has displayed her skills and what she is capable of — 2020 could be Garret’s golden year to make the best of opportunities and her talent.
Geva agreed. “I think it’s her time to almost shine and get some more court time or court opportunities in that way wing defence, goal defence positions and really just grow in confidence so I’m looking forward to seeing her, take the opportunity in both hands and really excel.”