Archive for the ‘Netball’ Category

Maroons May Get Boost from Slater Departure

A breeze of optimism has blown through the Queensland Maroons side.

After losing incumbent fullback Billy Slater to a nagging shoulder injury few would have credited Queensland’s chance at victory in the third game of Origin, to be played on July 8 at Suncorp Stadium.

But many believe the Maroons will be better off without the injured Slater.

Their opinion comes through a comparison of stats between Blues’ and Maroons’ fullbacks.

Josh Dugan was consistently better than Billy Slater, in every aspect of the game. Slater’s injured shoulder needed surgery even before game one. The Blues were told to expect Slater to pass in games one and two as his shoulder would not allow him to run into the line of defence.

Slater is still the best communicator on the field, and the Maroons will miss his ability to spot a chink in the Blues armour and capitalise on it.

But what incoming fullback, Greg Inglis, lacks in strategy he more than makes up for in sheer athleticism.

Inglis is expected to outpoint Dugan in game Three every bit as much as Slater was outpointed by him in the first two. Inglis is younger, very experienced in the position, has a wealth of big-game experience, and is arguably the most valuable player in the NRL today.

But the Blues have had their own piece of good news with Josh Jackson having  his charge downgraded, allowing him to play in the Origin decider.

 

Breakdown of stats from the first two Origins

_____________________Dugan                                                Slater

Meters                                306                                                     193

Runs                                    32                                                        23

Errors                                  1                                                          2

Tackle Busts                       10                                                        6

Tackles                                17                                                        8

Line Breaks                        2                                                          1

Tries                                    1                                                          0

ANZ Netball Championship Ad Causes a Stir

Play Like a Girl. Image: www.mews.com.au

Controversy has descended upon the ANZ Netball Championships latest ad campaign.

The ‘Play Like A Girl’ campaign features a picture of netballer Sharni Layton with a shiner and bloodshot left eye. Critics argue that the ad draws eerie comparisons with domestic violence pictures – especially the recent ‘Get Your Game Face On’ by Covergirl. This campaign was run specifically to draw attention to the recent spate of high-profile US sportsmen involved in domestic violence against their partners.

Channel Nine journalist and sportswoman Sam Squiers (operator of the blog Sportette) said the ad ‘instantly’ conjured thoughts of a domestic violence campaign.

She says she understood what the executives were trying to achieve, but that they had failed miserably

“I’m constantly campaigning for women’s sports,” said Ms Squiers, “and am the first to say the athletes are tough and their game far from slow or weak.

“I urge those unfamiliar with women’s sports to watch the rugby union and league. The hits are hard, the girls are tough. Yet straight away I have a problem when I see this image. It doesn’t sell women’s sports a tough at all.

“There are other ways of conveying that message,” she continued, “without this confronting image. The game has demonstrated inspiring scenes of toughness, heroism, strength, guts and glory thought out its years.

“A bloodshot, black eye doesn’t. Do you need a black eye to prove the players are tough?”

But not everyone agrees. Liz Ellis responded saying she ‘loved it’

Writing in The Age Newspaper she said, “To draw a line between this image and domestic violence campaign is unfair to both, and suggest sadly that we live in an age when the assumption can be made that when a woman is bruised she is a victim.”

She went on to say, “I don’t think this conversation would have happened if it were a blokes sport.”

CoverGirl Get Your Game Face On. Photo: www.wjla.com

CoverGirl Get Your Game Face On. Photo: www.wjla.com

Star Studded Firebirds Start Pre-Season

Gretel Tippett. Image: www.pieandbovril.com

The Queensland Firebirds have hit the gym in pre-season training designed to have them go one better in this year’s ANZ netball championship.

After their heartbreaking grand final loss the team has changed its strategy. They now boast a defensive wall arguably the envy of the league. Diamonds defender Bec Bulley and Toowooba’s Laura Clemesh are new recruits adding spine and sting to an already impressive side.

But scoring power didn’t go begging either. Rising superstar Beryl Friday and ex-basketballer Gretel Tippett join a star studded offensive line up.

Centre Verity Simmons talked about the Firebirds’ preparations.

“Our team is quite easy going and very easy to get along with.

“There is an amazing team culture up here that comes with being a Queensland team, with our fans, and with the whole of Queensland.”

The Firebirds came achingly close to winning back-to-back championships in 2013 (2 points) and 2014 (five points). Simmons believes the team were let down by not executing the simple things as they should

“It’s the basic things … we need to tighten the screws because as the Vixens showed us last season, it’s the one-percentages that count.”

Firebirds and Diamonds captain Laura Geitz has come out of knee surgery and re-joined the squad in training.

“Geitzy is on the mend … she is looking fit and healthy,” said Simmons.

The ANZ Netball season kicks off in March 1 with the firebirds facing the Melbourne Fever at the Brisbane convention and Exhibition Centre.

It will be a cracker!

I Support Women in Sports Awards Upstaged by Topless Models.

Photo: www.heraldsun.com.au

Photo: www.heraldsun.com.au

The fall-out from the Women’s Health magazine’s I Support women in Sport awards hasn’t been confined to social media. The outrage came when the magazine hired three topless models covered in body paint resembling the uniforms of a gymnast, swimmer and netballer.

Lisa Wilkinson, from the Today breakfast show, posted on Twitter, “What was @WomenHealthMag thinking when it dressed topless models in body paint at their Women In Sport awards?”

While former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, once chief executive of Basketball Australia, declared it “one of the daftest moves ever to promote women in Australian sports.”

Both women seem to feel they have the right to tell Australians how they should enjoy women’s sports – as if there is a right and a wrong way.

Studies have shown that both women and men look at each gender the same way. Men are viewed as a while, women as the sum of their parts. Evolutionary psychologists have said humans have evolved to do this. In evolutionary terms those, for instance, who quickly determined a guy was too big to fight against, and ran away would get to pass on their genes. While those who spent time registering the bits that made up the guy wouldn’t. The reverse is true of women. Identifying the bits that made up a woman would lead both women and men to make an educated guess about the state of her health and her chances of successfully producing children.

So when men and women go to sporting events they are looking at male and female athletes in different ways. Therefore how they look does matter and does contribute to the reasons why men and women watch sport.

Firebirds Retain Defensive Wall for Next Season

Clare McMeniman and Jacinta Messer have re-signed with the Queensland Firebirds. This means the club has managed to keep intact the defensive unit able to carry them to consecutive ANZ Championship grand finals.

Laura Geitz, the Captain of the Australian Commonwealth Games team, also remains with the Firebirds. On paper at least, the club boast one of the most formidable playing rosters domestic league.

Firebirds Captain  Laura Geitz. Photo: www.abc.net.au

Firebirds Captain Laura Geitz. Photo: www.abc.net.au

Geitz was thrilled to hear McMeniman was re-joining the club. The two have worked to produce a seamless and punishing goal defence. “I am so excited to have my partner in crime back next season,” Geitz told new.com reporters, “Clare is an amazing defender and having her in front of me on the court gives me the confidence to play my own game.”

Though still smarting from their Grand final loss to the Melbourne Vixens last season the Firebirds keeps their starting seven: Amorette Wild, Gabi Simpson, Kim Ravaillion, Verity Simmons with Geitz, McMeniman and Messer adding their signatures.

The Firebirds’ towering goal attack Romelda Aiken is close to re-signing, and further strengthen the club’s already dominating offense. Plus the club has made less than subtle overtures Gretel Tippett in hopes of luring her back from nemesis of New South Wales.

Tanya Beths Set for Beach Handball World Championships

Sporting polymath Tanya Bets is set to take on the biggest challenge of her life. The former Australian cheerleader and beach volley-baller has qualified for the beach handball world championships in Brazil next month and she plans to make her mark.

Tanya is no stranger to big occasions; but representing her country in one of the world’s fastest growing sports is a lot of pressure.

Tanya Beths. Photo: twitter.com

Tanya Beths. Photo: twitter.com

Beach handball is played by the same rules as European handball. Each team has three players and a goalkeeper. Goals are worth a single point, but bonuses are awarded for style shots. And the style shots can make all the difference.

‘At this level,’ Tanya tells us, ‘everyone aims to pull off these shots.’

Tanya became interested in beach handball during the volleyball off-season. To begin with she played it as a way to maintain her fitness. There were many transferrable skills between the two sports and she soon rose to the notice of national team scouts.

Brazil are the currently the world champions. So to play the world champions in their own country will be a daunting task. But Tanya is more than up for it. ‘This is the strongest team we’ve ever had,’ she says, referring to the Australian squad. ‘There is a depth of skill in this team, with all the other athletes competing who have represented Australia in other sports.’

Tanya believes the Australians have a better than fair chance of meeting the Brazilians in the semi-finals.

It’s a meeting she is relishing.

Kayak Netball: More Fun Than It Is Crazy!

Our team out on the water!

A couple of weeks ago, I overheard a few friends of mine discussing something that sounded absolutely crazy. It was a pretty packed barbeque, so I positioned myself a little bit better so as to overhear even more. It turned out what I’d originally heard was right: they were involved in Kayak Netball. I thought it might just be a joke, but I was also curious because it brought together two of my great loves.

As a kid, I’d adored playing netball. And kayaking was more my adult fascination. It was something I liked to include as part of my exercise regime, but finding the time was becoming more of a hassle every day. I resolved to ask my buddies, Kayla and Laurie, whether they were actually serious.

It turned out they were dead serious. The Kayak Netball matches were being held in North Sydney over the summer. It was all organised and arranged by Fitness Angels, a personal training business based in Sydney. They had other kinds of work out sessions on offer too, but the girls said they really loved the time out on the water.

The game was centred on two teams of four kayakers, with the aim of the game being to score a goal using the game ball. If the player has possession of the ball, then they can’t travel (like in netball) and the ball must be passed after three seconds. Players could use their paddles to defend against the ball, but the game was not a contact sport (in other words, we wouldn’t hit each other!)

They said it was a fast paced game, a really intense way to work out and have fun at the same time. Needing a bit of cardio exercise, I asked if there’d be a free spot next time around. “Actually,’ Laurie replied. ‘I think you’re in luck.”

The next weekend I prepared myself for a gruelling workout. Instead, I had a blast. It was actually really a lot of fun, so much so that you kind of forget you’re working out and really get into the spirit of the game instead. After my first game, I was certain I’d be back for more and since then I have been. It’s a regular and tough twist on my usually soft fitness regime and it’s a real hoot to boot!

Mwai Kumwenda Re-signs with Tactix

Mawalian born Mwai Kumwenda has signed to stay with the Christchurch-based franchise to theMwai Kumwenda relief of players, staff, and fans.

The 1.93 meter tall shooter has almost single-handedly saved the Tactix from a near certain wooden spoon. In a team struggling on paper she has surged to become one of the most prolific scorers in the league, with a total of 498 goals and a staggering 91.5% accuracy.

Tactix Chief Executive Brigit Hearn appears to be trying to rebuild the team around her ace shooter. Already combinations with Captain and goal attack Anna Thompson are beginning to appear. Their fast attacks and slick goal positioning can only keep getting better with time.

Mwai was quoted as saying she enjoys life in Christchurch and is relishing the chance to stay. “I have a wonderful host family, and it was a very easy decision to come back to my Mainland home next season.”

Australian Sports Coaches: 3 Of The Best

coaches-cummings

Behind every great sportsperson is an even greater coach. A consistent motivator, who manages to be cruel and kind in the right measure. They frequently coordinate teams, uniting people in spite of personal challenges to achieve great things and inspire the masses. They have to know where individuals’ strengths, weaknesses, and limits lie, and be able to push them – just enough, but not too much.

Every sports fan has their favourite coach – the ringmaster who helped spur the fan’s favourite team on to glory and victory, and will forever be respected for their achievements. This list does not claim to be decisive or unanimous, but it does serve to demonstrate the incredible leadership skills demonstrated by three great Australian coaches.

Norma Plummer

coaches-plummerAs the head coach of Australia’s national netball team, the Diamonds, Plummer drove those in her charge to admirable success. During her eight-year tenure as the team’s coach, Plummer and the various incarnations of the Diamonds maintained a success rate of 75% across their matches. Two Commonwealth Games silver medals, and first-place finishes at both the 12th and 13th World Netball Championships were also achieved while Plummer was at the helm of the team.

The ex-player gained a reputation for being tough but fair, becoming extremely well respected by followers of the game. The admiration afforded to Plummer is indicative of the value we place on strength of character self-confidence. These same skills can be developed by undertaking executive coaching in Australia. Don’t expect to come out a netball pro, though!

Bart Cummings

Renowned equally for his magnificent, bushy white eyebrows and his status as Australia’s most successful horse trainer, Cummings is an Australian larrikin through and through. The trainer has won the Melbourne Cup a record twelve times, and continues to be a formidable presence on the racing scene to this day. The longevity displayed by Cummings is unquestionably impressive; any corporate executive would be extremely happy to undertake such a long tenure at the peak of their field. Those wishing to develop skills in persistence and stoicism should seek advice from professional services such as Lucidity Coaching.

Laurie Lawrencecoaches-lawrence

For the youth of today, Lawrence is probably best known as the face of the annual “Kids Alive, Do The 5” advertising campaign – the jingle is very catchy. In his prime, though, he was a very driven coach, with swimmers under his tutelage winning thirty-three Olympic medals between them, and also attaining twenty-three world records. Lawrence’s amiable persona helped him to forge meaningful connections with professionals swimmers, as well as others affiliated with Swimming Australia.

Even following the end of his full-time role as a swim coach, Lawrence continued to work for many years with the Australian swimming team, aiming to inspire and motivate them. The high regard in which he continues to be held is evidenced by the success of his eponymous chain of swim schools. In order to attain similarly impressive leadership skills, and to establish a meaningful rapport with workmates and the wider world, individuals could consider enrolling in small business coaching in Perth. It’s unlikely that you’ll emerge with your own line of successful swimming pools – but you never know.