Weekend Wrap: Hobart Practice Matches

1 year ago

Collingwood have notched two victories from their two practice matches over the weekend, with comprehensive results against the Swifts in Hobart.

Gabrielle Keegan

The pre-season matches were a chance for the Magpies to blood new recruits and try previously untested combinations in the squad’s first full dress rehearsals for the year.

For the Swifts, the weekend provided an opportunity for up-and-coming talent, with regular starters Paige Hadley, Sarah Klau, Maddy Proud and Sophie Garbin in New Zealand on national duties, and internationals Helen Housby and Natalie Haythornthwaite yet to touch down.

Game One:

To kick off proceedings on Friday night at the Hobart Netball and Sports Centre, the Magpies recorded a dominant 30-goal victory (75-45).

The match started in free-flowing fashion, with players dusting off the cobwebs as spearheads Shimona Nelson and Sam Wallace settled their respective sides on the scoreboard.

Seasoned veteran Geva Mentor was back commanding the defensive circle, joined by new recruit Jacqui Newton, who made her presence felt early with several intercepts and excellent pressure over the shot.

Trinidad and Tobago shooter Kalifa McCollin was injected into the game in the closing moments of the first quarter, and made a statement with her first goal in the black and white – a buzzer-beater from two-point territory. The shot set the precedent for her range moving forward, and opened up a 9-goal lead at the first break.

The Magpies continued in the same vein in the second quarter, with Nelson’s athleticism in the air and strength under the post unmatched. Her connection with Gabby Sinclair made the Pies difficult to slow down in the goal circle.

With Melissa Bragg and Molly Jovic providing the drive through the middle, quick transitions blew the margin out to 19 goals at the end of the first half.

In her first game at the helm, Head Coach Nicole Richardson rung the changes in the second half, with training partners Nyah Allen and Emma Ryde entering the court at wing attack and goal shooter, respectively.

Bragg continued to lead the way through her tireless work in centre while Jodi-Ann Ward only added to her highlights reel in both goal defence and wing defence.

The Magpies attacked the Rebel Power 5 with a moving circle, as McCollin and Sinclair demonstrated the damage they could cause from long range come season proper.

A 22-point lead at three quarter time grew to a 30-point full time margin, as Ryde and Allen kept the scoreboard ticking over in the final quarter.

Ultimately, an experienced Magpies line-up was too strong for the young Swifts.

Game Two:

A similar story played out on Sunday morning, with the Magpies recording an authoritative 41-goal victory (83-42) to ensure the weekend was a clean sweep.

The Swifts made a fast start, recording the first four goals of the game, however the defensive pressure of Newton and Bragg forced consecutive turnovers to even the ledger heading into the Rebel Power 5.

McCollin picked up where she left off on Friday, finding her range alongside Sinclair who also proved handy in wing attack.

Ward wasted no time getting involved in the action, her partnership with Mentor limiting the opportunity for the young Swifts to make any inroads on the scoreboard.

The midcourt connections only grew stronger as Jovic and Bragg worked the ball to circle’s edge seamlessly to open up a commanding 28-goal gap at the half.

With confidence behind them, the Magpies continued to pile on the goals to finish on a huge total of 83 and defeat the Swifts by 41 points.

Despite facing an undermanned opposition, Nicole Richardson was pleased with what she saw across the weekend.

“We've changed our game-plan a little bit from last year and regardless of the line-up that was out there, I thought we did well to start to execute our structures,” Richardson said post-match.

"We haven't shot a scoreline like that for a long time, so it was great to see the results but there's still plenty of work to do."

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