Magpies shape as side to beat
THERE could be a new force in Super Netball.
After Collingwood took out the #TeamGirls Cup pre-season competition in Brisbane at the weekend, a new spread of talent appears to have reset the pecking order.
While two-time champions Sunshine Coast Lightning still factored high with a third-place finish, Giants Netball captain Kim Green expects 2019 to be the closest season yet.
"It's just really cool for Super Netball because this is what they've been trying to create for a long time, but with all the players going to all different teams I think it's almost levelled the competition out a bit," Green said.
"I think it's going to be interesting."
Magpies have recruited well going into this season having signed Geva Mentor from Lightning and picking up talented young shooter Shimona Nelson from Adelaide.
The glamour club has not been short of stars in its first two seasons, but Green was impressed with how they've clicked ahead of this year.
Giants, too, have some new faces for season three after the retirement of Bec Bulley and Susan Pettit and Serena Guthrie's return to the UK.
The #TeamGirls Cup was played with reduced quarters across four sessions in three days, but it still gave a good indication of how teams may perform when the season gets underway at the end of next month.
"I think you get a really good understanding of where teams are sitting in terms of their players and if they're up to it, and also for us, if our players are up to it," Green said.
"We have a lot of young faces in our group, we even took four training partners with us, just seeing if they were ready for this level of competition.
"In terms of results, you look at Collingwood, they're probably the best team when you look at their players on paper, again they're at the top, but in previous years they probably haven't clicked. It gave us an indication that they're a force this year."
The Giants went down to Lightning in the third-fourth playoff 46-44 last weekend but can take some comfort from the fact they knocked off winners the Magpies 46-37.
Having featured during finals time in both seasons of Super Netball, Green is confident their young players will step up and help the club be a force again.
"After the first day you walked away going 'OK, they're young, they're going to have to learn and we're going to have to learn on our feet when we get into season," she said.
"We put the challenge to them, we spoke to them all and said it was a really big step up, you're going to have to gradually take those steps and not put so much pressure on yourself to be superstars right now.
"Then their mindset completely changed the next day and everyone played better, it wasn't just the young ones, it was the old heads as well."