After last week’s signing coups, this week has been a bit quieter in terms of big signings, until Friday afternoon’s highly anticipated announcement.

 

Lightning edge closer to a completed roster
Lightning re-signed 2018 squad member, Jacqui Russell for the 2019 season. It is believed that Russell’s versatility is what made the midcourter so desirable. Her ability to seamlessly switch between both wing positions will be an asset for the Lightning, who have a defensive-heavy midcourt.

 

Magpies swoop on Tasmanian talent
Shooter, Gabby Sinclair, has secured a place in 2019’s Collingwood Magpie’s team. After missing the start of the ANL season with an ankle injury, Sinclair returned in Round 5 for the Tasmanian Magpies and seamlessly slotted into the line-up which took out the ANL championship. This signing with her sister club will be the icing on a great 2018 season for Sinclair.

 

Player movements
The Lightning’s defensive circle is starting to take shape following the signing of Annika Lee-Jones. The 197cm former West Coast Fever goal keeper will be lining up with Karla Pretorius and another, yet-to-be-named, player. Jones only made a handful of appearance for the Fever over the last two seasons, and will no doubt be hoping for more court time now that Geva Mentor has left the Lightning.

After two years with the Magpies, Cody Lange has opted to return home to the Adelaide Thunderbirds. Lange was part of the inaugural Magpies line-up, but following an ACL injury in 2017, she was unable to regain her bib and was relegated to captaining the successful Tasmanian Magpies side in the 2018 ANL season.

 

Medhurst to move back east
After three weeks of speculating where she would go next, fans finally have an answer: Nat Medhurst will be playing with the Collingwood Magpies for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. The veteran goal attack will be spearheading a raw but talented new-look Magpies attack end. With Medhurst having over 14 years of national league experience, and 86 test caps, there is no doubt that Shimona Nelson and Gabby Sinclair are in capable hands with their new mentor.

 

Giant re-signings
Kristiana Manu’a has re-signed with Giants Netball. The 23-year-old was brought on as an impact player this year and was a great physical match for players like Gretel Tippett and Steph Wood. Her versatility, quick reflexes and ability to switch between all three defensive positions will be an asset to the Giants in 2019 as they look to fill the void left by Bec Bulley retiring.

Taking the second last spot in the Giants line-up is former training partner, Amy Parmenter. Again, Giants have managed to snag a versatile player, as Parmenter is comfortable in any midcourt position, and regularly swung between the wings for Canberra Giants in the ANL this season.

 

More international talent hitting Australian shores
Beth Cobden is the latest international player to stake claim to a position in a Super Netball team, after signing with the Adelaide Thunderbirds on a one-year contract. It is interesting that the Thunderbirds would commit to Cobden as the English Rose sustained a knee injury in the Vitality Super League grand final. However, they are no doubt hoping that once she is game ready, her pre-existing combinations with Shamera Sterling (from the Loughborough Lightning) and Chelsea Pitman (from English Roses) will bolster the Thunderbird’s defensive pressure and transition play.

 

Melbourne Vixens extended squad
As predicted, the Melbourne Vixens were granted permission to sign eleven players, due to Mwai Kumwenda be unavailable for much of the upcoming 2019 season. To that end, they have signed South Africa’s talented goaler Ine-Mari Venter. Venter was a star for the Proteas in this year’s Commonwealth Games and stoop up to intense pressure in Saturday’s Quad Series game against the Diamonds. Simone McKinnis will be spoilt for choice with her talent ridden goal circle.

Following the trend of elevating training partners, the Vixens also welcome Tayla Honey into the fold. Honey has been in the Vixens environment, as a training partner for the past two years and was a member of the Australian Under 21 squad in 2017.

 

Cat’s out of the bag
A few fans have been wondering where Cat Tuivaiti went after hanging up her Adelaide Thunderbird’s bib. Scoop can confirm that the Kiwi talent has signed for the 2019 season with Vitality Super Netball club, Sirens Netball. The move will take her closer to her husband, Jim Tuivaiti, who plays rugby for Zebre, an Italian club in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Gia Abernathy, a former Thunderbirds training partner, has also signed Siren Netball. Abernathy was part of the Thunderbirds line-up in 2017, was a training partner in 2018 and is also a former Australian Under 21 representative.

 

Thunderbirds
Speaking of the Thunderbirds, they have also signed South Australian product, Kelly Altmann. The former Southern Force vice-captain will be joining a midcourt which is brimming with talented feeders, so may find herself in unfamiliar territory playing centre or wing defence.

 

Five clubs have now rounded out their 2019 rosters: Collingwood Magpies, Melbourne Vixens, NSW Swifts, Queensland Firebirds and West Coast Fever. The Adelaide Thunderbirds have two places left and have said they will announce more signings following the Quad Series. Giants Netball and Sunshine Coast Lightning each have one spot to fill.

Clubs have until 25 September to finalise their 2019 rosters. Scoop will continue to bring you weekly wraps of the movements and signings. You can also stay up to date with team signings thanks to Scoop’s 2019 and Beyond: SSN and ANZ Signings list, which will be updated every evening until the finalisation of rosters.

 

 

Report: Katrina Nissen
Cover image: Simon Leonard