It was a great year for the Magpies in 2019, with the club storming home in the last part of the season to make the finals.
Unfortunately, they lost the semi-final against their cross-town rivals in the Vixens. Still, it looks to be an exciting season for the black and white, with some exciting new talent coming through.
Resigned- 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) Kelly Altman* (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Out: April Brandley (Pregnancy) Nat Medhurst (Pregnancy) Kim Ravaliion (Pregnancy) Ashleigh Brazil (ACL Injury) Kimiora Poi* (Tacix ANZ)
*temporary replacement player
What happened last season
It was a rollercoaster season for the Magpies, winning 7 games for the season, and drawing 2.
It was a great race to the finals, when the Magpies won the last three games against the Fever, Swifts and then the Vixens. Unfortunately, they lost the first final in a one-sided affair against their cross-town rivals in the Vixens. Talking to Magpies Co-Captain Geva Mentor:
“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.”
Mentor talked about her favourite game of the season: that final home and away game against the Vixens
“I really look forward to coming to play for Collingwood and that's playing against our crosstown rivals and Vixens, so it has to be in the last game of the regular season, when we had to play at Melbourne arena.
"We had to get as many points as possible and win by a certain margin to get us into the finals. And we did, and it was a really exciting game to play and everyone played really well. It's nice when it all clicks together nicely.”
Another personal highlight for Mentor was the clash with the Swifts down in Tasmania:
“It was the first game without our coach because he had lost his mum who just passed away, literally, a couple of days beforehand.
"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."
What to look forward too
The Magpies have a young line up this season, which is an awesome opportunity for the Magpies, bringing in some upcoming superstars of the game.
Mentor said fans can expect “a really exciting brand of netball out on court, we want to make sure that we've got a lot of styles within our team but that they gel well, so yeah a really exciting product on the court and really interactive team players that love their fans.
"And, I guess, rise to the occasion. So hopefully the crowd give us as much and we'll put on a good show for them.”
Collingwood went over to New Zealand to compete in the Super Netball competition across the ditch in December, which hosted teams from both the New Zealand and England leagues. The Magpies went undefeated in the games, winning the Super Club championship, giving the next crop of Magpies great experience out on court.
For Mentor, she is looking forward to “being able to play alongside Kelsey and Madi Browne.
"Obviously, we lost Maddie beginning of last year to for ACL and then Kelsey at the end of the year. Their ACL, and then just a new group that we've got and just being able to click on court and in the short time that we've got together now until the start.”
3 Influential Players
Madi Browne- After returning from an ACL injury, Madi will bring experience and lots of star power to the Collingwood midcourt. With the loss of talented and experienced midcourters, in Kim Ravaillion and Ashleigh Brazil, Madi will be able to pick up where she left off and help the magpies in having an exciting year.
Kelsey Browne- Coming off an ACL injury, she provides that speed in the midcourt, along with her sister Madi, both combined are able to create a very speedy midcourt, and make sure that it’s hard for defenders to keep track. Her finals experience will be vital to such a young side.
Geva Mentor- going from one end of the court to the other, Geva Mentor has been a rock in defence for Collingwood over the last season and in the competition for many years now, she is one of the best goal keepers in the world who cause goalers headaches. She was a key player in Collingwood’s rise to the finals.
Players to watch
In her second year in SSN, this is her year to shine.
Gabby Sinclair is going to be a superstar of these league, her work rate in the goal third is unbelievable. From the glimpses we saw of her in 2019, she has the potential of being a star goaler in the competition.
With Nat Medhurst taking the season off so she can have her first child, Gabby can really cement her spot in the magpies starting line-up.
Matilda Garret has been in the Collingwood side for three years and has shown glimpses of what she can do, but 2020 is the year for Garret to grab her opportunities with both hands Geva agreed:
“She's been in the last three or so years been learning from some great experienced players around her.
"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.”