QSNL 2017 preview: Brisbane South Wildcats, Capricorn Claws

Brisbane South Wildcats

Squad: Rachel Crawford, Clare Frost, Samantha Hurst, Renee Keith, Matika Laycock, Lenora Misa, Kaitlin Pollard, Siobhan Shirlaw, Skye Smith, Danielle Taylor, Rosie Baker, Bridey Condren, Charlie Duke, Indira Maradani, Brittany Mould, Harriet Nicholson, Shanelle Tolley, Jesse Wardlaw, Allie Waugh, Jordan Waugh.

Division 1

Coach: Camille Rieck.

2016 finish: Fifth.

2016 season snapshot: Brisbane South Wildcats endured a tough 2016, posting two victories from 10 attempts to finish second bottom of division one. The side have lost Abigail Latu-Meafou, Jemma Mi Mi and Madeline McAuliffe to Suncorp Super Netball franchises this season and will look to rebuild.

Key players: Siobahn Shirlaw (GK/GD): “Siobhan has gone under the radar for the last few years and we welcome her back to the Division 1 level this year,” coach Camille Rieck said. “Her determination and ability to read the ball is something people need to look out for. She’s also a leader from the back end – she’ll be very vocal and help communicate throughout the team.”

Samantha Hurst (C/WA): “Sammy has moved from Lions to Wildcats and is the leader of our pack,” Rieck said. “Her speed, maturity and ability to feed the circle is outstanding – she’s a great add to the team following the loss of Jemma Mi Mi.”

What to expect in 2017: “We’ve got a completely new-look team, but so do most of the other teams,” Rieck said. “We want to be in top two. The girls have got a goal and a game plan for the season. We want to be really competitive this year. What we learned last year is that we weren’t able to finish off a game. We’re fitter, stronger and looking to play four quarters in 2017.”

Division 2

Coach: Anna Young.

2016 finish: Fourth (City).

2016 season snapshot: The Wildcats overcame a slow start, winning their final two games to qualify for the finals series. Two serious injuries in their last regular season game led to their exit in the first week of knock-out competition.

Key players: Harriet Nicholson (GK/GD): “Harriet has great speed across the court – it’s improved out of sight,” coach Anna Young said. “Her agility is fantastic too. She’ll do things she’s never been able to do this season purely because she’s put in the hard work.”

Rosie Baker (GA/GS): “Rosie is new to Brisbane, having come down from Townsville,” Young said. “She’s an unknown, but she’s extremely accurate with her shooting. She’s unassuming – no fuss and just gets in and gets the job done. She’s very smart with her positioning and uses her angles well.”

What to expect in 2017: “We want to be in that grand final,” Young said. “Everyone is fit and healthy. We’re training better than we ever did last year. It’s cohesive and looking good. Our game is quite defensive. We’re about that Australian man-on-man defence. We dictate where we want the opposition to go instead of letting them dictate and seek quick turnarounds in the transition to attack.”

Capricorn Claws

Squad: Lily Bartlem, Abbie Buchholz, Rebecca Hall, Jemma Hancox, Keanna Hopkins, Jacinta James, Tia Konui, Shanita Smith, Courtney Wheeler, Ashlee Whouley.

Coach: Michelle Heatley.

2016 finish: First (Country).

2016 season snapshot: The Claws capped an outstanding regular season with a tight 56-58 defeat to Brisbane West Lions in double extra time in the Division 2 preliminary final, falling one game short of the grand final. They’re determined to go one better in 2017.

Key players: Jacinta James (GA/GS): “Jacinta has a great presence about her,” said vice-captain Courtney Wheeler. “The way she dictates play is excellent and her accuracy for us last season was high. It’s exciting to see her come back again.”

Lily Bartlem (GK/GD/GA/GS): “Lily’s a shooter and a defender, which makes her dangerous. She’s strong in both ends,” Wheeler said. “Her read of the play and being in the right place at the right time is always spot on.”

What to expect in 2017: “We’ve finished third two years in a row, so we’re ready to take that next step this year,” Wheeler said. “We’ve had a couple of injuries through pre-season, but it hasn’t stopped us. We’re hungry for that grand final. Our intensity and commitment through training has been phenomenal from all the girls. We’re keen to get there.”