Giants Netball Squad Analysis
The Giants are rated by the bookies behind the Firebirds and Lightning as the top premiership contenders to the Magpies, however the TipBetPro model sees it differently rating the Giants squad 2nd only to the Magpies. With international experience across every area of the court, a fit Giants side will be exceptionally difficult to defeat in 2017 and we expect them to be right amongst it come finals time.
The Giants attack is their highest rated position in a strong squad. Perhaps the biggest issue for the Giants will be determining who will play in the goal circle. The experience and exceptional records of English international Jo Harten and Aussie Diamond Susan Pettitt (pipping Nat Medhurst as the highest rated GA by the TipBetPro model) will almost certainly get the starting shooting positions. However, if the Giants need a change-up they have 2016 Best New Talent winner Kristina Brice in the wings. Brice was terrific when shifted into a starting role at Adelaide last season and her form has earned her a call-up to be a training partner with the Diamonds. Very little will be lost in attack should the Giants need to change things up and get Brice on court.
The mid-court is another area of great strength for the Giants. Again, there is plenty of skill and experience with retired Diamond Kim Green and English international Serena Guthrie. Joining that pair is young star Jamie-Lee Price, who has honed her craft alongside Harten in New Zealand with the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and returns home likely to take the starting Centre bib. Despite being a new side, we don’t expect great issues with the Giants combinations with Price and Harten used to working together from their time at the Magic and Green and Pettitt used to working together from their former side the Swifts. Backing that trio up will be Taylah Davies who comes in with considerable 2nd tier competition form and some experience at the top level having been a Swifts squad member in 2015.
Defensively, the Giants copped a blow pre-season – when another former Magic player, rising star defender and recent Aussie Diamond representative, Kristina Manu’a suffered an achilles injury which ruled her out of the season. However, the blow has been softened somewhat by the return of former Diamond Bec Bulley who has been coaxed out of retirement/maternity leave to join the Giants outfit. Sam Poolman joins the Giants from the Adelaide Thunderbirds and will likely take the starting GK role with Bulley more suited to GD. Poolman has shown enough to suggest she is capable of being a quality top level defender, however perhaps needs to show a little more consistency of performance than she did at the Thunderbirds. Youngster Toni Anderson will be the reserve defender coming off touring with the Australian Under 21 team and will likely get some court time where the situation allows as a player to watch for the future.
Predicted 2017 Position: 2nd
2017 Objective: Premiership – Stars across every position and no obvious weakness – the Giants look the number 1 contender to premiership favourite Collingwood
Player to Watch: Jamie-Lee Price – Former Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic mid-courter Price has seemingly been around for years but in fact returns home to Sydney having only just turned 21 despite having been in the top domestic league for 3 seasons. Price has enjoyed solid improvement with every season and is capable of holding down either the Centre or Wing Defence roles which we expect her to do with aplomb.
The big question mark: Can Bec Bulley return to her best and be the defensive lynch-pin the Giants so desperately need to compliment their highly rated mid-court and attack?