Highlights: The 2019 Team Girls Cup - SSNL Preseason Report
Photo Credit: Collingwood Magpies Netball (Twitter)
The countdown begins.
Being a World Cup year, any opportunity to play is a players’ chance to prove their worth to their national coaches (whilst also offering some insight of their capabilities to their potential opponents). With the heavy presence of international prospects playing in the SSNL, there is much more is at stake than a domestic championship. We expect fierce battles, close contests and highly-skilled netball.
Serving as a sneaky preview, the inaugural preseason tournament, The Team Girls Cup, was held recently in Brisbane. So we thought, ‘Let’s grab some stats.’
Keep in mind this was a preseason tournament, with multiple players missing, rotating lineups and a chance for experimentation. While we can report on some interesting findings and get a hint of what is to come, we expect things to look quite different when Round 1 kicks off this weekend.
The Big Picture
Adopting our standard approach, we decided to look at a number of measures and broadly compare them, team to team.
These measures were:
• Offensive and Defensive Efficiency
• Possession Conversions
• Opposition Possession Conversions
• Shooting Accuracy
• Opposition Shooting Accuracy
Given this task, we again decided to depict the measures with a radial plot.
The bigger the splat, the better.
» It’s looking good for the Magpies, Vixens and Giants.
The Lightning and Swifts are a little behind the top three, but are definite contenders.
The Fever, without Fowler, struggled and have the most ground to make up before the start of the season.
- Magpies and Vixens (2 finalists) very evenly matched
- Fever and Tbirds had the lowest offensive efficiency rates by a long way, but both sat quite high in the defensive efficiency ratings. Both teams were missing key offensive players (Fowler and Folau), so what difference will they make when they come back in?
- Firebirds – did well offensively, but sat very low in the defensive ratings. Have they relied on Laura Geitz too much in the past? If they can get their defensive end to match the firepower they have in the attacking end they will be dangerous, but there’s some work to do there.
- Other than Fever and Tbirds (for reasons discussed above) offensive efficiency rates were pretty similar across the teams.
- Defensively there seemed to be a top half (Fever, Magpies, Tbirds and Vixens) and a bottom half (Fbirds, Giants, Lightning and Swifts).
- Surprising that Lightning didn’t sit higher here with their international back three of Maweni, Pretorius and Langman.
- CP Conversion – Vixens the best overall, the only team over 80% to circle and just under 70% to score. Thunderbirds struggle to get the ball into their circle – only team under 70% for this, but Fever had a massive drop off between getting the ball into the circle (71%) and actually scoring it (48%). Not surprising given their shooting issues over the tournament, expect this to be remedied with Fowler’s return. All the other teams pretty similar.
- Gain conversion – Tbirds again struggled to get the ball down to the circle, with the lowest to Circle results of 63%, but again note the big drop off for Fever in actually scoring (68% to 46%). Note that Tbirds had a big drop off here too (63% to 44%). Impressively, Giants managed to score almost all gains (67%) that made it into the circle (69%). Firebirds were the most effective team at converting their gains to goals with a to Circle rate of 76% and a to Score rate of 68%.
The problem (discussed later) is that they just didn’t get enough ball.
- CP Defence – Magpies and Fever clearly the best performing teams in this area, while Firebirds, Giants and Lightning were the least effective. A little surprising that Lightning didn’t perform better here given they have the South African circle defence and Langman at WD/C. Might take them some time to gel.
- TO Defence – Firebirds really stood out here as being weaker on through court defence than all the other teams. Opposition averaged 77% to circle and 73% to score, while most other teams were in the 50s for opposition gain to score. Lightning were much more effective at Gain defence than they were at CP defence, with opposition teams scoring just 53% of gains against them (best equal with Vixens). Suggests their transition defence was good – when they lost the ball they worked hard to get it back.
- Surprisingly the top 3 teams for overall gains were Magpies, Fever and Tbirds – 2 of which finished in 7th and 8th place. As mentioned several times previously, if Tbirds and Fever can get their attack ends functioning well once their key players return, both will be final four contenders.
- Firebirds struggled to gain ball defensively – defence has always been a strength of theirs in the past, and has given them the freedom to be able to play with flair and a certain amount of inaccuracy on attack. They will need to address this. They did actually gain a large amount of ball through individual effort (intercepts/tips), but gained the least amount of ball through both defensive rebounds (already discussed) and opposition error. Why didn’t opposition teams make as many errors against them? Hard to say! Could be a sign of lack of full team pressure, could also be because they had a higher penalty count than most other teams which released pressure on the opposition. Will watch this with interest through the season.
- Giants and Lightning gained the least amount of ball through intercepts/tips. Giants defensive line was disrupted with injury to Jamie Lee Price, but this result was surprising with intercept machine Karla Pretorius in the the Lightning line up. Lightning also made very few changes to their defensive line up through all the games, playing their international stars in almost all quarters. Lightning did have one of the highest opposition error gain rates though, so the pressure they are putting on opposition teams is immense.
- While Fever was one of the highest teams for gains, they were also the team with the most losses – and remember losses don’t include missed shots! They had a high number of passing errors and catching errors but the area where they were significantly higher than all other teams was the ‘other’ errors. This category includes instances such as held ball, breaking and offside. Fever had a large number of held balls by their shooters in the circle.
- Vixens were the team that was safest with the ball, averaging just 5.4 losses per (15min) quarter. They were particularly good with their passing errors.
- Firebirds had a surprisingly high number of footwork errors.
- Although Magpies ended up winning the tournament they actually had a reasonably high loss rate, averaging 7.2 losses per (15min) quarter. This was the third highest loss rate among the 8 teams. They were able to counteract this with their high gain rate.
- Shooting: Wide variety of results here, but a number of key shooters missing from lineups over the tournament (Folau, Fowler). Would expect these averages to rise significantly during the season.
- Magpies were the most accurate team, followed closely by Vixens. Thunderbirds and Fever (the ones with missing players) were the least accurate, both averaging 74% over the tournament.
- Defensively, Tbirds and Vixens had the most effect on the opposition shot, keeping their opposition under 80%. Firebirds had the least effect on the opposition shot, with teams averaging 89% against them. This is definitely an area they will be missing Geitz in.
- Rebounding: No surprises here – Firebirds had the best offensive rebounding stats, securing a whopping 70% of their missed shots. Given they had one of the lower shooting accuracies, this meant there were a lot of rebounds on offer too.
- Magpies and Swifts were also effective at regaining their missed shots, both averaging over 60% of their available offensive rebounds.
- The Vixens shooters were the least effective at getting their rebounds, successfully getting just 5 of 21 (24%) rebound opportunities.
- At the defence end, Magpies (68%) and Vixens (63%) were the most impressive, securing a good amount of turnover ball through defensive rebounds.
- Lightning (31%) and Giants (35%) struggled with their defensive rebounding over the tournament. While the Firebirds had a greater percentage (44%), their lack of effect on the opposition shot discussed previously meant this only gained them 8 turnovers through defensive rebounds over the weekend’s games.
- Note that we measure rebounds a little differently to what you might be used to. For us all missed shots (with a few rare exceptions) mean a rebound opportunity. Missed shots that go to a throw in or loose ball are allocated as ‘team’ rebounds, while rebounds that are gained by an individual player are allocated to that individual (and of course their team). We also look at the percentage of rebounds gained rather than the raw number so we can get an idea of relative effectiveness – a team or player may have gained more overall rebounds, but they may have had more opportunity because there were more missed shots. Does that make them a better rebounder? Not necessarily!
- Feeding: Vixens were the most accurate team, but sat towards the bottom of the pack for efficiency, meaning they often needed multiple feeds until the shooters took their shot.
- Unsurprisingly Fever had the lowest efficiency – their shooters were quite unwilling to shoot on the first feed. They also had the lowest accuracy, perhaps as a result of missing their target shooter.
- Giants were the most efficient feeders, meaning their shooters were happy to shoot from almost anywhere – unsurprising with Jo Harten in your team – although their accuracy was the second lowest.
- Note: Bubble sizes on the Feeding chart depicts the number of successful feeds per quarter – although we don’t think this adds any extra information in this instance
“A quick note: This is a fresh measure.
We were fascinated with the notion of speed and pace (of the ball and of the game) and how this might affect a game strategy and/or outcome.
We believe by triangulating the rate of scoring, the amount of handles and the true time in possession, we can determine the relative ‘pace’ of the game. In this bubble chart, the size of the bubble depicts the amount of time in possession (scaled).
So what does this mean from this weekends data?”
- Fever and Thunderbirds had the lowest scoring rate (number of goals scored per minute of possession), but that is expected as they were the two teams that struggled to score full stop. What is interesting is that they were also the slowest teams to move the ball through the court (individual possessions per minute of possession).
- Of the other teams, Giants and Firebirds were the fastest to score, while Lightning was the fastest to move the ball.
- Both finalists of the Team Girls Cup – the Magpies and the Vixens – sat middle of the range for ball movement and scoring rate. Again, as we saw with the ANZ competition, ball speed doesn’t have to be fast, though it does need to be accurate.
Who put their hand up?
Is this all we capture?
No way! We have kept things limited in this report, but rest assured this only scratches the surface of what Point 9 Analytics is all about.
- We have detailed information on every team and individual player broken down by quarter, including multiple position specific measures and insights
- We have information on the connections between every player on a team – in general play, on the centre pass and feeding into the shooting circle.
- We track momentum shifts in the game
- And much more!
Analysis: In order to preserve the integrity of team strategies, we have intentionally kept our analysis as high-level as possible. To do this, we have reduced the use of raw counts in team contexts, we have kept our narratives to the evidence presented and we have offered limited insight and/or strategy advice. When the season starts, we reserve the right to shift our position.
Data: All data is reported on a per-quarter basis (unless otherwise stated), making all measures directly comparable.
Photos: We do not own any photos. All photo credits are available in the specific image description.
Legal Stuff: As per our Copyright fine print, Point 9 Analytics Ltd owns, or has the rights to publish, all data, media and analysis published herein. As per our Terms and Conditions, all rights are reserved. Any data from our website may not be distributed, commercialised or monetised without our express consent.
Countdown to tip off
The 2019 season kicks off with the Victorian teams hosting the Queensland teams – the Vixens v Firebirds followed by the Magpies v Lightning.