Commonwealth Games selectors to watch Eboni Usoro-Brown, Geva Mentor

Commonwealth Games selectors are more likely to take a selected curiosity when the Queensland Firebirds host the Collingwood Magpies in Sunday’s Super Netball conflict.

Plenty has been stated about the Diamonds squad choice on Thursday.

But it’s England’s selectors which might be more likely to be watching most keenly, as goalkeepers Eboni Usoro-Brown and Geva Mentor try and shut down the opposition shooters.

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Both goalkeepers, the pair received’t go head-to-head, however their performances could possibly be essential for Roses officers watching on from abroad.

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Gabi Simpson (left) and Eboni Usoro-Brown of the Firebirds celebrate during the round four Super Netball match against the Giants. Photo: Getty Images
Gabi Simpson (left) and Eboni Usoro-Brown of the Firebirds rejoice through the spherical 4 Super Netball match in opposition to the Giants. Photo: Getty Images

Mentor returns from a bout of Covid to steer the Magpies, who’re languishing on the backside of the Super Netball ladder after a tough begin to the season.

The Firebirds pushed into outright third with their win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds final week and whereas there’s been deserved deal with their attacking finish and the thrilling mixture of Gretel Bueta and Donnell Wallam – each named within the Diamonds squad on Thursday – Usoro-Brown is having loads of influence in defence.

The solely new import within the competitors this season, Usoro-Brown is constructing a robust mixture with breakout star Ruby Bakewell-Doran and Kim Jenner within the defensive third.

“I’ve come back into this competition and am trying to build connections not only with Ruby and the rest of the defenders but we’re showing improvements from game to game,” stated Usoro-Brown, whose earlier stint in Australia got here within the Trans-Tasman league with West Coast Fever and the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Ruby Bakewell-Doran (left) and Eboni Usoro-Brown defend Giants shooter Jo Harten (centre). Photo: Getty Images
Ruby Bakewell-Doran (left) and Eboni Usoro-Brown defend Giants shooter Jo Harten (centre). Photo: Getty Images

“We’re getting stronger and stronger and winning more balls, so credit to the girls out in front of me, sometimes they make me look good at the back.

“I think there’s more to come from me. But yeah, we’re building the right direction.”

Giving the credit score to others may present Usoro-Brown’s humility but it surely’s not all the time the case.

A bodily defender, the Team Bath stalwart, who has greater than 100 Test caps for England – together with of their gold medal win over the Diamonds on the 2018 Commonwealth Games – is just not afraid to stand up within the grill of the sport’s finest shooters.

Just ask Lenize Potgieter, the Adelaide Thunderbirds goaler who oozed frustration final week as Usoro-Brown wore her like a glove, or Giants shooter and Usoro-Brown’s England teammate Jo Harten, in opposition to whom she had eight beneficial properties, an intercept and 4 deflections when the pair went head-to-head.

If she’s a disrupter, she’s not frightened about it.

Eboni Usoro-Brown defends the shot of Thunderbirds goaler Tippah Dwan. Photo: Getty Images
Eboni Usoro-Brown defends the shot of Thunderbirds goaler Tippah Dwan. Photo: Getty Images

“I’m a defender who’s about hustle, working the ground hard and making sure my shooter earns every single ball that they get going towards the post,” Usoro-Brown stated.

“If they were ruffled, I didn’t really notice, I just had my head in the zone and in the game.”

Some criticism has come the way in which of the 32-year-old because of the variety of penalties she picked up, particularly within the early rounds, leaving the Firebirds with a defender out of play on a big proportion of opposition entries to the circle.

And whereas her contact penalties have shrunk not too long ago, she is just not going to shrink back from bringing a bodily presence to her defence.

“It’s not something I really focus on,” she stated.

“In one sense, if you’re not contracting, are you really in the game – especially as a defender.

“But it’s the nature of the contract penalties and making sure you’re adjusting when the umpire calls.”

Gold Coast

Emma Greenwood is an award-winning sports activities author with greater than 20 years’ expertise masking a variety of sports activities in any respect ranges from netball and swimming to rugby and NRL and a selected ardour for Olympic… Read extra

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