Netball Scoop Newsletter – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 1, 2020

Netball Scoop Newsletter – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 1, 2020

By |2020-08-04T20:33:18+10:00August 3rd, 2020|Categories: AUS|0 Comments


Sunshine Coast Lightning 66 beat Queensland Firebirds 48 (10-18, 18-12, 14-12, 24-6)

West Coast Fever 74 beat Adelaide Thunderbirds 62 (18-13, 20-14,15-18, 21-7)

NSW Swifts 63 beat GIANTS Netball 61 (17-17, 11-16, 21-13, 14-15)

Melbourne Vixens 63 beat Collingwood Magpies 52 (15-13, 14-16, 16-14, 18-9)



Ladder position      Points      Percentage

Lightning                  4                137.5

Vixens                        4               121.15

Fever                          4               119.35

Swifts                         4              103.28

Giants                         0                96.83

Thunderbirds           0                83.78

Collingwood              0                82.54

Firebirds                    0                 72.73


Playing to an empty stadium. A first for the SSN. Image Simon Leonard.



Jemma Mi Mi (Firebirds) was ruled out pre-game with a calf strain.

Maddy Turner (Swifts) was ruled out pre-game with an ankle injury and is expected to miss about four weeks. 

Shimona Nelson (Magpies) was ruled out pre-game due to extended quarantine.

Kristiana Manu’a (Giants) was taken from the court after apparently experiencing calf tightness, and didn’t return. 



There was some impressive young talent on display this round, but it was hard to go past Tippah Dwan. The Queensland Firebirds were expected to struggle in this position with the absence of Gretel Bueta (pregnancy), but Dwan was up to the challenge. She provided some good movement around the circle, holding her own against the competition’s best goal defence, Karla Pretorius. Dwan finished with 11/16 at 69%, while taking 11 centre passes, 15 feeds, and 1 intercept. 

Congratulations to all the players who made their debut this weekend. 


Tippah Dwan made an impressive debut. Image Simon Leonard.



With the game on the line, and the Giants potting two pointers with ease, the NSW Swifts played the ball around in the final two minutes to eat up time. It was a risky strategy given the calibre of the Giants’ defensive pressure but it worked. While it wasn’t a great advertisement for the two point shot, it was strategically brilliant. 



While they didn’t record a win, team of the round goes to the Collingwood Magpies. Most pundits expected them to struggle after losing the experience and talent of Ash Brazill (knee), and April Brandley, Kim Ravaillion and Nat Medhurst (all post-partum), while Shimona Nelson had to miss the game due to an extended quarantine. 

In their match against the Vixens, the Pies debuted three players, and also featured another four who’ve had limited court time in the past. Led superbly by Geva Mentor and Madi Browne, the young team weren’t phased by their far more experienced rivals, and pushed them until the final quarter.

On a promising note, the extended Covid break allowed the Browne sisters time to complete their rehab, and both were in good form, with Madi showing the touch that has made her one of the world’s best exponents of feeding the circle. 


Madi and Kelsey Browne made a successful return to the court. Image Simon Leonard.



The penalty count was a tale of two teams in the match between the Firebirds and the Lightning. The Firebirds had the worst count of the round, with 73, while the Lightning had the best with just 29. Penalty counts have a strong correlation to ladder position – teams that stay in play tend to win matches – so it’s an area to tidy up for the Firebirds. 

The Parmy Army would have been pleased with the form of Amy Parmenter, who picked up where she left off last season. She pulled in a round high seven intercepts, and also came up with a further seven deflections. 

While Steph Wood had a quiet start to her match for the Sunshine Coast Lightning, she grew into the match after a short stint on the bench. Wood’s statistics at the post were fascinating. She shot at just 50% from the one point zone, but managed a remarkable 91% from the two point zone. Her hot hand helped guide the Lightning to victory. 



In the first round of the season, the Sunshine Coast Lightning were the only team not to get a debutant on court. Rolling subs, extended benches and the need to rest players due to a compressed season, all had a role in seeing an unprecedented number of rookies take to the court this weekend. 

There’s been criticism of the Suncorp Super Netball league in the past for it’s unlimited imports policy, which some think limits signing options for young players. However, given the performance of players like Tippah Dwan, Molly Jovic, Sunday Aryang and Sophie Craig, to name a few, there’s no shortage of talent. 

While 2020 is a season like no other, hopefully teams might be able to continue with benches of 12, allowing the cream of Australia’s young talent to rise to the top. 


Sunday Aryang made her Suncorp Super Netball debut for the Fever. Photo: Simon Leonard



Congratulations to Lightning duo Karla Pretorius and Laura Scherian who both played their 50th Australian National League match in Round 1. All 50 of these matches have been played for the Lightning.

Congratulations to Emily Mannix, who played her 50th national league match in Round 1. 



Despite Gabi Simpson’s spectacular intercept being penalised by the umpire, it was a talking point on Twitter.

Tweet from Netball Scoop reporter, Lexi Mitchell.


Gabi Simpson’s reaction after being denied an incredibly athletic intercept. Photo: Simon Leonard




Overall shooting percentage

Lenize Potgieter (Thunderbirds) 35/37 95%

Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) 53/57 93%


Defensive gains 

Tara Hinchliffe (Firebirds) – 7 

Phumza Maweni (Lightning) – 6 

Courtney Bruce (Fever) – 6 



Steph Wood (Lightning) – 10/11 90.1%

Samantha Gooden (Thunderbirds) – 9/10 90% 

Jo Harten (GIANTS) – 9/13 (69%)


Goal Assists

Liz Watson (Vixens) – 28 

Chelsea Pitman (Thunderbirds) – 19 

Alice Teague-Neeld (Fever) – 19 

Steph Wood (Lightning) – 19 



Romelda Aiken (Firebirds) – 7 

Cara Koenen (Lightning) – 5 

Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 4 



The round two fixture is yet to be released



Please tune into the Netball Scoop Podcast on Mondays and Thursdays. Co-hosts Alexia Mitchell and Phoebe Doyle cover the latest Suncorp Super Netball news, including post-match discussions and analysis, coach and player interviews, and has a special focus on the rookies of the competition. Just like the netball, the episodes are short and sharp – perfect for listeners on the go!



Melbourne Vixens 63 defeated Collingwood Magpies 52 (51-13, 14-16, 16-14, 18-9)

By Jane Edwards

WHO dominated?

Liz Watson – 48 feeds, 37 with a goal attempt, was a huge work rate first game back. Her ability to split defenders with blinding variation in ball speed was a joy to watch.

In Kate Eddy’s first game for the Vixens, she had her best quarter at GD. Playing on first Allen and then Gabi Sinclair, she restricted feeds with an attempt on goal to only two for the quarter.

 WHAT worked?

 Well-placed feeds to Emma Ryde resolutely standing in at the goal post for a quarantined Shimona Nelson. While Nelson is a more mobile player than Ryde, the Magpies’ habitual game plan of scoring predominantly through their GS suffered little disruption with Ryde’s call up. Emma Ryde did a great job to hold the scoring together for 51 minutes.

 Vixens’ goal circle substitutions between Mwai Kumwenda, Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip to take advantage of the super shot periods.

 Magpies’ full goal third defence forcing Vixens to work more patiently to a safe circle-edge feeding position.

 The Vixens’ reliable second option leads in the central corridor of their attacking third – a consistently reliable pressure release, no matter whether it is Mwai Kumwenda or Caitlin Thwaites in the GS bib.

Vixens superior fitness saw them run out the match. Photo: Simon Leonard

WHAT needs improvement?

Match fitness for the Magpies. Five and a half minutes into the last quarter, they were equal at 51-51. In the next nine minutes of the game, they scored only one goal. Smothering defence, led by Jo Weston’s move to WD, shut down the attack to circle edge, causing passes to go astray and panicked decision making.


WHERE was it won?

The Vixens’ pre-season condemnation of the supershot innovation turns out to be a strategic diversion, for it was here that they won the game. Vixens attempted 20 2-point goals, scoring from ten of them. Magpies attempted 9 two-pointers, scoring from six of them. That eight point differential put the game well out of the Magpies’ reach.


WHERE was it lost?

 In the Magpies’ attacking third. Jo Weston’s move from GD to WD in the fourth quarter proved once again that the power to break open close games lies with an intelligent WD matchup. GD Kate Eddy and GK Emily Mannix each won three gains in the Magpies goal circle this quarter, but significant credit should go to Weston’s vital matchup on Madi Browne at WA.

 Interestingly, Magpies coach Rob Wright rotated both Madi and Kelsey Brown and Molly Jovi through significant periods at WA, but none of them was able to dominate feeds in the way that Liz Watson did. Madi Browne had the best return of 4 goal assists from this position in the fourth quarter.


WHEN was the game won and lost?

 In the final nine minutes of the game. At the six-minute mark of the last quarter, Magpies tied the game 51-51. From this point, the Vixens scored 12-1 – a stunning domination in a game where the largest margin had been only four goals.

 With 3:30 minutes to go and a four-goal lead, Thwaites sank one two-point shot, then Philip intercepted on the Magpies centre pass and sank a second two-point shot for an eight point lead.


HOW did she do that?!

One planned approach to the supershot defence: Emily Mannix leaves her shooter alone at the circle, joining in a double team of the Magpies GA lurking in the two-point zone. A key defensive gain in the fourth quarter saw her intercepting Emma Ryde’s attempted pass to Nyeh Allen in the middle of the goal circle, like the classic ‘Piggy in the Middle’.



Sunshine Coast Lightning 66 beat Queensland Firebirds 48 (10-18, 18-12, 14-12, 24-6)

By Andrew Kennedy

In the eagerly awaited first match of the season, the recently revealed pregnancy of Firebirds vice captain Gretel Bueta opened the door for youngster Tippah Dwan to start with star goal shooter Romelda Aiken. In contrast, Lightning’s squad contained all ten 2019 grand final players, and further continuity in the coaching staff, with Kylee Byrne taking the reins permanently this year, assisted by Christine Voge.

Throughout the whole weekend teams made regular substitutions throughout the court. Without the traditional round-robin pre-season Team Girls Cup, they needed to take the opportunity to give excited players a run, see what the youngsters and replacement athletes could do, examine the tactics of rolling substitution and 2-point super shots, and of course, to gather intel on all the other teams and their structures, strengths, and weaknesses.

Firebirds owned the first five minutes, with very organised defence causing the opposition to struggle to get circle edge position, and rapid-fire feeds to both shooters. Karla Pretorius won position repeatedly for Sunshine Coast but her efforts weren’t rewarded. Firebirds kept the foot down and led 8-2 during the early stages, with faultless timing all through the court.  

The extended break allowed Mahalia Cassidy to make a Round 1 return to the game after sustaining an ACL injury in 2019. Photo: Simon Leonard

Ten minutes down saw the first use of the new rules, with Aiken smartly off court and Ine-Marie Venter on as a rolling substitution for the super shot period. Dwan became the first shooter to score a 2-pointer, hitting two in a row. Things were looking ominous for Lightning, nine points adrift and Steph Wood benched after a quiet start to the game. 

Peace Proscovia took the court in the second quarter and immediately proved her worth as a strong towering target, taking a big hit from Kim Jenner and not being moved off the mark. Still, the Sunshine Coast were scrambling for a combination that would start to reduce the deficit, causing further midcourt changes, and rotating shooters to ward off a shaky start. Heading into super shot period, Mia Stower was given her debut for the Firebirds at goal attack. Proscovia threw a slow poor pass across the circle, and Gabi Simpson totally committed to the intercept, giving the crowd one of the best stacks in recent memory. Despite stepping offside, within 20 seconds she took a cracker midcourt intercept. 

It was Steph Wood’s turn to take control, with five from five super shots in the quarter closing the gap to 28-30. Lightning gradually worked out their attack, no longer congesting space, and using better preliminary movements closer to the sideline before driving circlewards assertively. 

A pattern started to emerge for the weekend, with tactical timeouts being called shortly before the super shot 5-minute period yet again. Aiken was having a tough time, called for stepping, out of court, and contact in close succession. Slick double and triple plays featuring Wood and Laura Langman featured in their drawing into a slender momentary lead, and scores were 42-all at the final break.

Simpson took Aiken over to the umpires for a rule clarification just before the fourth quarter got underway. Whatever the query was, Aiken finally seemed to settle, staying in her best holding zone and thinking more carefully about her shots. However errors started to come with Firebirds offensive contacts, bad passes, fumbles, and easily intercepted feeds. While the home team’s scoring froze for an entire five minutes, Lightning kept dutifully converting possession and took an astounding ten-goal lead in the super shot section. Their attack line was singing, fast hands and feet, and decisive drives. Firebirds made wholesale changes but limped off the court after a disastrous final term, the win going to Lightning 66-48.

Match MVP: Steph Wood (Sunshine Coast Lightning)


Lighting’s Steph Wood kept her team in touch and eventually was the deciding factor from the 2 point zone. Photo: Simon Leonard


West Coast Fever 74 beat Adelaide Thunderbirds 62 (18-13, 20-14,15-18, 21-7)

By Andrew Kennedy

Thunderbirds are a new looking team in 2020, with personnel changes in all areas of the court. Fever meanwhile have all 10 of their 2019 squad, and this was an evident advantage in the first quarter, with better passing connections and timing on drives compared to Adelaide. 

There was some sweet shooting from both Jamaican Jhaniele Fowler and South African Lenize Potgieter, but Fowler and her Perth compatriots benefited from the lightning drives and hot passes of Alice Teague-Neeld, and the tenacious defence of Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis, who scrambled for possession with more urgency than the Thunderbirds shooters. 

The normally influential Shamera Sterling was getting no joy defending feeds from behind, while finding it more difficult to rebound missed shots than usual. Shadine van der Merwe, at goal defence rather than wing defence, was tracking and double-teaming driving Fever attackers, but it left her out of position at times when hurtling back to the circle. An injury to Sterling’s leg saw her replaced by Kate Shimmin, but it made little difference to the Fever. Teague-Neeld kept showering long range feeds and Fowler rewarded her consistently. With the whole team showing a patient and structured attack, Fever steadily pulled away to a 38-27 lead.

During the third quarter Sunday Aryang made her debut at goal defence for Fever, picking up one clean intercept and two other gains in just 10 minutes. The contest between Bruce and Potgieter was mesmerising, with the Adelaide athlete impressing with the evolution of her holds, deception, and ball handling, while still shooting at 100% accuracy well into the third quarter. 

Just like the previous all-Queensland match, tactical timeouts tended to appear just before the super shot period commenced. Fever used some set plays, with Jess Anstiss and Verity Charles extremely dynamic and assured on their next leads. There was somewhat more focus on attempting two-pointers, and even though accuracy for all goal attacks on both sides had been flailing at below 60%, Samantha Gooden’s three from three super shots got the crowd pumped and closed the gap to 53-45.

Thunderbirds captain Chelsea Pitman had been available and safe all afternoon, with great pace and timing, strength, and a variety of feeds. Every now and then her team got a sniff of momentum, but Fever had both the defensive stopping power and the reliable conversion of possession that kept Adelaide truly at bay for the second half. Even with four more spectacular super shots from Gooden, Perth Coach Stacey Marinkovic had the luxury of introducing Olivia Lewis at goal keeper for eight minutes, and still seeing the score advance, taking out a pleasing 74-62 win.

During their successful 2018 season, a feature of the Fever’s season was their whole-team contribution to defence. This dropped off substantially during 2019, but was again a focus today. Of the 11 players that took the court, nine ended the match with an intercept or deflection against their name.

Match MVP: Alice Teague-Neeld (West Coast Fever)


Alice Teague-Neeld worked with a sports psychologist during the offseason. She was confident to post and put in an MVP performance for the Fever. Photo: Simon Leonard


NSW Swifts 63 beat GIANTS Netball 61 (17-17, 11-16, 21-13, 14-15)

By Andrew Kennedy

Swifts had to begin their title defense without goal defence Maddy Turner, giving Lauren Moore a rare start alongside Sarah Klau. Their group defence at the transverse line and goal third suffocated and confused the Giants at times, causing sprayed passes and two held balls. Meanwhile, Swifts were able to get to feeding positions, but it was their frequently overcooked or mistimed passes that saw them fall behind early, with the score 3-7 after seven minutes. 

Just as the last five minutes began, Giants captain Jo Harten predictably called a tactical timeout, and Bassett went to the bench so Harten and Kiera Austin could line up super shots. It was clear that both teams had heavily incorporated the 2-pointers into their strategy, with new kinds of feeds and spinning takes at both ends. 

The goalers were acutely attuned to keeping their feet closer together, equidistant from the post, rather than split to gain ground. Harten dominated the super shots with three from four, but Wallace also sank three, helping her side draw level at 17 apiece when the whistle stopped play.

The second quarter began with a continuation of the desperate but exciting melee in the midcourt, with the two wing defence players Sophie Craig and Amy Parmenter tracking and undermining Kiera Austin and Nat Haythornthwaite respectively at every turn. The Swifts had improved their timing in cuts to small spaces, due to the change of structure provided by Sophie Garbin at goal attack, but three times in a row ruined the good work with poor passes to Wallace, who was really off balance trying to elude Poolman. 

Maddy Proud put in a captain
s performance for the Swifts. Photo: Simon Leonard

The reintroduction of Swifts captain Maddy Proud provided a spark of speed transitioning from Giants’ attacking turnovers, and also nice fast feet and leadership in attack. The shining light again was Harten, hitting four of five super shots, while Caitlin Bassett only got one goal in five minutes, due to the large number of balls hurled over the side or baseline. 

Proud continued to show her experience with a large variety of clever moves in attack, protection of space, and safe feeding. Wallace put on 5/5 in four minutes in the third quarter, necessitating Matilda McDonnell at goal keeper to replace Poolman. 

 Heading into the super shot period, Moore had to leave the court under the blood rule, allowing Nicole Styles to make her first appearance in Super Netball at goal defence. April Brandley, a late addition as an additional travelling player, took the same bib for Giants in her debut for the Sydney team. In a moment that was critical in the match, Harten missed a 2-pointer with 45 seconds left, and the Swifts powered down court with Wallace scoring twice, pushing the Swifts ahead 49-46 with fifteen minutes left.

For perhaps the first time in the match, Helen Housby started to edge out Kristiana Manu’a and led the scoring charge for the Swifts. At the opposite end, Caitlin Bassett was having a frustrating afternoon despite shooting at 92%, and was unable to get a shot away after stepping in and meeting the Klau wall. 

A bit of luck fell both ways just before the super shots began – it looked a hard ask for Giants to reel in seven goals, even if Harten and Dwyer could deliver an avalanche of long bombs. But score they did – and Giants only trailed by two goals with 60 seconds remaining. Swifts took their centre pass, and Paige Hadley started to orchestrate a massive wasting of time, not trying to shoot and denying the host team – final score 63-61 to NSW Swifts.

Match MVP: Lauren Moore (NSW Swifts)



Melbourne Vixens 63 beat Collingwood Magpies 52 (15-13, 14-16, 16-14, 18-9)

Match MVP: Kate Moloney (Melbourne Vixens)


Mwai Kumwenda takes a pass over Jodi-Ann Ward. Image Simon Leonard




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