Netball Scoop Newsletter – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 5, 2020

Netball Scoop Newsletter – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 5, 2020

By |2020-08-20T12:41:02+10:00August 20th, 2020|Categories: AUS, Match Reviews|0 Comments

Netball Scoop – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 5, 2020


Melbourne Vixens 68 defeated West Coast Fever (21-14, 13-14, 18-17, 16-14)

NSW Swifts 64 defeated Queensland Firebirds 57 (16-16, 18-10, 15-17, 15-14)

Adelaide Thunderbirds 60 defeated Collingwood Magpies 52 (17-11, 15-11, 12-16, 16-14)

Sunshine Coast Lightning 58 defeated GIANTS Netball 57 (16-15, 14-16, 11-18, 17-8)



Position Points Percentage

  1. Vixens. 16. 119.92%
  2. Lightning . 16 . 106.59%
  3. Swifts . 16.  105.88% 
  4. Thunderbirds .  12.  98.62% 
  5. Fever . 8 . 98.82%
  6. Giants . 6 . 98.71%
  7. Magpies. 4. 93.13% 
  8. Firebirds. 2. 82.57% 



Maddy Turner (Swifts) – didn’t start, calf injury



Congratulations to NSW Swifts goal shooter, Sam Wallace who celebrated her 50th national league match. 

The last fixture of Round 5 saw the 200th Suncorp Super Netball game played. 


Macy Gardner had her best performance of the season. Photo: Marcela Massey


Firebirds young midcourter, Macy Gardner, had her first long hit-out of the season and was quite impressive. She seamlessly fitted into the Firebirds’ defensive mould and picked up the most deflections with gain for her team. She even somehow managed to get her hand to a rebound! But, it was her ball carrying skills in transition which were the most admirable. For a young player she was quite economical and showed a mature head, managing to slow herself when needed to give her team time to breath in the run down court. 

Maddie Hay shares the honours with an impressive performance in wing attack for the Giants. Hay finished on 14 goal assists, a deflection and a rebound with just two turnovers despite being on court for the full 60 minutes. The attacking midcourt for the Giants seemed to fall into harmony with the new combination and Fitzgerald will no doubt reward her performance with more court time. 

An honorable mention goes to Emma Cosh, one of West Coast Fever’s training partners. With Alice Teague-Neeld and Kaylia Stanton both struggling, Cosh was introduced, shooting 4/6, and chiming in with 13 centre pass receives and 13 goal assists. While her leads could be a little bit more decisive, she held her own in a baptism of fire against the in-form Jo Weston. 



The real talking point from Round 5 is the sending off of Kristiana Manu’a, twice, during the Lightning v Giants game: once for two minutes and then in the fourth quarter for the remainder of the game. This left the Giants without a goal defence for much of the final quarter and they lost the game by a single goal after leading by eight at the final break. A player had not previously been sent off in the history of Suncorp Super Netball, although there has been discussion about increasing physicality and umpires needing to take control of games. 

The Giants are one of the more physical teams in the league but could be forgiven for feeling a little ripped off by a decision which arguably cost them the game. The umpires are well within their rights to send players to the bench for repeat infringements and Manu’a had been warned in the second quarter, but the lack of precedent for this action is noteworthy.

Another point of interest is the fact that coach Julie Fitzgerald decided to send Manu’a back on court straight after the first sending off, a risky thing to do, considering that another offence would leave the team a player short. Which is exactly what happened. Given the near impossible task of trying to defend solo for nine minutes against two shooters, Sam Poolman actually did a very creditable job and came close on occasions to forcing a turnover.


Image: Simon Leonard – from Round 4 as Netball Scoop did not have a photographer at this match


After a heartening win over the Vixens in Round 4, the Thunderbirds upped the ante by taking out the match this Round against the Magpies. They skipped out to a six goal lead in the first quarter, and although Collingwood drew the lead back at times, the South Australians were never seriously challenged.

The win came on the back of a strong performance in goals by Lenize Potgeiter (39/39) and Georgie Horjus (17/20), and dominant defensive team effort. Shamera Sterling picked up where she left off last round, coming up with six intercepts and nine deflections, forcing a number of changes in the Magpies shooting circle. 



Turnover conversion rate is an issue for some clubs, as the team with the most gains is not always taking home the choccies. In the Fever-Vixens game, the Fever picked up 11 to the Vixens’ 8, despite going down 68-59. It was a similar picture for the Firebirds, whose 10 gains to the Swifts’ 7 didn’t get them across the line in a 64-57 loss.

The Magpies will once again rue their slow starts, as their defensive end picked off a remarkable 28 deflections (15 alone to Geva Mentor). Despite this, they were outshone by the Thunderbirds, with Shamera Sterling coming away with 12 gains – six intercepts and nine deflections. Sterling’s brilliant game sees her with a new record NS Fantasy score of 187.

Kristiana Manu’a had an … interesting game. Photo: Nick Bleeker / The Goal Circle Podcast


A decision from the scoring mishaps of Round 4 has been made. There were two errors in the Magpies – Fever game, one where an Alice Teague-Neeld two point shot was incorrectly signalled as one goal, and a sitter from Shimona Nelson from right under the post that was adjudicated as a two. Despite a complaint lodged by the Fever, the league has decided not to alter the score. It’s a disappointing result for the Fever, and if the top four positions come down to percentage, could potentially mean the difference between finals – or not!  You can read about the decision making process on the Suncorp Super Netball website.

In the Magpies – Thunderbirds game in Round 5, a score correction was made at half time after an incorrect signal in the first quarter. The scorers and umpires got together and rightly changed what was signalled a Thunderbirds super shot into just a regular goal. The new process worked quite well in this instance, but it’s to be hoped it won’t be needed on a regular basis. 

Despite the send off in the Giants/Lightning game, it would seem that being warned for intimidation is a thing of the past. Defenders are going to great lengths to stop their opponents’ scoring, with an impressive range of arm waving, face pulling and screaming. While the defenders need all the help they can get this year, until it is whistled, the party tricks will continue. 

Australian captain and preferred goal shooter option, Caitlin Bassett, received just 15 minutes of court time this week. While she played a full game in round 4, she was also subbed out early in round 3. It’s a worrying sign for the Diamonds, particularly with Caitlin Thwaites retired from international netball, and a dearth of experienced alternatives. 



Even Helen Housby appreciates the humour of her glare.





Offensive Rebounds

Romelda Aiken (Firebirds) – 10

Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 6


Goal Assists 

Chelsea Pitman (Thunderbirds) – 26 

Liz Watson (Vixens) – 24 



Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds) – 12 (6 intercepts, 9 deflections – 4 with a gain, 2 rebounds)

Geva Mentor (Magpies) – 10 (1 intercept, 15 deflections – 5 with a gain, 4 rebounds)

Phumza Maweni (Lightning) – 9 (2 intercepts, 3 deflections – 1 with a gain, 6 rebounds)


Overall shooting

Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 48/54 88.9%

Sam Wallace (Swifts) – 41/47 87.2%

Lenize Potgieter (Thunderbirds) – 39/39  100%


Super Shots

Tegan Philip (Vixens) – 8/10 

Helen Housby (Swifts) – 5/7



Verity Charles (Fever) – 7

Maddy Proud (Swifts) – 5 



Melbourne Vixens 68 defeated West Coast Fever 59

By Jenny Sinclair


WHO dominated?

After a very quiet outing against the Thunderbirds, Vixens’ goal attack Tegan Phillip was in sparkling form. The Fever had no answer for her movement, trying three different goal defenders to quell her influence. Phillip ended with 26/29 attempts at 90% accuracy, and included 17 centre pass receives and 10 feeds in her MVP performance. An honourable mention goes to Liz Watson, who was also influential at wing attack.

WHAT worked?

The Vixens had done their homework, and had wins right across the board. The movement and rotation of Phillip and Caitlin Thwaites was unanswerable, as they drove forwards and into the pockets. Liz Watson was a constant presence around the circle perimeter, and she and Kate Moloney found their shooters with a variety of well placed balls.

At the opposite end of the court, the lanky Vixens’ defenders used strong hands-over pressure, forcing their far shorter opponents into error, and coming up with seven intercepts. Jo Weston in particular was hunting any balls placed into the pockets, upping the pressure on the feed.

As a team, the Vixens were also particularly effective in cramming the Fever players against the sidelines, forcing errors and balls that sailed out of court.

 For the Fever, the introduction of training partner Emma Cosh was a positive after less  than stellar performances from both Alice Teague-Neeld and Kaylia Stanton. They both shot just 2 goals from five attempts, with Teague-Neeld shaky against Weston, and Stanton producing some basic ball handling errors. In contrast, Cosh put up 4/6, and nailed 13 centre passes and 13 feeds in her 25 minutes on court.    

WHAT needs improvement?

Once again, it was ball handling errors that let the Fever down. Verity Charles was again the worst offender, with seven turnovers, followed by three apiece from Ingrid Colyer and Kaylia Stanton. The Fever come up with enough ball to win games, but have the second worst turnover conversion rate in the league. It’s a serious area of concern for coach Stacey Marinkovich, and will need to be addressed if Fever are to notch up more wins this season.

For the Vixens, the penalty rate of the defenders needs addressing, with Weston (19), Emily Mannix (14) and Kate Eddy (9) all too often out of play.

WHERE was it won

The Vixens won their individual contests all over court, even keeping Nissan Net Point leader Jhaniele Fowler to her lowest score of the season. While the Vixens weren’t perfect, and had a particularly scrappy second quarter, it was a strong team effort. Coach Simone McKinnis chose not to rotate any of her players (bar a brief cameo from Elle McDonald while Moloney was receiving treatment), and the team appear far more connected on court as a result. However, if players fatigue across the condensed season, or are unlucky with injury, it could mean the failure of any Plan B.

WHERE was it lost?

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. While the Fever only had 19, which isn’t excessive, they came at crucial times and a number of them were unforced – offside, breaking at the centre pass, poorly placed passes and dropped balls. If they can clean up this area of their game, they can beat anyone.

WHEN was the game won and lost?

The Vixens took a strong 21 – 14 goal lead in the first quarter, and it was virtually game over from there. It was difficult to understand Fever’s decision to start captain Courtney Bruce on the bench, as the team look more positive with her on court, and definitely win more ball. As we’ve seen from a number of teams this season, a good first quarter lead can be the difference between success or failure.

HOW did she do that?!

Ingrid Colyer might be the shortest player in the league, but she came up with Fever’s only two intercepts of the night. An impressive vertical leap and anticipation saw her make a real contribution to defence.

MVP: Tegan Phillip

Jhaniele Fowler trying to rally her side. Photo: Marcela Massey from Round 4 as Netball Scoop did not have a photographer at the match


NSW Swifts 64 beat Queensland Firebirds 57

By Katrina Nissen


WHO dominated?

Helen Housby had a quiet first quarter but built herself into the game from the second half. She dragged her team back into the match in the third quarter by applying defensive pressure and then sinking 5/7 super shots. Her off the line work was also impressive, taking 20 centre pass receives. 

WHAT worked?

During the first quarter the Firebirds were more direct to the circle and confident going to post. Romelda Aiken was on the move and encouraging her young co-goaler, Tippah Dwan, to take the super shots.  This broke down for them when the Swifts made a surge in the second quarter.

Sarah Klau’s footwork to get around and in front of Romelda Aiken was frustrating for the Firebirds feeders. Her dogged efforts caused several misfires in the Firebirds attack end. 

Though she was only on for 15 minutes, Nat Haythornthwaite sparked the Swifts’ front line in the second quarter. She brought better flow and connection to the shooters. Her presence seemed to calm Sam Wallace and bring her into the game. Haythornthwaite’s release was quicker which also suited Helen Housby’s style. 

WHAT needs improvement? 

On several occasions throughout the game, the Firebirds were caught standing still. While they were waiting for the ball to drop into their hands, the Swifts took those extra few steps to get themselves to the ball. 

The Firebirds’ usual hunger for the loss ball wasn’t as present early in the game as it was in the last two Rounds. If they brought that in earlier, they may not have let themselves get so far behind. 

The rolling subs haven’t really been a problem for the Swifts up until this point. However, tonight they seemed to take a little longer to find connections.  

WHERE was it won

Experience and cool heads won out. The Swifts didn’t let the pressure applied by the Firebirds change their game plan. And, in the clutch moments, like the end of the third quarter, they trusted their structures and teammates to grind back the goal deficit. 

WHERE was it lost?

In the turnovers. At critical points throughout the second and fourth quarters the Firebirds didn’t treasure their possession. They rushed or forced passes instead of working the ball around with patience. 

WHEN was the game won and lost?

The second quarter for the Swifts was where they really applied the pressure. The introduction of Nat Haythornthwaite opened up the attack end allowing for the free-flowing play that left the Firebirds spinning. 

HOW did she do that?! 

How did Kim Jenner walk away smiling from the glower directed at her by Helen Housby? We suspect it was because the plucky defender knew she got under the experienced international’s skin. But it certainly would have had us cowering in the corner. 

MVP: Helen Housby

Sarah Klau doing the work to get ballside. Photo: Marcela Massey


Sarah Klau challenges Romelda Aiken in the air. Photo: Marcela Massey


Adelaide Thunderbirds 60 defeated Collingwood Magpies 52

By Andrew Kennedy


WHO dominated?

Thunderbirds had excellent performances all over the court. Lenize Potgieter shot 39 goals at 100%; Georgie Horjus scored 16 at 94% and had not only 12 goal assists but the most centre pass receives for her team; Chelsea Pitman played a wonderful captain’s game, and embodied the perfect wing attack – she showed her strength, class, and experience, totally organising the front line but sitting out at the side to create triangles, dominating pickups, running the middle channel, and being a solid tall option at circle edge – she finished with 26 goal assists and only three turnovers. And of course, Shamera Sterling at goal keeper ran rampant as usual, with a ridiculous 12 gains and six intercepts. Geva Mentor was the only shining light for Collingwood – after an almost silent first half, in the second she started to create doubt and won possession eight times

WHAT worked?  

The transition play from Adelaide was excellent, either switching to attack with a turnover or intercept, or flipping to defence when they lost the ball. This allowed them to always dictate play and keep Collingwood on the back foot. The only time when the Magpies reversed this trend was when Ward was at wing defence, as she reacted quickly to changes of possession and had the height and cunning to reduce the influence of Pitman. 

Also, good coaching from Rob Wright reversed Nelson’s shocking start. The feeders had been too hesitant to put the ball to her, so the goal shooter was benched for 16 minutes, and she turned out a good second half with 17/18. Finally, the defensive combination of Guscoth with Sterling is a beautiful sight, as they are both so quick on the footwork and switching, and can leap vertically to tip a feed to their partner.

WHAT needs improvement?

There were not many chinks in the armour of the Thunderbirds this round as they romped in over a Melbourne team two weeks in a row. One issue is van der Merwe playing wing defence and handling the ball infrequently, yet giving away possession four times. They were also down on their super shot accuracy at 1/6. 

The Magpies are the team with piles of homework. The tactic of Mentor hunting ball early failed to work, as she didn’t get the gains and was then out of position, allowing easy feeds. They also need to solidify their midcourt, a tough ask with two marquee players in the Browne sisters both needing management as they return from injury, and so many junior players to assess. It will be helpful to stop rotating the players so frequently as they will be confused as to who to look for – let them run periods longer than 5-10 minutes and create connections. The confidence of Nelson to come on and dominate immediately with decisive holds will be a benefit.

WHERE was it won? 

The 8-0 start of the Thunderbirds was the precise margin at the end of the game. Some key areas which were part of the win were the incredible collection of possession from Shamera Sterling, the exceptional accuracy of the Adelaide shooters, and their five fewer turnovers than the Collingwood team. 

WHERE was it lost?

Magpies came on court and paid way too much respect to the prowess of Sterling. Not only did the feeders hold off, but Nelson did not dictate her space. Their hesitation was well-founded, as they did end up throwing eleven intercepted passes for the match. They converted only 38% of the possession they won from gains, intercepts, rebounds, and turnovers – their opposition brought 45% to goal.

WHEN was the game won and lost?

Failing to score in the first six minutes and relinquishing eight to their opponents, Collingwood never got any closer than four and lost by precisely eight goals. In the whole first half they couldn’t find the answers and were down by ten at half time.

HOW did she do that? 

Rebounding a supershot, Sterling leapt almost to touch the ring, and even when Nelson burrowed underneath her, the Jamaican star goal keeper still kept her feet and stayed on court, smiling about her heroic AFL-style mark!

MVP: Chelsea Pitman

MVP Chelsea Pitman. Photo : Marcela Massey (from Round 4 as Netball Scoop did not have a photographer at the game)


Sunshine Coast Lightning v GIANTS Netball 

By Cara Gledhill 


WHO dominated?

Maddie Hay started at wing attack for the first time and was impressive, finishing the game on 14 goal assists from 33 feeds, a deflection with a gain and just two turnovers. Her combination with Kiera Austin and Jo Harten was impressive given limited time at this level. 

Phumza Maweni finished the game on nine gains and played a huge part in bringing the Lightning back into the game. In the final quarter, Maweni recorded four gains including three rebounds from missed shots. This allowed the Lightning to work their way back into winning contention (albeit with fewer defenders in the circle) and was instrumental in securing the game by just one goal. 

WHAT worked?

The Lightning looked most comfortable in attack in the first quarter when they had Steph Wood and Cara Koenen combining. When the change came with Wood benched, Koenen moving to goal attack and Peace Proscovia into goal shooter, they struggled to find a path to goal with the same clarity. 

The Giants struggled with their shooting in the first quarter, but the game looked theirs to lose after Caitlin Bassett went to the bench and was replaced with Kiera Austin. The moving goal circle kept the Lightning defenders guessing. This, coupled with youngster Hay in the midcourt looked their best attacking combination so far this season, a fact which could be ringing alarm bells for the Australian Diamonds. 

WHAT needs improvement? 

The Lightning who were lucky to escape with the win in the end were unable to find fluency in attack, particularly in the latter part of the game. Laura Langman was the top feeder on the court for the Lightning, despite spending some time in wing defence. Laura Scherian recorded just 11 goal assists for the game and was well-marked by Amy Parmenter. 

The Giants still had the opportunity to take the game, but seemed to lose their confidence in attack after Manu’a left the court. They scored their final goal of the game with just over five minutes left to go. This was followed by three supershot misses from Austin and Harten and the Lightning were happy to take full advantage of the turnover ball. Despite the send-off, the Giants will know they could have sealed out this game with a little more composure in attack. 

WHERE was it won

It’s hard to look at this game and pinpoint where it was won without mentioning the sendoff. The Giants certainly had the better of the Lightning for the majority of the game, and this only started to turn when the Lightning’s pathway to goal became infinitely easier. 

The Giants had a chance to win with only seconds remaining on the clock, but couldn’t find a successful shot. The Lightning were already leading by one goal and played their trademark ball retention strategy for the remaining seconds.

WHERE was it lost?

Kristiana Manu’a was sent from the court in the final minutes of the third quarter after a challenge on Koenen. This followed an earlier caution and then warning in the second quarter. Six minutes into the final quarter, Manu’a was sent from the court for the rest of the game for what looked like a relatively run-of-the-mill contact penalty where she came in for an intercept a little late. After the second sendoff, a goal defence was no longer allowed to take the court, leaving the Giants with just six players to run out the game. 

This raises a couple of questions for the Giants. Firstly, were they aware of the rules around players being sent off? Manu’a was clearly on the wrong side of the umpires after the first sending off offence and could have been rested for the final quarter to avoid exactly the situation they found themselves in. With the young gun Matilda McDonell on the bench, a change could have been made by coach Julie Fitzgerald at this point. The second is how they respond in future games. Agree or disagree with the sending off, it happened and is well within the umpire’s rights to call. The Giants will need to look carefully at their defensive strategy and look to move on from this as they face the ladder-leading Vixens in just four days. 

WHEN was the game won and lost?

Despite having fewer players on court, the Giants could still have run away with the game in the last few minutes. Yet the lack of composure after the blow of Manu’a send-off reverberated through the team. The Giants did not score a single goal in the last five minutes of play and despite the best efforts of an overworked Sam Poolman, could not make many gains in defence. 

HOW did she do that?!

Sam Poolman was exceptional for the Giants in the final quarter. With her defensive partner in Manu’a off for the bulk of the fourth quarter, Poolman still managed a gain and a deflection for her side in the final 15. 

MVP: Jo Harten

Kiera Austin was in the goal circle most of the match. Photo: Nick Bleeker / The Goal Circle Podcast





Saturday 22 August  Swifts v Magpies  Nissan Arena  Channel 9 / Netball Live 

Saturday 22 August  3pm  Fever v Firebirds  Nissan Arena  Channel 9 / Netball Live 

Sunday 23 August  1pm  Vixens v Giants  USC Stadium  Channel 9 / Netball Live 

Sunday 23 August  3.30pm Lightning v Thunderbirds  USC Stadium  Telstra TV / Netball Live 



Please tune into the Netball Scoop Podcast on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball Season. 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 have 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!


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