NETBALL SCOOP: Suncorp Super Netball 2023 Preview – Part 2

NETBALL SCOOP: Suncorp Super Netball 2023 Preview – Part 2

It’s (almost) Suncorp Super Netball time! With overseas leagues underway, Australian fans have been waiting impatiently for the 2023 championship race to start. And with excitement building, changes aplenty, and a buzz in the air, Netball Scoop casts an eye over each of the eight Australian teams. In this two-part series, we cover each team’s changes, strengths and challenges, but fall well short of knowing who to tip for the title.

Contributors: Kate Cornish, Georgia Doyle, Ian Harkin, Katrina Nissen, Tash Rudd, Jenny Sinclair, Ariane Virgona


Part 2 (Teams ranked 4th to 1st in 2022)





Nyah Allen

Ash Brazill

Kelsey Browne

Sophie Garbin

Maddie Hinchliffe

Molly Jovic

Geva Mentor

Shimona Nelson

Jacqui Newton

Jodi-Ann Ward


Coach: Nicole Richardson

Finish in 2022: Fourth


Ins: Maddie Hinchliffe, Nyah Allen

Outs: Maggie Lind, Gabby Sinclair (Celtic Dragons, NSL)

Training Partners: Casey Adamson, Zoe Davies, Montana Holmes, Olivia Wilkinson


Keys to success

After scraping into finals by the slimmest of margins in 2022, Magpies will be hoping to be in more control of their own fate this year. While injuries and illness tested them, many of their challenges last year arose from issues in the mid-court. Kelsey Browne and Molly Jovic utilised their speed well, but at times a more measured approach was needed to reduce their error rate. Adding Maddie Hinchliffe to the fold gives them another strong option at centre and also brings in additional height. Add Ash Brazill – a proven ball winner – into the mix, and the centre court should perform strongly if they can maintain ball security. 

Yet again though, their success will likely rest on the performance of the shooting end. With Browne and Jovic highly capable of feeding the ball into the circle, at times they’ve lacked a play making goal attack. Despite Sophie Garbin dominating for the Australian Diamonds at goal shooter over the international season, it is likely prolific Jamaican goal shooter Shimona Nelson will be preferred in that position. Nelson has a considerable height and elevation advantage over most opposition teams.

While Garbin’s strength and hold are two her biggest strengths, she is still working on the playmaking ability that comes to many goal attacks, while the ability to run hard in that position also impacted her accuracy in 2022. Her ability to continue adding to this part of her game, will be crucial in Collingwood’s success for the 2023 season. 



Magpies need to turn over more ball, a statistic they lagged in behind most other teams in 2022. Jodi-Ann Ward was a shining light in defense for Collingwood in 2022; however, her defensive partner Geva Mentor seemed to lack her usual dominance. Not helped by the fact that she was nursing an injury at the start of the season, Mentor will be hoping for an injury free season especially with the Netball World Cup fast approaching, and several young English defenders showing their worth over the International season. 

While third defender Jacqui Newton had impact when she was injected into matches, she is more naturally a goal defense and tended to struggle matching up against the taller goal shooters that are becoming more and more common in the league. 

Penalties were also an issue for the Magpies, and they led this negative stat for the league in 2022. The ability to stay in play is crucial in piling pressure on an opposition, and it’s a key area for the Magpies to target improvement.

Collingwood will be missing Nyah Allen for the start of the season, following surgery in the off-season. They are yet to formally announce a replacement, but former Swift Kelly Singleton has spent much of the pre-season with them. While her experience will be much appreciated, Allen’s uncanny ability to nail a long shot will be gladly welcomed back when she does return and could be the difference in their finals hopes. 


As is the case with many teams, anything could happen for Collingwood. If Garbin is able to strengthen her play making ability, and Mentor can find some of her previous form they will absolutely be a force to be reckoned with and could challenge for finals yet again.

However, based on preseason results and other teams strengthening their rosters since 2022, it will be a challenge for the Pies to make the finals this year. 


Can Magpies make two consecutive finals berths? Image: Aliesha Vicars

Can the Magpies stay in finals contention in 2023? Image: Aliesha Vicars





April Brandley

Sophie Dwyer

Jo Harten

Maddie Hay

Matisse Letherbarrow

Matilda McDonnell

Lauren Moore

Amy Parmenter

Jamie-Lee Price

Amy Sligar


Coach: Julie Fitzgerald 

Finish in 2022: 3rd




Training Partners: Jemma Donoghue, Charli Fidler, Ang Frketic, Erin O’Brien


Keys to success

While GIANTS netball is largely regarded as one of the heavyweights of Super Netball, they are yet to lift the trophy and solidify themselves as champions of the competition. Twice they have finished minor premiers, and twice they have found themselves in the grand final – losing on both occasions. In 2022 they came agonisingly close to another grand final berth, only to be beaten in the dying moments of the preliminary final by the Melbourne Vixens.

With an unchanged team stacked with both experience and youth, boasting no less than five current and former international players, they are expected to perform well again this season. The key to their success lies in the team’s ability to produce consistent performances over 60 minutes, something they’ve struggled with at times. They are largely unbeatable when they can achieve periods of focused, error-free netball.

Their superior strength lies in their ability to capitalise on the Super Shot, with all three goalers (Jo Harten, Sophie Dwyer and Matisse Letherbarrow) proficient at long-range shots, meaning they are never out of the contest. GIANTS led all other teams for the Super Shot in 2022, in both volume and accuracy, by quite some margin. 

The impact of their captain, Jo Harten, should not be underestimated. Her leadership is crucial to the team’s success; they rely heavily on her performance and energy. She can single handedly change the course of a match with her ability to perform under pressure. Harten relishes leading this squad and stepping up in the big moments.

Vice-captain Jamie-Lee Price will also need to shoulder more responsibility in leadership this year, and missing Diamonds selection for the Commonwealth Games may have been the proverbial blessing in disguise. When she was re-selected in the squad for internationals at the end of 2022, it was clear she had taken feedback on board and was ready to prove herself worthy of World Cup selection. Her performance in the English and Quad Series showed greater levels of maturity and commitment than we have previously seen. If preseason whispers are anything to go by, Price is primed for a massive 2023, which is excellent news for GIANTS netball.



Harten has had a limited preseason after undergoing surgery on her left knee, having an arthroscopy in late January. Early reports indicate that Harten’s rehabilitation is progressing well, and she should be available for round one. Should that not be the case, and the captain is either not ready or spends extended minutes on the bench in 2023, their chances of a top-four finish start to plummet, such is the impact she has on the team.

However, they are not without talent should they need to replace the English international. Letherbarrow has sat in the shadows of Harten for a few years, biding her time for an opportunity. The young shooter recently shone at the Team Girls Cup preseason tournament, and her connection with Dwyer would withstand Super Netball’s pressure. 

Amy Parmenter and April Brandley also carry niggling injuries (knee and foot, respectively) in the lead-up to the start of the season. For a team that finished 3rd on the intercepts list in 2022, they are two players that the GIANTS would be unable to replace without losing a wealth of talent and experience. The loss of either would severely diminish their hopes of a top-four finish, as they’ve developed a formidable combination in defence and provide immense support to goal keeper, Matilda McDonnell. 

While the GIANTS have depth in their squad of 10 (Letherbarrow is an excellent example), seasoned coach, Julie Fitzgerald, is often reluctant to use her bench in regular season matches. While other teams have successfully utilised rolling substitutions, the GIANTS rarely make changes to their starting seven. This could be an avenue to explore for the Giants in 2023. Players like Letherbarrow and Amy Sligar could offer good impact from the bench; with the opposition not being exposed to them too often, and their inclusion could prove an ace for Fitzgerald. 



If players can remain injury free and Covid-19 does not impact their season as it did in 2022, the GIANTS should make the top four. The pain of losing in the preliminary final last year will still be fresh in their memories, providing the motivation to go one step further and make the grand final in 2023. They are running out of reasons as to why they have yet to lift the Premiership trophy.


GIANTS have a point to prove in 2023, but much will depend on the fitness of their captain, Jo Harten. Image May Bailey





Kiera Austin

Kate Eddy

Mwai Kumwenda

Olivia Lewis

Emily Mannix

Kate Moloney

Hannah Mundy

Rahni Samason

Liz Watson

Jo Weston


Coach: Simone McKinnis 

Finish in 2022: 2nd 


Ins: Nil

Outs: Nil

Training Partners: Ruby Barkmeyer, Maggie Caris, Gabby Coffey, Sharni Lambden 


Keys to success

While they fell short in last year’s premiership match, 2022 was generally a strong year for the Vixens. Many metrics were good, as they ranked 2nd for intercepts, 1st for deflections with a gain, and 1st for being able to convert a gain to a goal. However, with some newer faces in their line, Vixens were challenged at times in their attempts to bring the ball into their attacking goal third, giving away the second highest number of turnovers in the league. 

With Diamond Kiera Austin now firmly entrenched in the line, and the return of shooter Rahni Samason from injury that saw her sit out much of last season, the Melbourne Vixens will be looking for creativity and dynamism into the circle, in addition to ball security, to help address any attacking woes that linger. The time spent together in Diamonds land over the last six months should give Liz Watson and Kate Moloney a better understanding of Austin’s game, with resulting benefits for their timing. 

Coupled with ANC MVP (2022) Hannah Mundy, who is growing in confidence as she comes into her third season alongside Moloney and Watson, the midcourt offers immense adaptability and depth, which will be a huge asset for the Vixens this season. This is also reflected in the flexibility of the defensive end, with Kate Eddy and Olivia Lewis both able to slot around Jo Weston and Em Mannix. All can win ball in critical moments, showing that the rebuild after the 2021 season is paying off. 

With no new players joining or leaving the team this year, the Vixens are also advantaged by stability, which allows them to focus on combination building. With six of their starting seven either current or former internationals, they have a wealth of talent and experience. Calmness under pressure is always a feature of their games, and the Vixens should continue to raise the bar on the standard of the league. 



The Melbourne Vixens struggled at times with consistency last season and adapting to situations on court when plan A wasn’t working. While the Vixens maintain a high standard of world-class netball, the league continues to evolve, particularly given the influence of international players, along with tactical methods of combating the supershot. So the Vixens will need to adjust quickly to any momentum swings against them, and play consistently across all four quarters. 

While Vixens finished high in defensive stats last season, this also held true for penalties, as they racked up the second highest average in the league. With the midcourt almost as heavily penalised as the defensive circle, athletes need to be able to stay in play, adding pressure to the opposition. 

Also a concern is that both Weston and Samason are still recovering from sporting injuries that could prove to be a challenge if these players cannot run out consistent game time. Weston in particular, given her importance to the Diamonds at this year’s Netball World Cup, will need to be carefully managed.



If the Vixens can solidify their shooter-to-shooter combination, produce clean netball under pressure, and adapt to the emerging styles of play this season, they will clear the top four and potentially play in another grand final. Limited player movements and the plethora of international experience will see the Vixens utilise the momentum and intergroup connection to bring something special to the table. 

Strong defensively, their attacking end will need to penetrate strong defensive pressure from teams like the West Coast Fever and Adelaide Thunderbirds to be ultimately successful.  


Vixens’ frontline that includes Kiera Austin and Rahni Samason, pictured with Liv Lewis, should be better for another season together. Image: Simon Leonard





Jess Anstiss

Sunday Aryang

Courtney Bruce

Emma Cosh

Rudi Ellis

Jhaniele Fowler

Sasha Glasgow

Kim Jenner

Verity Simmons

Alice Teague-Neeld


Coach: Dan Ryan

Finish in 2022: 1st


Ins: Kim Jenner (from Queensland Firebirds)

Outs: Stacey Francis-Bayman (retired)

Training Partners: Ruth Aryang, Natalie Butler (nee Medhurst), Jordan Cransberg, Zoe Cransberg


Keys to success

Barring significant injuries, Fever should once again be in contention for a premiership this season. They’ve maintained a stable line-up, with strong on and off court connections between existing team members. Change has been minimal – with Kim Jenner a like-for-like replacement for the retired Stacey Francis-Bayman, both athletic and physical defenders. And while the loss of former assistant coach Belinda Reynolds to Sunshine Coast Lightning is huge, they’ve recruited well, replacing her with successful Australian Men’s coach Nerida Stewart. 

Fever led the way for both volume and accuracy of goals in 2022. Jhaniele Fowler – recently voted league MVP for the fifth time in a row – remains the competition’s most potent spearhead, and will also benefit from having her family rejoin her in Australia after several years of visa issues. Paired with big game player Sasha Glasgow – last year’s grand final MVP – Fever’s strike shooters are also capable of sinking the two pointers when needed. And that’s not to underestimate other circle options – Fever won the Team Girls Cup with Fowler load-restricted to just 50% of game time.

Courtney Bruce and Sunday Aryang have a well established combination at the opposite end of the court, while coach Dan Ryan, having selected a defensively heavy team, can be highly strategic when he uses ball hunter Kim Jenner, or tall option Rudi Ellis. Expect both Aryang and Jenner to spend time at wing defence, while Fever can also have a tall circle with Ellis at the back of Bruce.

Attacking play is where Fever saw the most improvement in 2022, with ball security a focus. They had the least number of turnovers of any team in the league, and were the only one to average under 20 per game. Alice Teague-Neeld was a revelation at wing attack – tall, strong across the line, and with outstanding courtcraft, she is a crucial player to their long term success. Teague-Neeld is joined by the speed of Verity Simmons, the versatile Emma Cosh, and an always reliable Jess Anstiss – who along with Teague-Neeld is one of the most underrated players in the entire competition. 

All in all, Fever have few chinks in their armour – they have enormous versatility, with most players able to play across several positions, plus a strong group of male and female training partners who will continue to push them. While Ruth Aryang is still on the road to recovery after last year’s ACL injury, Natalie Butler (nee Medhurst) and Jordan and Zoe Cransberg are comfortable at this level, and during the Team Girls Cup, Fever showed they can still win with them out on court. 

With defensive stopping ability, prolific shooters, and a midcourt who can either burn the opposition with speed or slow the pace down and work strategically towards goal, they’ll be hard to beat. 



Fever will need to bank some wins early, as they face a horror stint of travel in the middle of the season. Between rounds 4 and 8, they have just one home game, and spend the other four traveling the length of the country, without even subsequent matches in the same state. It’s a huge flaw in the fixtures, given Fever already clock up more frequent flyer points than any other team in the league.

In preseason matches, Fever have made a significant number of unforced errors. It’s perhaps not surprising, given that their international players are on managed workloads, and they are carrying a number of injuries including Simmons (concussion), Teague-Neeld (calf strain), Anstiss (return from foot injury), Ruth Aryang (ACL) and most recently Cosh (neck/head). All of which has limited everyone’s court and combination building time, and those connections will need to be quickly addressed if they are to stake a place in the top four.

What did surprise was Fever’s defensive stats for 2022, and it’s a definite area for improvement. While they gave away the third least number of penalties, they also sat a lowly 5th for intercepts, and 7th for deflections with a gain. While Courtney Bruce is a proven ball winner, more needs to be done in front of her to pick off some crucial gains. Along with pressure mounted all the way through court, Aryang, who was quiet by her standards in 2022, will need to step up. She’s been in strong form in preseason matches, providing good protection for Bruce, and pulling in ball before it reaches the danger zone of the circle. 



Barring injuries, Fever should finish near the top of the ladder. And if they do make it through to the grand final, they will have to play in Melbourne, where local fans will most likely see them as villains of the piece no matter who they play, given their on and off court history with the Vixens. How well they can handle the pressure, plus their travel schedule, will go a long way to determining their fortunes. 


Fever took home the big prize in 2022. Can they make it back to back? Image Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography

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