Netball Scoop Newsletter – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 9, 2020

Netball Scoop Newsletter – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 9, 2020

By |2020-09-03T14:22:58+10:00September 3rd, 2020|Categories: AUS|0 Comments

Netball Scoop – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 9, 2020



Melbourne Vixens 73 defeated GIANTS Netball 53 (19-15, 20-19, 15-8, 19-11)

NSW Swifts 69 defeated Collingwood Magpies 54 (20-13, 16-14, 12-15, 21-12)

Sunshine Coast Lightning 56 defeated Adelaide Thunderbirds 50 (15-13, 14-11, 9-9, 18-17)

West Coast Fever 71 defeated Queensland Firebirds 60 (19-13, 16-17, 19-13, 16-18)




Position Points Percentage

1.Vixens . 32 . 118.3%

2. Swifts . 28 . 107.3%

3.Lightning . 24. 100.2%

4.Fever . 20 . 105.9%

5.Giants . 14 . 97.7%

6.Thunderbirds . 12 . 94.8%

7.Firebirds . 10 . 90.1%

8.Magpies . 4 . 88.2%



The condensed season is starting to take a toll, with a pharmacy’s worth of tape out on court at the moment. Sadly, it’s also seen a number of nasty injuries occur over the past couple of rounds. The injury to Ingrid Colyer looked particularly nasty, while another advanced the retirement of one of Netball Scoop’s favourite netballers. Here’s hoping that we get through the rest of the season safely.

Kelsey Browne (Collingwood) will sit out the remainder of the season with an ACL strain of the same knee that she’s previously injured. It’s such bad luck, and we wish Kelsey all the best with her recovery.

Madi Browne (Collingwood) was ruled out for this game and has since announced her immediate retirement from elite netball due to damaged knee cartilage. 

Helen Housby (Swifts) missed Round 9 with a cork sustained in Round 8. 

Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds) left the court in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be an ankle injury. 

Ingrid Colyer (Fever) left the court in the third quarter with what looked to be a serious right knee injury. Colyer has been in career best form, and would have been considered an integral part in Fever’s title chances moving forwards. 


Fever’s Ingrid Colyer sustained what looked like a serious knee injury. Image Simon Leonard.



Congratulations to Jamie-Lee Price who played her 100th national league game at the age of just 24. 


Jamie-Lee Price played her 100th national league game. Image Simon Leonard.



Matilda McDonnell (Giants) is the pick for this week. She had 30 minutes of court time at both goal keeper and goal defence. Her pace out of the circle and second efforts in goal defence were impressive. She also picked up two gains and three deflections for her efforts. We can expect to see Julie Fitzgerald change her defensive line-up more if these efforts continue. 

Rudi Ellis (Firebirds) was also impressive in her 35 minutes of court time this week, coming on when the Firebirds were struggling and twice coming out for big intercepts to spark her team into a comeback. 



When Shamera Sterling went down with an injury, Maddy McAuliffe jumped up off the bench to help so that Shadine van der Merwe could return to the court. After the game, Lightning captain Laura Langman, followed by several players, went up to Shamera Sterling who was sitting on the bench to give their best wishes. 

An injury to Ingrid Colyer in the following match saw her decide not to get her knee assessed until after the game. She wanted to finish supporting her team, and not have players’ attention further distracted by her injury. 


Maddi McAuliffe helping the injured Shamera Sterling off court. Image Marcela Massey.



The Melbourne Vixens showed why they are expected to feature heavily in finals this season with a dominant win over the GIANTS. They were clinical in every area of the court and stamped their mark on the game in the last quarter to go out to a 20-goal win. The Vixens look to have relished their time in the extended offseason practising and repractising their skills and the result is a team who hold onto the ball better and close out games well. The Moloney-Watson combination has gone from strength to strength this season. 



Maddie Hay (Giants) and Liz Watson (Vixens) were certainly on opposite sides of the ledger when it came to Tuesday’s game, but recorded exactly the same amount of centre pass receives for the game with 31. 

As we get toward the end of the season, coaches’ use of the bench will become increasingly important. Looking at the last round, the Swifts used everyone on their bench with no player playing out a full 60 minutes. Compare this to the Vixens game where three players did not take the court and four players (Kate Eddy, Jo Weston, Kate Moloney and Liz Watson) played 60 minutes. 



Madi Browne has announced her retirement from elite netball effective immediately due to damaged cartilage in her right knee. 

As a child, Browne was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis in her knees, with doctors telling her family that she could face a lifetime of disability. Her parents started the little girl on swimming lessons, followed by a range of other sports, and so her netball career began. 

Originally a wing defence or goal attack, Browne stopped growing at 168cm. She moved into the midcourt to exploit her speed, agility and incredible ball skills, and became one of the finest wing attacks the game has ever seen. 

Her elite career spanned 15 years, two Liz Ellis Diamonds, a Commonwealth Games title and premiership title. Along with the highs there have been some difficult days, missing the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2011 Netball World Cup (not-selected), the 2015 Netball World Cup (injury) and experiencing two knee reconstructions (2015, 2019). For more on Madi and her retirement, please listen in to an upcoming episode of the Netball Scoop podcast. 


An MVP performance from Madi Browne. Image Marcela Massey








Sport can often bring out the best in people. Gabi and Ingrid – direct opponents all night but supporting each other off.







Shamera Sterling – 10 (5 intercepts, 2 deflections with a gain, 3 rebounds)

Courtney Bruce (Fever) – 9 (6 intercepts, 1 deflection with a gain, 2 rebounds)

Sarah Klau (Swifts) – 9 (7 intercepts, 2 deflections with a gain)


Goal Assists 

Liz Watson (Vixens) – 32 

Verity Charles (Fever) – 24

Alice Teague-Neeld (Fever) – 23



Tippah Dwan (Firebirds) – 9

Mahalia Cassidy (Firebirds) – 8

Kelly Altmann (Magpies) – 8 



Courtney Bruce (Fever) – 16 

Phumza Maweni (Lightning) – 16 

Jodi Ann Ward (Magpies) – 14

Jamie-Lee Price (GIANTS) – 14 


Centre pass receives

Maddie Hay (GIANTS) – 33 

Liz Watson (Vixens) – 30 

Tippah Dwan (Firebirds) – 23


Kate Eddy lunges for the ball. Image Simon Leonard.



Melbourne Vixens 73 defeated Giants Netball 53

By Andrew Kennedy


Table-toppers Melbourne have all the answers this season. They are precise, composed, and inspirational in all areas of court, and they’re only getting better. The first meeting of the teams this year was see-sawing in the middle section, and nail-biting in the last quarter, but it was the Vixens who have powered on in 2020, running their opposition ragged in round nine. They had solidified a variety of combinations, perfected when to make changes, and even got their midcourt to find an extra gear.

WHO dominated?

The Vixens midcourt continued their juggernaut season, with both Watson and Moloney delivering textbook play. It’s not just the stats that they dominate, it is the manner of their execution that is second-to-none. Watson positions and slices a ball through so much defence that it lowers the burden on her attack colleagues to reoffer; she knows the movements of her target shooters perfectly, and they reward her with stunning accuracy. Moloney earns bundles of possession by reading poor passes and taking a clean intercept, or by reacting fastest to a loose ball and sprinting for the pickup, while still having classy timing to complement the other feeders – all this while losing possession only twice in 60 minutes.

WHAT worked?

Straight line play and long vision from the Vixens made it look like there was no opposition on the court. Their attacking system has fantastic timing on leads, so that several offers are made each half a second apart, while the whole team is capable of precise pass selection and execution. The shooters raked in 90% of their 1-pointers, and the pace and variety of their offers left the Giants defence looking amateur. And the defenders blitzed from centre back to goal keeper, with 18 gains and 10 intercepts, double the count of their opposition. Less noted on the stats page is that the switch of Weston to wing defence and Eddy to goal defence severely restricted the number of shots of their opponents in the second half – a combination of blocking feeding access, intimidating the shot, and rebounds and pickups.

For Giants, there was brilliance in super shots in the first half, with 8/11, dominated by Harten. The formula only seems to work with Harten and Austin together. In the second half, they got only 1/7 2-pointers. Also, Price was their only athlete playing the entire match, having only one turnover and no intercepted passes.

WHAT needs improvement?

Giants are still struggling with possession losses – the combination of 23 turnovers, and 10 intercepted passes thrown. Austin was responsible for a third of these, and considering she is one of the key attackers with most court time, there has to be a good hard look at why the ball is ditched so often by her hand. Giants also relied a lot on super shots, and when they faltered in the second half (72% first half, 14% second) their scoring dried up.

WHERE was it won?

A complete all-round performance from Melbourne. Vixens shooters flew at 87% collectively. Their back line dominated intercepts 10-4, and the team were stingy with possession, giving only 17 turnovers to Giants’ 23, and offering up a mere 4 intercepts. Vixens made seamless changes of their shooters, with the ability of Kumwenda to turn a sliver of room into an uncontestable drop to backspace the main weapon.

WHERE was it lost?

The phenomenal supershot performance of Harten in the first half could not be replicated in the second. The writing was on the wall when Giants had zero successful shots from any range in the last 4:30 mins of the third quarter, while the Vixens piled on seven. Melbourne kept up their scoring throughout the match while Giants had too many lulls.

WHEN was the game won and lost?

The coaching moves in the second half are the obvious point where the GIants started to nosedive. Bassett was well covered by Mannix, especially in the final quarter, and the Sydney team couldn’t keep up without super shots. The key players who could land the long bombs were not even on the court for the last two power plays.

HOW did she do that?! 

More like WHY did she do that! Austin lined up a 2-point shot late in the second half, with Weston defending. When the Vixens goal defence landed very close, the umpire did not call an obstruction but instead awarded held ball. As Melbourne brought the possession briskly through court, Weston took a pass near the attack transverse line. Austin saw fit to put her hand on the ball, pull it away, and get under Weston, dangerously bringing them both to the ground. This rough play was not cautioned by the umpire down the other end. While the frustration was understandable, it was a far from classy retaliation, which actually should have been leveled at the official’s decision, rather than an opposing player.

MVP: Liz Watson


The clash between Liz Watson and Amy Parmenter was entertaining. Image Simon Leonard.


Kristiana Manu’a gets some decent hang time. Image Simon Leonard.


Caitlin Bassett takes a strong overhead ball. Image Simon Leonard.


NSW Swifts 69 defeated Collingwood Magpies 54

By Cara Gledhill


WHO dominated?

Maddy Proud had an outstanding game, finishing as MVP and playing in wing attack and then centre. In 43 minutes on court, she had 30 feeds, an intercept, three deflections and just two turnovers. Proud had her best game since return from injury and this is great news for the Swifts as they build into finals.

It’s a relative rarity to have a player who can go across three positions and do well in each. Paige Hadley is one of the most versatile midcourters going around. Her return at wing defence has been impressive considering a lack of prior time in the position.

Sam Wallace was strong for the Swifts, pulling in some incredible balls and shooting well from around the circle. Wallace stood up in the absence of injured goal attack Helen Housby to lead the play in the circle.

Geva Mentor, Wallace’s direct opponent, was exceptional for the Magpies and kept them in with a chance throughout the game, leading a defensive end from the back and coming away with an incredible 15 deflections. She recorded four gains for the game, but also played a significant role setting up defence for the players in front of her. 

WHAT worked?

Briony Akle has prioritized load management for the Swifts, with regular use of the bench. In this game and with the luxury of five uninjured midcourters, the Swifts made 39 positional changes during the game including rotation of Paige Hadley, Maddy Proud, Nat Haythornthwaite, Sophie Craig and Tayla Fraser through the three positions.

Akle spoke on the broadcast after the game about the concept of no starting seven for the Swifts this season. While many teams would struggle with the volume of changes, it certainly worked for them in this game with players able to sit on the sideline, get a different view of what was happening on court and going back on.  

The Magpies won the third quarter by three goals and this is when they looked most dangerous. The change in attack with Emma Ryde coming on worked well for them, providing a good holding target in the goal circle and a strong rebounder for the supershot period.

While the Magpies attack has been their biggest struggle this season, they continue to impress defensively. Once the turnovers can be reduced, the Magpies will be a force to be reckoned with. Key to this is the wall they build in the circle. Their success also often depends on their ability to come off the body and switch direction, forcing the feed to the wrong spot.

WHAT needs improvement? 

The Magpies turned over the ball 34 times during the game, with the attack and midcourt particularly prolific for this. They will look to build their attacking structures, but as just announced, have now lost Kelsey Browne (strained ACL – short period out) and Madi Browne (cartilage damage – retired from elite netball) for the remainder of the season. It will be interesting to see what kind of recruiting can take place in a condensed and quarantined season.

The Gabby Sinclair and Nyah Allen combination could be a good one (despite lacking in height), but they appeared to lack the synergy of playing together with neither sure if the other player was going for a supershot, and often not able to get in a position to rebound as a result.

WHERE was it won

The Swifts won the game with their control of the ball and sparing but accurate use of the supershot. The Swifts still turned over the ball 24 times, but were more composed when it counted. Of the three shooters who took the court, all landed at least one supershot with just one miss between them. With the Magpies coming back at them in the third quarter, they emerged far more composed in the fourth and were able to force the Magpies into further turnovers.

WHERE was it lost?

Lacking key leadership and experience in the midcourt with both Madi and Kelsey Browne sitting out, the Magpies lineup struggled to convert ball when it counted and denied themselves many opportunities to get back in touch with the Swifts, converting just 22% of the turnover ball they got.

The attack and midcourt for the Magpies also lacked hands over defence when there was a turnover in attack and this was particularly noticeable toward the end of the game. As a result, the Swifts were able to hotfoot it down to the other end of the court without too much hassle.

WHEN was the game won and lost?

The Magpies still had a slim chance to get back into the game right up until halfway through the fourth quarter and this was largely thanks to some solid defensive work from the back four. Emma Ryde had come on well in the third quarter but was unable to continue that dominance into the fourth.

The Swifts were good when it counted and stormed home with a 21-12 quarter. This is even more impressive when you consider that Sam Wallace was lined up alongside rookie Kelly Singleton, who had struggled on the shot earlier in the game but was left on in a show of faith by Akle and finished well.

HOW did she do that?!

In the first quarter, Sam Wallace somehow collected a pass that was destined for the third row. Wallace had to tip the ball and almost turn herself inside out, but she collected the ball and put the shot away. 

MVP: Maddy Proud


Jodi-Ann Ward and Sam Wallace compete for the ball. Image Simon Leonard.


Lauren Moore has been in strong form this season. Image Simon Leonard.


Shimona Nelson gets aerial. Image Simon Leonard.


Sunshine Coast Lightning 56 defeated Adelaide Thunderbirds 50

By Ian Harkin


This match was a contest between two teams trying to recover from painful losses in round eight. Thunderbirds had gone down by just one goal to the Firebirds, while an embarrassed Lightning team was on the end of a 24 goal hiding from Fever. It was Lightning which eventually came out on top, to maintain their position in the top three. 

WHO dominated?

After a fast start, the defences of both sides gradually got on top, such that by the third quarter, scoring was painfully hard work. Shamera Sterling was a constant threat in the Sunshine Coast shooting circle, and had the Lightning feeders spooked. She forced ten possession gains through five intercepts, five deflections and three rebounds, until unfortunately going down with an ankle injury in the final quarter. It was noticeable that Lightning found the route to goal quicker and easier after Sterling left the court.

For Lightning, Karla Pretorius had a real point to prove. Her performance in the Fever match was very poor by her own lofty standards. But in this game, she was on right from the start, and her second quarter in particular was the catalyst for setting up Lightning’s five goal half time lead. In all, she had eight gains, six intercepts, 3 deflections and one rebound, and was deservedly named player of the match. 

WHAT worked?

In what was at times a dour defensive struggle, Lightning Coach Kylee Byrne made numerous changes to her shooting circle. In some part, they were forced changes, trying to stem the dominance of Shamera Sterling, but they were effective in changing things up. Experienced goal attack Steph Wood played an important role in establishing and maintaining Lightning’s lead whenever she was on court. 

WHAT needs improvement? 

Both sides struggled for connections at times, and lacked confidence in their teammates. Even Lightning’s experienced midcourt duo of Laura Langman and Laura Scherian gave up six turnovers each. In the first half, Scherian in particular was guilty of ignoring obvious targets and taking a tougher option, resulting in lost possession. She improved as the match wore on, and come the last quarter, lightning’s attack was looking far more settled. 

For Thunderbirds, co-captain Chelsea Pitman had a match she would much rather forget. Seven turnovers were the end result of some poor decision making and rushed passes. It was great leadership when she took full responsibility for her own errors in a last quarter team huddle. Impressive youngster Georgie Horjus also had a tough time in this match, but she’s not the first and won’t be the last to come out second best in a match up with Karla Pretorius. She’s got many years ahead of her to improve on all facets of her game.

WHERE was it won?

The game was won through the greater experience of the Lightning team, and their desire to put things right after their previous poor showing. Even though it was a real struggle at times, they simply weren’t going to let this game slip and see the team fall to their third straight defeat. The senior players stepped up and even when some parts of their game weren’t working, as a group they were determined to see it through to victory.  

WHERE was it lost?

Thunderbirds’ chances were certainly not enhanced by committing 27 turnovers to Lightning’s 22, with 16 of those coming from the front three of Chelsea Pitman, Georgie Horjus and Lenize Potgieter. Pitman in particular will be looking to redeem herself next match after what was a bit of a horror night. On numerous occasions, play broke down in the Thunderbirds’ attacking third, both through their own errors and through the tireless work of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni who had 12 gains between them. Thunderbirds players were often not available, and even when they were, they were sometimes ignored.      

WHEN was the game won and lost?

For most of this match, Lightning appeared to have a slight edge, but they couldn’t shake their determined opponents. A five goal lead going into the final quarter was far from insurmountable, and that was reduced to just three goals early in the last term. 

It was then that Chelsea Pitman threw a wildly ambitious pass to Lenize Potgieter, only to see it fly well over the baseline. On Thunderbirds’ next possession, Shadine van der Merwe also fired an errant pass, and shortly after, it was Pitman again with a pass to nobody. The lead quickly grew to 11. Although Thunderbirds fired in a series of super shots to finish the game, the contest was effectively already over at that point.     

HOW did she do that?!

Early in the last quarter, when Thunderbirds needed something special, of course Shamera Sterling was the one to provide it. Lightning put on a precise attacking move, swinging the ball around their attacking third before passing to Cara Koenen, who was seemingly well positioned in front of her opponent. Quick as a flash, Sterling came from behind Koenen, got a touch on the ball without contacting, and won possession for her team who duly scored to close the gap to just three.  

MVP: Karla Pretorius (Lightning)



Steph Wood getting a shot away against Shamera Sterling. Image Marcela Massey.


Lightning trying to shut Georgie Horjus down at the centre pass. Image Marcela Massey.


Shamera Sterling went down with an ankle injury. Image Marcela Massey.


West Coast Fever 71 defeated Queensland Firebirds 60

By Jenny Sinclair


Coming off the back of a record breaking win against the Lightning, the West Coast Fever looked to extend their winning streak to three games, and beat the Firebirds for the first time in the Suncorp Super Netball league. They proved to be too strong for their opponents, but had to cope with a shattering injury to wing attack Ingrid Colyer during the third quarter.

WHO dominated?

The Fever’s twin bookends dominated. Jhaniele Fowler sunk 63/65 at 97%, and showed that she has added movement to her game. She mixed up her holding game by moving out of the circle at times, cutting and driving back under the post.

Courtney Bruce was instrumental in reducing the Queensland team’s ability to score. She constantly changed position, defending from in front, behind and the side, in an attempt to confuse the Firebirds’ feeders. Bruce finished with nine gains, which included six intercepts, four deflections and two rebounds.

Mahalia Cassidy was the Firebirds best, finishing with 42 feeds.

WHAT worked?

The Fever have added layers to their game in recent weeks. There were generally multiple leads on offer for each pass, with players running onto the ball rather than being caught standing still. In a football-like manner, Fever were also prepared to switch sides of the court when under pressure, using a lateral pass behind play before driving forwards into attack again. It was a clever tactical play against a team that had already moved deep into their defensive zones. The movement from one side of the court to the other, and speed of transition, often caught the Firebirds unawares, limiting their ability to set up in defence.

In attack, Fever have also shortened their game, adding in an extra pass into the goal circle which reduced the Firebirds’ ability to intercept the pass. While the high ball still went into Fowler, it was generally done from a closer and safer range. 

Alice Teague-Neeld (34 feeds) and Verity Charles (31 feeds) were both setting up play around the circle, while Colyer was her usual busy self on the centre pass, leading the way with 18 receives despite spending more than a quarter off court. 

The Firebirds fought right throughout the game, and with their never-say-die attitude gained the edge in the last quarter.

WHAT needs improvement?

Far too often the Firebirds had just one lead on offer in attack. It worked when the passes were pinpoint accurate, but when they weren’t the ball got turned over. Tippah Dwan, Jemma Mi Mi and Mahalia Cassidy had 20 turnovers between the three of them, as they attempted to force balls to leads that were covered, or just made basic errors.

The Fever narrowly lost the last quarter by two goals, as they looked to settle the line after losing Colyer to injury. Training partner Emma Cosh did an admirable job of pinch-hitting at wing attack, but will face a stiff task to be match-ready in time for the ladder leading Vixens on Saturday. 

The Fever’s game plan usually revolves around a first phase pass to Colyer (third most in the league) on the centre pass, with second pass and circle feed taken by Teague-Neeld or Charles (second and third most in the league respectively). Normally a goal attack, Cosh doesn’t have the same driving speed onto the ball as Colyer, and the team would be less familiar with her style of play. However, with coach Stacey Marinkovich’s level of preparedness, it’s undoubtedly a line they have run at training. 

WHERE was it won?

While it wasn’t reflected in the statistics, the Fever’s through-court defensive pressure was outstanding. Leads were covered, play was forced to the side of the court, hands-over pressure denied easy vision, and Tippah Dwan was largely shut out of play. While the entire team supported the effort, the quick-moving feet of Jess Anstiss and particularly Stacey Francis were instrumental in covering first, second and third efforts by their opponents.

The Fever defenders were particularly crafty in double-teaming Dwan during the five minute power plays, and while it allowed an easier pass to Romelda Aiken under the post, one point against them was considered better than two.

The Fever also had a centre pass conversion rate of 73%, and continue to be one of the teams with the best rate of scoring in this respect.

WHERE was it lost?

The Firebirds were forced into far too many errors, with some loose passes going over the sidelines or baseline. The wing attack position was particularly problematic, with a change of personnel in each quarter trialled against the quiet persistence of Anstiss. It was the breakdown in connection between each wing attack, and Dwan, that stalled the Firebirds drive into attack. Of particular concern was the second phase from the centre pass, with limited options available creating much of the problems. 

WHEN was the game won and lost?

Fever’s first and third quarters were the strongest, winning them both 19 – 13. There was no sudden burst of goals, or period of total dominance, but rather the steady ability to score off their own centre pass, and convert the Firebirds’ errors into goals.

HOW did she do that?!

Standing at 190cm, Rudi Ellis entered the game at goal keeper in the second quarter for the Firebirds, and did what few other goal keepers have been able to achieve: she challenged Jhaniele Fowler in the air and won an intercept almost immediately. While the youngster was the Firebirds most heavily penalised player, and has to learn not to tunnel under her player, she finished with two intercepts and two deflections.

MVP: Jhaniele Fowler


MVP Jhaniele Fowler has added mobility to her aerial game this year. Image Marcela Massey.


Verity Charles is in career best form. Image Marcela Massey.


Alice Teague-Neeld shoots under pressure. Image Marcela Massey.



Saturday 5 September Vixens v Fever  1pm Nissan Arena  Channel 9 / Netball Live 

Saturday 5 September Swifts v Firebirds  3pm Nissan Arena  Channel 9 / Netball Live 

Sunday 6 September Giants v Lightning 1pm USC Stadium  Channel 9 / Netball Live  

Sunday 6 September Thunderbirds v Magpies 3pm  Priceline 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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