NS SCOREBOARD: SSN 2022 Round 11

NS SCOREBOARD: SSN 2022 Round 11

Contributors: Georgia Doyle, Katrina Nissen, Jenny Sinclair, Cara Gledhill, Ian Harkin, Clinton Bradbury, Simon Leonard, Kirsten Daley, Aliesha Vicars

 

Match Results

Sunshine Coast Lightning 82 defeat Queensland Firebirds 61 (19-15, 17-13, 18-17, 28-16)

Melbourne Vixens 59 defeat NSW Swifts 53 (12-17, 16-11, 14-13, 17-12)

West Coast Fever 86 defeat GIANTS Netball 77 (23-21, 23-16, 21-17, 19-23)

Collingwood Magpies 53 defeated by Adelaide Thunderbirds 58 (13-15, 11-17, 11-14, 18-12)

 

Let’s Talk

The opening match of round 11 produced surely one of the biggest turnarounds in sport. In round two, Queensland Firebirds handed Sunshine Coast Lightning a 28-goal thrashing when they won 82-54 on Lightning’s home court. Now, just seven weeks later and the result was almost completely reversed, as Lightning demolished Firebirds 82-61 on Firebirds’ home court. That is a turnaround of 49 goals. Extraordinary.

The last quarter of 28 goals from Lightning was the highest score in a quarter in Super Netball history. However, they did it with the help of 3 super shots, which means that Melbourne Vixens still hold the record for most successful shots in a quarter… 26 v Fever in 2018. 

 

Steph Wood and Annie Miller were excited about their win over the Firebirds. Image Simon Leonard

 

West Coast Fever set a new Suncorp Super Netball record with the highest score in a game, notching up 86 points against GIANTS Netball. This beat the previous record of 82 held jointly by themselves, Lightning, GIANTS and Firebirds all achieved this season. It also equaled the record of most successful shots (80) by an Australian National League team, held by several clubs in the days before super shots. The six supershots nailed by Fever today, including one by Fowler in the final minute, pushed them ahead to this incredible score.

Jhaniele Fowler also came within 3 goals of her record personal league best of 70 individual goals in a match. Continuing the Jhaniele Fowler praise: West Coast Fever’s 86 also beat the previous national league record set by Southern Steel in 2015 of 84 – when Jhaniele Fowler was their starting goal shooter. 

 

Pumped up – Jhaniele Fowler and Stacey Francis-Bayman celebrate Fever’s win. Image Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography

 

COVID struck yet again, with Sunday Aryang ruled out for the Fever, and the Thunderbirds without Lenize Potgieter, Hannah Petty and Maisie Nankivell. With both members of the Thunderbirds leadership out for the match, Shamera Sterling stepped into the captaincy role. 

Sterling was one of the stars as Thunderbirds defeated Magpies and jumped into third place on the ladder, despite missing those three experienced players. Will Thunderbirds play finals for the first time since 2013? Who knows? It’s an amazing looking ladder at present; Vixens and Fever well out in front, then the remaining six teams all within one win of each other, and all of them still capable of making the playoffs. 

 

Stats Leaders

Most goals – 67/69 Jhaniele Fowler (Fever v GIANTS)

Most supershots – 9/13 Jo Harten (Fever v GIANTS)

Most intercepts – 6 Shamera Sterling (Magpies v Thunderbirds)

Most deflections – 7 Emily Mannix (Vixens v Swifts)

Most goal assists – 28 Liz Watson (Vixens v Swifts) & Alice Teague-Neeld (Fever v GIANTS)

Most feeds – 41 Liz Watson (Vixens v Swifts)

Most gains – 7 Ash Brazill (Magpies v Thunderbirds)

Most turnovers – 8 Laura Scherian (Firebirds v Lightning)

Most penalties – 19 Sarah Klau (Vixens v Swifts)

 

Injuries

Jemma Mi Mi (Firebirds) – Achilles 

Jess Anstiss (Fever) – Foot

Rahni Samason (Vixens) – Knee

Steph Wood (Lightning) – knee jar (left court in 3rd quarter, didn’t play rest of match)

 

Steph Wood sent a scare through multiple camps when she went down clutching her knee. Image Simon Leonard.


 

Break out performance of the round

Kelly Singleton has warmed into her role as starting goal attack for the Swifts. Over the last few rounds, she has held her own against some of the league’s best defenders. In Round 11 she burned Jo Weston for speed to find her spot under the post with ease. She was accurate on the shot and with feeds and fairly tidy with turnovers and penalties. 

Reilley Batcheldor continues to have a strong impact when she takes the court for Lightning. When Steph Wood went down in the third quarter with a knee injury, Batcheldor entered the court at goal attack and the Lightning didn’t skip a beat. Despite having just over one quarter on court, she was fourth in the game for Nissan Net Points thanks to her 11/12 shooting accuracy, including 3/3 super shots, six goal assists, two gains and only one turnover. 

Lucy Austin got her second start for the season for Thunderbirds, with Potgieter ruled out of the game against Magpies due to illness. In her first outing against Vixens she played just half the game, but in this match she played the full 60 minutes, scoring 49/53 with four rebounds to make up for each of her missed shots. Her connection with the feeders was solid, and she forced Geva Mentor to the bench twice through the game as she struggled to combat Austin’s strong hold in the back space. At only 20 years of age, she has a bright future ahead in Australian netball.

 

Kelly Singleton had a fine performance. Image Kirsten Daley

 

Lucy Austin again made the most of her opportunities. Image Aliesha Vicars


 

Match Reports

 

Sunshine Coast Lightning 82 def Queensland Firebirds 61

By Katrina Nissen (first published by Fox Netball)

 

Sitting at the bottom of the table and with nothing left to lose in 2022, Sunshine Coast Lightning took their revenge against the Queensland Firebirds in Saturday’s Battle of the Bruce. Thrashed by 28 points the last time the two teams met, it was a sweet victory for Lightning who returned the favour in this match with an unexpected 21 point margin. 

The result puts finals almost out of reach for both teams, though with their superior percentage, Firebirds may still be in with a chance if other results fall their way. 

Lightning threw in some surprises in their starting seven, with young Annie Miller getting the nod at wing attack and Jamaican Kadie-Ann Dehaney at goal keeper. The matchup of Miller on experienced Firebirds defender Gabi Simpson proved flawed with the latter getting her hand to two intercepts in the first few minutes of the match. The more experienced Laura Scherian ws substituted into wing attack, and was pivotal across the match. 

The Firebirds got out to a three goal lead early in the match, but a series of rushed passes saw them turn over the ball which allowed Lightning to score five goals on the trot and steal the lead.

Lightning’s full court defence forced Firebirds feeders to launch the ball from further out. This restricted vision into the circle resulting in fumbles, steps and held balls, as Lightning extended their lead out to 13 part way in the third term. All the while, Lightning played off the body and drew minimal whistle. 

To add salt to the wound, the Lightning’s shooters of Steph Wood, Cara Koenen and Reilley Batcheldor were accurate under the post shooting at 86% including 7/9 super shots. 

Late in the third quarter, Wood left the court with a suspected knee injury. The injury sent fear through Lightning and Diamond’s fans alike but sideline reporter, Laura Geitz, confirmed it was just a minor jar to the right knee and she would sit out the rest of the match as a precaution. 

In an attempt to draw back the scoreline, the Firebirds emptied the bench but it was to no avail. The changes didn’t worry Lightning in the slightest as they took a convincing win and bragging rights into 2023. 

Firebirds’ high penalty count didn’t help their cause today. Penalties have been a sticking point for the home team for many years, but in today’s match they were quite unruly with 69 in 60 minutes.

 

WILL MI MI MISS INDIGENOUS ROUND?

Ahead of Round 10, Firebirds midcourter Jemma Mi Mi sustained a partial tear of her Achilles tendon. The Indigenous athlete missed Round 10 and 11 and it is unclear whether she will take part in the remainder of the season. 

Mi Mi has been the ambassador for First Nations Round each year since 2018, and has been the only Indigenous athlete in the league. This year’s celebration is set to take place over Rounds 12 and 13, with Mi Mi to share ambassador honours with Donnell Wallam. 

 

LIGHTNING FIND FORM TOO LATE

Sunshine Coast Lightning will not be happy sitting near the bottom of the Super Netball ladder, and their form over the last two rounds is that of a team who could compete in the finals. In Round 10 and 11 their full court defence and transition work looked effortless. They rung in changes without any disruption which, if they can keep the same lineup next season, will set them up for finals in 2023. 

 

DIAMOND DONNELL

In Rounds 9 and 10 Donnell Wallam matched up against international goal keepers Geva Mentor (England) and Shamera Sterling (Jamaica) and in both outings Wallam struggled. While these performances were better than their matchups earlier in the season, she was still overwhelmed by their aerial stylings and superior body positioning. It’s not surprising, given that this is Wallam’s first Suncorp Super Netball season, however it does cast doubt on her Commonwealth Games prospects. 

 

Shooting Stats

Lightning 
Cara Koenen 46/52 88%
Steph Wood 18/23 78%
Reilley Batcheldor 11/12 92%

Firebirds
Donnell Wallam 23/25 92%
Gretel Bueta 20/24 83%
Mia Stower 10/15 67%

MVP: Cara Koenen (Lightning)

 

Kadie-Ann Dehaney had Donnell Wallam benched. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Cara Koenen looks to be back to her best. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Kim Jenner trying to keep a ball in play. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Lightning coach Kylee Byrne. Image Simon Leonard.


 

Melbourne Vixens 59 def NSW Swifts 53

by Georgia Doyle

 

The match-up between Vixens and Swifts is always hotly contested, regardless of each teams ladder position or previous form and this game proved no different. With the Sargeant-McKinnis Cup on the line, Vixens came into the match wanting to cement themselves at the top of the ladder and as premiership favourites, while Swifts needed to get a win in order to hang onto fourth spot, and a chance to defend their title.

 Swifts came out of the blocks firing, as Kelly Singleton continued her great form from last week. She used her speed and change of direction to evade Jo Weston and find herself in a good shooting position, or opening up Helen Housby under the post. A five goal run mid-way through the quarter left their opposition stunned, and forced early changes with Mannix entering the game at goal keeper, sending Olivia Lewis to the bench.

They maintained the lead for the majority of the quarter, but Vixens reminded us why they are current premiership favourites and the continued to grind out the game, with some positional switches putting players back in their more familiar roles after slight changes to their ‘usual’ starting seven. Once Vixen’s got their mojo back, they were difficult to stop with Housby’s four super shots not even enough to secure a Swifts win.

 Swifts now sit just outside the top four, on equal points with Thunderbirds and GIANTS but in fifth place due to percentage. They have a tough run towards finals, Collingwood, Fever and Firebirds, Swifts may find themselves relying on other results to get them to the top four, something a team never wants to be doing. Vixens meanwhile sit one game clear at top of the ladder, facing Lightning, Thunderbirds and Collingwood. Expect them to remain in the top four but having lost two of these three match ups earlier in the season they are a chance to give away the opportunity to host a home final if they drop a game or two.

What worked?

Vixens coach Simone McKinnis opted to start with Kate Moloney at wing defence after her solid performance their in the previous game, alongside Liz Watson in centre giving Hannah Mundy yet another start at wing attack after being used as an impact player for much of the season. While Moloney and Mundy had great starts, Watson was struggling against Proud, accruing four turnovers in just 15 minutes.

The swap at quarter time to the ‘traditional’ Vixens midcourt of Kate Eddy, Moloney and Watson paid dividends with all three players looking comfortable, and Vixens winning all three quarters from this point on. Watson was able to return to her usual dominance, miles ahead of her teammates and opposition in terms of goals assists and feeds, while Moloney filled the gaps beautifully and continued to display her defensive capabilities with five pick-ups and two gains, earning her MVP for the game.

Where the match was won and lost?

As has become trademark for Swifts coach Briony Akle, she continues to have confidence in her bench players and is willing to inject them into the game when looking for a change up. This game perhaps shows the downside of being willing to make such changes so easily. Singleton and Housby had been working beautifully in the goal circle, creating space for each other and both were accurate to post during the first half and while Singleton was slightly expensive in terms of turnovers, with four in 30 minutes, she was working herself into the game.

At half time Sophie Fawns entered the game at goal shooter, and while she allows Housby to play out at goal attack, her more familiar position, Fawns often gets caught playing the ball around too much instead of going direct to post which opens up more opportunities for the tenacious Vixens defenders to get their hands on ball. The Swifts feeders also seem to lack some confidence in getting the ball to Fawns, often opting to put a pressured ball into Housby rather than an easy one into Fawns.

Which players/combinations stood out?

Kate Eddy played a great game at wing defence for the home team, after spending some time on the bench following her return from COVID, she proved just how important she is to the success of the Vixens back line. She started on the bench, but was injected in the second quarter to allow co-captains Kate Moloney and Liz Watson to return to their more usual positions of centre and wing attack respectively.

In just 45 minutes on court she topped her team for gains, with three, two of which were in the final quarter as Vixens pushed their lead out to secure the game. She also helped dull the effect of Paige Hadley on the game, restricting her to her less than half of the feeds she has had in her previous two games.

 The combination Housby is developing with her fellow shooters continues to blossom every week. She has stepped up as a clear leader in the shooting circle, switching seamlessly between goal attack and goal shooter depending on who she is working alongside. At goal shooter she is able to use her footwork to move around defenders who are often more familiar with defending the tall holding shooters that we see dominating those starting positions, while at goal attack her athleticism and timing is on show as she creates space for the player to open us behind her. While her turnovers may be higher than she would like, the extra attacking load she is handling this season would expect this to be the case. But overall she is handling the extra shooting load and leadership the way we would expect of a world class player.

 

Shooting statistics 

Melbourne Vixens
Kumwenda 37/41 (90%)
Austin 21/26 (81%)

NSW Swifts
Housby 35/38 (92%)
Singleton 9/11 (82%)
Fawns 5/6 (83%)

MVP: Kate Moloney (Vixens)

 

Kate Moloney gets away from the chasing pack. Image Kirsten Daley

 

Sarah Klau and Mwai Kumwenda fly for the ball. Image Kirsten Daley

 

Helen Housby has stood up to the challenge of losing Sam Wallace AND Jo Weston’s long arms. Image Kirsten Daley

 

Swifts put on a strong wall at the centre pass. Image Kirsten Daley


 

West Coast Fever 86 defeated GIANTS Netball 77

By Jenny Sinclair (first published by Fox Netball)

 

In a white knuckle ride, West Coast Fever took home the points in their most courageous victory of the 2022 Suncorp Super Netball season, and wrote themselves into the record books in the bargain. Missing four players through illness and injury, and no defenders available on the bench, the bruising nine point win against the Giants was the league’s highest ever score. 

While Fever’s depth was tested the Giants were at full strength, but running perilously close to empty after a trip from Sydney to Launceston to Perth.  

With both sides running goal for goal in the first term, early penalty trouble and a caution to centre Jamie-Lee Price put her on notice to tone down the physicality.  

With Fever’s defensive connections under pressure, Giants’ shooters were given far too much room to move, and rarely looked like missing.  Jo Harten’s movement troubled Courtney Bruce for most of the game, but the defender was still able to come up with two intercepts, three deflections and three rebounds.  

With MVP Jhaniele Fowler unstoppable under the post, shooting 67/69, midway through the second term Giants shifted April Brandley back against the Jamaican. It made little difference, as Fever lifted to a nine point margin at the main break.

Fever centre Verity Simmons made up for a quiet few weeks, as the pocket rocket created a number of turnovers and burnt Price for speed. She, Alice Teague-Neeld and Sasha Glasgow provided immaculate service into Fever’s shooting circle throughout the match. 

As the game went on, the impact of playing three matches in a week became obvious. Bodies, too tired to pull out of at times clumsy challenges, hit the deck at regular intervals. Turnovers, which had been kept impressively low in the first half, blew out as both clubs scrapped for the win. 

At the start of the third Amy Sligar moved into wing attack for the Giants, but with Stacey Francis-Bayman leading the hustle, Fever extended their lead to 13 despite a mutual long range shootout. 

With Giants desperate to reduce the margin in the final term, they shuffled the deck and returned to their original line. Amy Parmenter’s closing speed continued to trouble her opponents, but the sting had gone out of the game and Fever ran away with their record breaking win. 

After the match Giants’ coach Julie Fitzgerald said the Fever were on fire. “It didn’t matter how hard we tried stopping that ball getting down to Jhaniele was virtually impossible. 

“I’m proud of the effort, but disappointed in some of the opportunities that we missed.”

 

TESTING TIMES

More than any other teams, Fever and Giants have been tested this season through injury and illness. Covid ravaged the Giants at the start of the season, when they tried, but failed, to obtain a match postponement. While Fever have had Covid woes, their squad has also been dented by injury at the wrong end of the season, including vice-captain Jess Anstiss (missing for four rounds with a foot issue), Ruth Aryang (season ending knee injury) and Zoe Cransberg (ankle). 

RENEWED RIVALRY

Scientists may have figured out how to split the atom, but separating West Coast Fever and Giants Netball would challenge them. Two thirds of all their matches have been decided by three or less goals, resulting in one of Suncorp Super Netball’s biggest rivalries. Today’s result was the biggest margin between them since 2019.

SUNDAY ON MY MIND

When Sunday Aryang burst onto the Suncorp Super Netball scene in 2020, fans thrilled to the youngster’s come-from-nowhere intercepts and clean play. She was quickly elevated to the Diamonds’ squad, and formed a strong connection with fellow defender Courtney Bruce. This season has been a little more challenging however. Aryang is well down the list for intercepts, and her penalty count has risen dramatically – she is now the 6th most penalised player in the league. 

 

Shooting Stats

West Coast Fever
Jhaniele Fowler 67/69 (97%)
Sasha Glasgow 13/19 (68%)

GIANTS Netball
Jo Harten 45/49 (92%)
Sophie Dwyer 17/23 (74%)

MVP: Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) 

 

Verity Simmons looking over Jamie-Lee Price’s arms. Image Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography

 

Sasha Glasgow played a crucial role in setting up play for Fowler and also taking the long shots when needed. Image Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography

 

Alice Teague-Neeld and Amy Parmenter were busy. Image Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography

 

Jo Harten pulling in a ripper, while in back play Verity Simmons is sent tumbling.I age Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography


 

Adelaide Thunderbirds 58 defeated Collingwood Magpies 53

By Cara Gledhill (first published by Fox Netball)

 

Despite three key players ruled out under COVID protocols, the Adelaide Thunderbirds have pulled off a miracle win, upsetting the Collingwood Magpies in Melbourne with a strong five point win. The Thunderbirds are finally living up to their preseason hype and have cemented third place on the SSN ladder to keep their finals hopes alive.

The Magpies stay in seventh position on the ladder and will need to win all of their remaining games and have other results go their way to have any chance of a finals showing. 

The Thunderbirds opted to start training partner Lucy Austin in goal shooter in the absence of Lenize Potgieter. With Hannah Petty also ruled out, star defender Latanya Wilson was pushed out to wing defence, with Matilda Garrett returning to the side at goal defence.

It was a dominant game by the Thunderbirds, who outshone the Magpies in every third of the court. Jumping quickly out of the blocks, the Thunderbirds forced their opponents into a 15-turnover first half with the benching of Sophie Garbin failing to stem the tide. The Thunderbirds were only too happy to reward these wins, scoring off the majority to push out to an eight-goal lead by halftime. 

The turnovers did not relent in the second half as the Magpies continued to throw away the ball and were unable to make inroads into the Thunderbirds lead. The Magpies finished on 32 turnovers, their highest for the season and an unacceptable number for a team hoping to make a push for the finals. 

Coach Nicole Richardson made several changes to try and stem the flow of the Thunderbirds with only Ash Brazill and Jodi-Ann Ward staying on court in their original positions. The entrance of Maggie Lind to wing attack after halftime did not have the intended effect, as the midcourt continued to attempt feeds made for the long arms of Shamera Sterling. 

Lucy Austin was a strong target for the Thunderbirds, posting up strongly against English Rose Geva Mentor. The Magpies defence found themselves too frequently out of play and unable to impact the speed of the ball going into the circle. 

Tayla Williams continued her strong recent form, picking up the match MVP award, and forcing her direct opponent Molly Jovic onto the bench. She also had an impressive impact on Kelsey Browne when the change was made in the second half.  

An impressive run of supershots by Gabby Sinclair in the final minutes of the game made the scoreline more flattering for the Magpies, but was unable to change the result. 

 

COVID STRIKES AGAIN

The Thunderbirds were forced to play without three of their key players in Lenize Potgieter, Hannah Petty and Maisie Nankivell due to COVID. This gave an opportunity to goal shooter Lucy Austin, who has previously shown some promising form. This isn’t the first time we have seen strong performances off the back of COVID protocols and begs the question of whether the league needs to be expanded to give more opportunity to up and coming players. 

DIAMONDS WATCH

Sophie Garbin continues to struggle with her move to the Pies and this could affect her Diamonds chances. Benched after a quiet first quarter, she returned to the court in the third, but finished with just five goals at 55% accuracy. 

Kelsey Browne, who is hoping to push her way back into the national squad, was switched from wing attack to centre. She didn’t have her usual strong impact and finished on just 19 feeds for five turnovers. 

Ash Brazill was one of the standout players in a poor performance for the Magpies, finishing on seven gains as she continues to cement her hold on the Diamonds wing defence bib. 

 

TROUBLING TURNOVERS

After a strong run of games, the Magpies turned over the ball too much, negating any possibility they had of winning the game. Molly Jovic was benched after delivering six in the first half but they continued to pile up for the Magpies. By contrast, the Thunderbirds who had delivered high turnover totals earlier in the season were far cleaner and took better care of the ball they won.

 

Shooting Stats

Adelaide Thunderbirds
Lucy Austin 49/53 (92%)
Tippah Dwan 9/12 (75%)

Collingwood Magpies
Shimona Nelson 30/30 (100%)
Gabi Sinclair 9/9 (100%)
Sophie Garbin 5/9 (55%)

MVP: Tayla Williams (Thunderbirds)

 

Ash Brazill pulls in a ball over Latanya Wilson. Image Aliesha Vicars

 

Tayla Williams received the Thunderbirds MVP award after another fine performance. Image Aliesha Vicars

 

Tippah Dwan on the run. Image Aliesha Vicars

 

Despite each wearing the wing defence bib, Ash Brazill and Latanya Wilson found themselves head to head on a number of occasions. Image Aliesha Vicars.


 

Quotes Corner

Kylee Byrne (Lightning coach)

“To get a win like that took all ten players to stand up and deliver on their roles. This new group was always to going to take time to establish what this new era of Lightning looks like and this week we have seen absolute resilience and belief that sets us up for the remaining games this season. I couldn’t be prouder of what they did tonight.”

 

Nicole Richardson (Magpies coach) 

“Our decision making with ball in hand let us down today…our turnovers have been under 20 for six weeks and today we notched up 32 so there’s the difference straight away.”

 

Ladder

(Team / Pts / %)

Melbourne Vixens.  36.  104.68%
West Coast Fever.  32.   110.77%
Adelaide Thunderbirds.  20.  100.2%
GIANTS Netball.  20.  99.43%

NSW Swifts.  20.  97.65
Queensland Firebirds.  16.  100.41%
Collingwood Magpies.  16.  95.3%
Sunshine Coast Lightning. 16.  91.87%

 

Next Round

All matches will be shown live on Fox Sport and Kayo Sports. Sunday matches will be available on Kayo Freebies for those who don’t have a subscription

Sat 28 May 6pm – Collingwood Magpies v NSW Swifts
Sat 28 May 8pm – West Coast Fever v Queensland Firebirds (6pm local time) 
Sun 29 May 2pm – Melbourne Vixens v Sunshine Coast Lightning 
Sun 29 May 4pm – GIANTS Netball v Adelaide Thunderbirds

 

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