NS SCOREBOARD: SSN 2022 Round 2 

NS SCOREBOARD: SSN 2022 Round 2 

Contributors: Katrina Nissen, Jenny Sinclair, Ian Harkin, Ariane Virgona, Georgia Doyle 

Photographers: Danny Dalton, Simon Leonard


Match Results

Melbourne Vixens 53 def NSW Swifts 48 (14-9, 18-10, 11-13, 10-16)

Queensland Firebirds 82 def Sunshine Coast Lightning 54 (18-17, 22-9, 19-13, 23-15)

West Coast Fever def Collingwood Magpies (19-9, 20-13, 14-17, 17-14) 

Adelaide Thunderbirds 56 def GIANTS Netball 43 (13-15, 12-10, 15-9, 16-9)



Let’s Talk

On 24 March the league’s COVID-19 Contingency Framework was announced and in the first time it was utilised, holes a truck could drive through were revealed

By midway through the week, GIANTS Netball knew they would have at least 6 of their contracted athletes and training partners missing from Round 2 due to COVID. Yet, despite the Framework stating the ‘league would consider a request to reschedule if five or more squad players are impacted by COVID-19’, they denied GIANTS two separate requests to reschedule the match. 

In the end, GIANTS elevated three of their training partners – Charli Fidler, Ang Frketic and Erin O’Brien – and utilised the supplementary athlete list to temporarily elevate Fever training partner and Roses international athlete, Chelsea Pitman into their game day squad. 

Another of the policy’s flaws was revealed, however, when Fever’s Alice Teague-Neeld was a late out under Covid protocols, and her obvious replacement – Pitman – had already been loaned to the GIANTS. Fever ended up at a disadvantage, which could have been costly if they’d lost, and still may impact their fixture next week. The protocol states that if the original team requires the loaned athlete back, they must recall them more than 24 hours prior to their match.  


There’s plenty of speculation about who will make up the Diamonds 2022/23 squad, set to be announced at the completion of Round 5. Annie Sargeant revealed on Fox Netball that the selectors will be unlikely to fill the entire 22 person group, leaving room for standouts across the entire season to muscle their way in.

Donnell Wallam has been on everyone’s lips as a prospect, particularly given Sophie Garbin and Cara Koenen’s slightly shaky start to the season. In addition – and this may seem right out of left field – it wouldn’t surprise Netball Scoop if Ruby Bakewell-Doran breaks into the squad in the next year or two. The Round 5 announcement may be too soon – she’s just a rookie after all – but the 23 year old is a bright prospect for the future.

Bakewell-Doran plays across all three backline positions, and while at 184cm she’s a tad short for a keeper, her athleticism more than makes up for it, making her an ideal swing player and a space occupying challenge in the midcourt. Crucially, she harries her opponent while remaining cleanly in play, and far too frequently for the opposition’s liking, comes up with a gain. You heard it here first, folks.


Will she be a bolter for the Diamonds’ squad in the next year or two. Ruby Bakewell-Doran with a deserved MVP. Image Simon Leonard.


Donnell Wallam on the lay-up. Image Simon Leonard



Congratulations to Courtney Bruce (Fever) has played 100 games for her club.


The Queensland Firebirds notched up a couple of milestones in Round 2. They equalled West Coast Fever’s highest ever Suncorp Super Netball score (set in Round 1) of 82. And, they scored the highest ever Nissan Net Points with their 649. Interestingly they also hold the second highest NNP score of 562.5 which they achieved in Round 14 2018 against Collingwood Magpies.

Stats Leaders

Most goals
Jhaniele Fowler 58/61 (95.1%)

Most gains
Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds v GIANTS) – 15 (5 intercepts, 2 deflections with gain, 8 rebounds)
Emily Mannix (Vixens v Swifts) – 9 (5 intercepts, 3 rebounds, 1 deflection with gain)

Most feeds 
Lara Dunkley (Firebirds v Lightning) – 45 (32 goal assists)

Second Phase Receive
Lara Dunkley (Firebirds v Lightning) – 22
Mahalia Cassidy (Firebirds v Lightning) – 17

Most turnovers
Laura Scherian (Lightning) – 7
Georgie Horjus (Thunderbirds) – 7



Sam Wallace (Swifts) – ACL (season)


Jo Weston (Vixens) gives the injured Sam Wallace a big hug. Danny Dalton


Break out performance of the round

If there was ever a silver lining to a player injury, it is the unearthing of an exciting new talent. We saw it last year when Sophie Dwyer stepped into Kiera Austin’s shoes and it seems to have happened again with Sophie Fawns taking on Sam Wallace’s role. Fawns stormed onto the court and after a quarter to adjust,  made herself at home in the second half, playing with unflappable, youthful exuberance. It was when she switched to goal shooter that the flow and freedom returned to the Swifts attacking play. But has she done enough to secure a spot for the reminder of the season?


Firebirds, Ruby Bakewell-Doran was rewarded with a start in Saturday’s match against the Lightning. The young defender was influential, securing 5 gains for her side and 9 deflections. But it was her tidy play which really helped her side, as the Firebirds significantly reduced their penalty count of last week. Bakewell-Doran tends to stay off the body more, using her athleticism and reach to impact the play.


Sophie Fawns had a debut to remember. Danny Dalton


Match Reports


By Jenny Sinclair


Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Missing two key players – Sam Wallace to a season ending knee injury and Paige Hadley to Covid protocols – Swifts should have succumbed easily to a rejuvenated Vixens who have barnstormed back into premiership favouritism. Leading comfortably by 13 at the half time break, Vixens should have pushed out the lead against their undermanned opponents.

However the Swifts found some combinations that worked, and despite ultimately losing the game, they won the second half in a tight finish. In scenes similar to last week’s match against the Firebirds it was a concerning final term fade out by the Vixens that coach Simone McKinnis will need to address. 

What worked?

The Vixens defensive unit took advantage of the rejigged Swifts attacking line in the first half, with Em Mannix coming up with eight of her nine gains. Swifts’ Kelly Singleton, receiving her first start at goal attack, was smothered by Jo Weston, and replaced in the second quarter by training partner Sophie Fawns. 

Fawns lacked muscle against the Vixens’ defenders, and connection with her midcourt, but came to life in the second half when she was moved back to goal shooter. With a fired up Helen Housby directing play out the front, Fawns looked far more comfortable running the baseline or popping out for a pass. 

For the Vixens, Liz Watson dominated with 18 centre pass receives and 36 feeds, directing the attack, while Kate Moloney was solid but expensive with 15 penalties. The pair were crucial in safe transition of the ball through court – of the Vixens 17 gains, they were able to score from 71% of them, in contrast to the Swifts lowly 7 gains and 43% conversion success rate. 

Where the match was won and lost?

While coach Briony Akle was quick to change her line when it wasn’t working, she will rue the Swifts’ disconnect in the first half. Hadley’s calmness and drive was missed through the midcourt, and her replacement at centre, Tayla Fraser, was hesitant on the pass. Far too often she either held the pass up, by which time leads were covered, or looked backwards to the transverse line rather than forward into attack. She looked far more comfortable when moved into wing attack in the second half, leaving Maddy Proud to control the centre. 

It was also an interesting decision to start Sarah Klau at goal defence and Maddy Turner at goal keeper, and keep them in that position for the duration of the match. While Akle hasn’t spoken publicly about her thoughts, reasons could include having the mobile Turner matched against the nippy Mwai Kumwenda, the long wing span of Klau across two thirds of the court, or an attempt to reduce Turner’s penalties and her resultant time out of play. 

While Klau’s presence at keeper was missed, and the ball found Kumwenda far too easily as a result, she caused considerable problems for Rahni Samason and Kiera Austin. The goal attacks were switched a number of times across the match, with both having their respective issues. Samason’s combination with her teammates looked more on point, but her shooting was strangely inaccurate at a lowly 63.6%. 

Austin was marginally more accurate at 75%, but her volume – 3/4 – was far from impressive. She’s yet to gel smoothly with her teammates, and was frequently in positioning conflict with Watson as both players sought to control the middle channel. 

While far better than last year, Vixens will need to continue to work on their goal attack issues, and will also need to address their final term fadeouts. 

The Swifts penalty count was still too high, with their three back defenders giving away 53 of the team’s 68 penalties. In the circle Fawns improved across the game, but her 12 goals at goal shooter (in addition to her three at goal attack) may not be the dominant performance that each team needs from their mainstay. 

Which players/combinations stood out?

While Maddy Proud was expensive at times with five turnovers, her ability to find her circle – finishing with 39 feeds – was crucial for the Swifts to stay in touch with the Vixens. A quiet achiever, Klau’s work can be overlooked at times, but she caused significant disruption to the all important goal attack position. It was the first time that Samason has looked less than confident going to the post. 

For the Vixens, it’s hard to go past their defence – the smothering court work of Weston and the intercept ability of Mannix. However, Liz Watson once again was the dominant midcourter. 


Shooting statistics 

Mwai Kumwenda 41/44 (93%)
Rahni Samason 7/11 (64%)
Kiera Austin 3/4  (75%)

Helen Housby 24/33 (73%)
Sophie Fawns 15/18 (83%)
Kelly Singleton 3/3 (100%)

MVP: Liz Watson (Vixens)


Maddy Proud had a good tussle against Kate Moloney, although the latter was guilty of holding her player at times, and picked up 15 penalties. Danny Dalton


Liv Lewis (Vixens) snatches a ball from Sophie Fawns. Danny Dalton


Swifts coach Briony Akle and injured shooter Sam Wallace congratulate Sophie Fawns on her debut. Danny Dalton


Another MVP for Liz Watson as she makes a superb start to the season. Danny Dalton



By Katrina Nissen


The Queensland Firebirds found a new freedom when they put out a near perfect 60 minute performance for the first time in 2022. From the start of the second quarter they marched to a record equaling score, easily squashing a depleted Sunshine Coast Lightning by 28 goals.

Without the leadership of captain Steph Wood (out with COVID protocols), Lightning’s attack end were rigid and lacked the usual flow and guidance she brings. While Lightning held on in the first quarter to only go down by 1, the Firebirds dogged defence wore them down in the second. Their experienced heads in Laura Scherian, Cara Koenen and Mahalia Cassidy were forced into rushed play, resulting in miscommunication, frustration and ball handling errors. 

After a week of hard conversations, the Firebirds looked joyous in their play and relished quietening a usually vocal USC crowd. 

What worked?

The Firebirds full court defence and blistering transition speed worked for them. They pestered their opposition with smothering first ball contests, then launched long and fast into transition before Lightning could respond. 

But the biggest and most noticeable difference for the Firebirds was their reduced penalty count. This week they scored 55 fewer penalties than they did in Round 1. Undoubtedly the cleaner style of defence lifted the spirits across the court as the athletes spent more time in play. 

Where the match was won and lost?

Ball handling errors and goals from won possession were the two most telling statistics in this match. Lightning had 22 turnovers which is very off brand for them. And, of the ball they won, they only converted 5 goals. 

By comparison, the Firebirds converted 80% of their forced gains and 65% of their unforced turnovers. 

Which players/combinations stood out?

For the Firebirds the combination of youth and experience in Ruby Bakewell-Doran and Eboni Usoro-Brown worked extremely well. Speaking at half time, Bakewell-Doran said having the Roses international at her back calmed her and gave her confidence. 

Bakewell-Doran surprised when she got the start over Kim Jenner, but quickly quashed any questions about her selection. She contested everything, adjusted when needed and finished the match with 9 deflections, 1 intercept, 1 pickup and a reasonable 8 penalties. 

Usoro-Brown seemed much more settled in Round 2. She read the play well and by the second half, started roaming to contest the feed. She also finished with better stats than last week (3 rebounds, 1 intercept, 7 deflections). 


Shooting statistics 

Cara Koenen 24/29 (83%)
Reilley Batcheldor 25/33 (76%)
Annie Lawrie 2/5 (40%)

Donnell Wallam 49/55 (89%)
Gretel Bueta 23/26 (89%)
Mia Stower 4/6 (67%)

MVP: Ruby Bakewell-Doran (Firebirds)


Tara Hinchliffe beats Gretel Bueta to the ball. Image Simon Leonard.


Kim Ravaillion controlled the midcourt alongside Lara Dunkley. Image Simon Leonard.


Gabi Simpson takes an intercept on circle edge. Image Simon Leonard.



By Ariane Virgona


The Collingwood Magpies started off the blocks in a strong and precise fashion, with a lead over the Fever in the beginning of the first quarter, and came out firing in each subsequent quarter. Full court defence, a smoother connection between Sophie Garbin and Shimona Nelson and speedy attacking from the likes of Jovic and Brown helped keep the Magpies in contention. While they initially capitalised off their possession, the defensive pressure of the West Coast Fever meant that feeding the ball into the circle proved difficult with Sunday Aryang and Courtney Bruce contesting high balls and having a fly outside the circle. 

The Magpies worked hard throughout the game to turn the ball over, yet struggled to convert these possessions into goals. The Fever dominated for the remainder of the game, however, with dogged defense and three supershots, the Magpies were able to regain their footing to win the 3rd quarter and come within eight goals in the fourth quarter. 

What worked?

Having Ash Brazill back meant that the Magpies looked more settled and came out strongly to challenge the Fever. The strong defensive effort from players across the court saw all Fever players, bar Ellis, have at least one general play turnover. The speed and intensity of the Magpies saw great ball movement and this was also utilized at times when the team gained ball back. The Magpies experimented with combinations to help find the touch on the feed to Nelson and lower the deficit. 

The West Coast Fever were able to capitalize on their possession and adapt to the defensive pressure of the Magpies, which meant that the Fever were able to rise to the challenge.  Shooters Jhaniele Fowler and Sasha Glasgow were able to sink important shots; Fowler continued to serve as that anchor for the feeders and allowed Glasgow to take the supershots to extend the lead. The attack for the Fever carried the ball with precision and speed and the strong connections between attackers and shooters meant that the ball could be delivered into the circle safely to keep the scoreboard ticking over. 

Where the match was won and lost?

When the Magpies let the ball go and used short and sharp passing, they were able to reduce the deficit substantially and challenge Fever. The inclusion of Sinclair in the second quarter helped strengthen the connection to Nelson under the post. There were times where the ball seemed forced into the circle and rebound possessions were lacking, which contributed to the poor conversion rate of the Magpies overall. 

The passages of play when they were able to utilize the turnovers from missed goals and the speed of the midcourt showed their true form that can challenge the top teams. Garbin is still in the midst of learning to be a starting player at a new position, goal attack, and her connection with Nelson and the midcourt will only strengthen as the season endures. 

The Fever maintained strong and consistent defence and applied pressure over the shot, with several successful deflections. The low penalty count of the Fever meant that they remained in play and ensured that the pressure could build across the court. The accumulation of gains, unforced turnovers, turnovers from missed goals and possession changes saw the West Coast Fever take a 17 goal win and was an example of how errors across the game can quickly add up. The Fever were sharp and clinical from the beginning, showcasing their ability to adapt to the pressures of the opposition in real time. 

Which players/combinations stood out?

Kelsey Brown’s speed allowed the Magpies to transition the ball down to Nelson to bypass the defence, with 35 feeds and 22 center pass receives.  The connection between Lind and Nelson saw her turn and pass and find Nelson even when double teamed at times. The combination of Jodi-Ann Ward and Geva Mentor is also something to make note of as their communication and intuitive movement in the circle continues to expand and grow as the years together progress. Both defenders did a solid job at pushing Glasgow out from preferred positioning inside the circle and causing Fowler to fight for possession. Ward impressed with 3 deflections and 2 interceptions, the most of any player for the Magpies.

The Fever wing attack, Verity Simmons, also dominated the circle edge, with 36 feeds and 13 center pass receives, however, Simmons also had the highest number of general play turnovers for both teams with 4.  Bruce’s ability to deflect (7 deflections for the game) and her connection with Sunday Aryang continues to prove difficult to evade, causing the Magpies to second guess the pass over the top to Nelson. 


Shooting statistics 

Shimona Nelson 34/40 (90%) 
Sophie Garbin 10/13 (77%) 
Gabrielle Sinclair 1/5 (20%)

Jhaniele Fowler 58/61 (95%) 
Sasha Glasgow 10/14 (71%) 

MVP: Courtney Bruce (West Coast Fever) 


Sunday Aryang’s elevation has to be seen to be believed. Image Aliesha Vicars


Jhaniele Fowler steps into a Geva mentor defence over the shot. Image Aliesha Vicars


Battle of the speedsters – Verity Simmons and Kelsey Browne. Image Aliesha Vicars


Ash Brazill made a welcome return to the Pies after being out with concussion protocols. Image Aliesha Vicars



By Georgia Doyle


GIANTS were on the back foot before this match even started, missing three of their regular starting players in Sophie Dwyer, Jamie-Lee Price and Amy Parmenter as a result of COVID-19 protocols. This caused a massive shake up of their match day ten, with three training partners plus former Thunderbirds Captain and current Fever training partner Chelsea Pitman all elevated.

 It was a strong start from GIANTS, with Jo Harten stepping up to shoulder much of the attacking load, alongside Maddie Hay. Shamera Sterling had a field day against the inexperienced Matisse Letherbarrow, rejecting two of her shots within the first 10 minutes and getting a deflection off her first three takes. Both teams settled into the match, with the lead not stretching beyond four for the first half. Super shots rained at both ends, with GIANTS nailing six in the first half to tie the score at 25 at the major break.

 In the second half it all started to fall apart for GIANTS, with fatigue and inexperience kicking in. Despite the injection of the experienced Pitman at wing attack, it wasn’t enough to stop the Thunderbirds who played some of their best netball, with strong connections as they transitioned through court. Harten tried her best to take the game by the scruff of the neck and drag her team over the line, but with six turnovers and 11 missed shots her passion wasn’t quite enough to overcome a determined Thunderbirds side who notched up their second win from as many games to start the season.

What worked?

The shift of captain Hannah Petty to wing defence has been a stroke of genius from the coaching staff – she has always had the hustle for the ball but often got expensive with turnovers when taking on the attacking role in C or WA. She finished third highest for Nissan Net Points for her team, with 43 thanks to her three gains, one feed and no turnovers. This has also allowed Elle McDonald and Georgie Horjus to take the WA bib and showcase their flare and playmaking ability, something Petty had previously struggled with. 

An honourable mention to Amy Sligar, who played a full 60 minutes after only being cleared to play in the days leading up to the match. She was second for Nissan Net Points with 76, behind Sterling, and was safe with ball in hand only recording 2 turnovers while covering all three mid court positions

Where the match was won and lost?

It’s not often Thunderbirds are the most experienced team on the court, but they used this to their advantage particularly in the second half. GIANTS had one debutant and two players with minimal court time leading up to this match, and Thunderbirds well and truly took advantage of this. Letherbarrow had the toughest task, coming up against Sterling who had a field day with Letherbarrow struggling to find space away and being shaky on the shot. The inexperience in the attacking end also meant lots of extra work for Harten and Hay who as a result notched up six turnovers each

Which players/combinations stood out?

The whole attacking end for the Thunderbirds is much more settled this season, despite only one change in personnel with the addition of Tippah Dwan. The rotation between her and Georgie Horjus at GA, and increased court time Elle McDonald is getting at WA, alongside Horjus gives coach Tania Obst an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the combinations she can run with. Given the defence end for GIANTS was relatively was the only part of the court where all players had significant experience, albeit missing usual wing defence Amy Parmenter, Thunderbirds stood up controlled the tempo and made mostly effective passing choices


Shooting statistics 

Matisse Leatherbarrow 10/18 (56%)
Jo Harten 23/34 (68%)
And Frketic 1/3 (33%)

Lenize Potgieter 31/35 (89%)
Georgie Horjus 13/15 (87%)
Tippah Dwan 9/13 (69%)

MVP: Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds)



Hannah Hollis is doing a superb job leading Fox Netball. Image Danny Dalton


Quotes Corner

Julie Fitzgerald, GIANTS Coach

On the COVID protocols

“I think there was frustration because there was no doubt in the world that the protocols that we had definitely allowed us to appeal for a game to be delayed and when it wasn’t, it was a bit of a what on earth have you got to do [to get a postponement]….I think they’ve put a line in the sand now that no game will be postponed and you’ve got to make the most of it.

On the addition of Chelsea Pitman

“I have to say West Coast Fever were just so professional about the whole thing, Chelsea has been great since we got her. I’ve obviously known her for a very long time and we were grateful that she could come in. We’ve brought every single training partner we had here and if we had have lost anyone in the mid court we had no one else”


Tania Obst, Thunderbirds Coach

On their red hot start to the season

“You can’t ask for much more than  [two wins to start the season], and today I don’t think we played to our potential and winning ugly is still better than losing pretty”

On the team’s growth from last year

“I think there is potential, and it’s about all those pieces coming together, that’s the work in progress that we are. And we certainly have made progress because in games like that where we were a bit sloppy with our skills we might’ve started to go down a bit the other way but I think we did really pull it together”


Nicole Richardson, Magpies Coach

Positive takeaways from that match (Fever vs Magpies)? 

“We just wanted to get out and have a good start, if you look at Fever, particularly from last week, they actually jumped Lightning quite convincingly. I was really happy with the start of that first quarter, we had intent, we had good purpose- how did that scoreline get to 9 – 19 at quarter time? 

The second quarter and even our third quarter, we started well out of the blocks.. But unfortunately we didn’t have the capacity to sustain that at the back end of each quarter… I am proud of the way the girls fought… that scoreline could have been ordinary at half time but we got ourselves into a position at 5 minutes to go and we were 8 goals down and with a supershot play with five minutes to go they only scored 9 on us.. The fight and being able to execute and not blow it out up until that last five minutes was also very pleasing… we will have to address that last five minutes of the quarter, that back end, it wasn’t good enough… 

“I don’t think the scoreline showed anything that the girls did.. I think we put them under a lot of pressure and I don’t think the scoreline reflected the intensity at which we worked, which is disappointing”. 

On the combination between Nelson and Garbin

“I think that’s growing, they have not had a lot of time out there, that is only their second game, and it’s not only that but it’s the connection across the transverse line,whether that be Lind or Brown, I think that’s growing… I am looking forward to seeing where it will take us in the remaining 12 matches… happy with where that’s at at the moment.. Sophie is still learning a starting goal attack role as well so it will take some time.. She has come from a club where she was an impact player, whereas we are throwing her in a starting seven role and also as a goal attack which is foreign for her.” 

On moving Kelsey from wing attack to centre back to wing attack

“Molly had a couple of unforced errors and Maggie Lind has a strong connection with Shimona and we saw when the ball was in her hand she had a quick release to Shimmy which helped. And then injecting Kelsey into that centre role- she moves with so much intent and endeavor and you can’t question her work rate so really happy with what she put out today. At the back of the second quarter I thought we lost our movement across the transverse line, both long court and in our center passes, so switch that up in the second half so put Brazzy in the center and Kelsey back along the transverse line.” 

“At the end of the day, we won the second half against a quality opposition so that’s another positive.”



West Coast Fever 8pts 131.03%
Adelaide Thunderbirds 8pts 118.28%
Melbourne Vixens 8pts 108.85% 
Queensland Firebirds 4pts 118.55%

GIANTS Netball 4pts 90.09%
NSW Swifts 0pts 93.64%
Collingwood Magpies 0pts 83.06%
Sunshine Coast Lightning 0pts 71.34%


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

Saturday 9 April Vixens v Giants 5pm 
Saturday 9 April Swifts v Magpies 7pm
Sunday 10 April Firebirds v Fever 2pm
Sunday 10 April Thunderbirds v Lightning 4pm (3.30pm local time)


Times: AEST

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