NS SCOREBOARD: SSN 2023 Preliminary final

NS SCOREBOARD: SSN 2023 Preliminary final

By |2023-07-03T05:49:57+10:00July 2nd, 2023|Categories: AUS, SSN|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Cover image and all images: May Bailey

Contributors: Georgia Doyle, Ian Harkin, Andrew Kennedy, Jenny Sinclair

Match Result

NSW Swifts 65 def West Coast Fever 64 (15-19, 18-16, 13-16, 19-13)


Let’s Talk

NSW Swifts are through to the 2023 Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final after a thrilling win over defending champions West Coast Fever at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. They will now play Adelaide Thunderbirds at John Cain Arena in Melbourne next Saturday. This will be the first time old rivals Swifts and Thunderbirds have met in a National League decider since 2006.

Trailing for most of the match, Swifts’ tactic of going for the super shot at every opportunity, eventually paid off for them in the final quarter. 19 year old Sophie Fawns landed seven two-pointers during the match to close the gap. With the scores level late in the game, Swifts played the ball around for a full minute before Fawns finally scored the winning goal with just seconds left to send the Swifts team and fans into wild celebrations.


Jubilation for the Swifts as they make their way into the 2023 Grand Final. Image May Bailey/Clusterpix

For West Coast Fever, this was a game that they should have been won, and a bitter loss to take. Over the course of the 60 minutes, they were the better team in almost every statistical category. The one glaring difference was in the use of super shots. And there was an eerie similarity between this match and the round nine encounter between these two teams. In that game, Swifts won by the same score (65-64) after scoring 10 super shots to three. On this occasion, it was 10 super shots to two. 

Fever will be left to rue so many close losses in 2023. In all, they lost six matches, with the losing margins being one, one, one, one, three, and one. In each of those one goal losses, Fever led going into the last quarter. In a complete contrast, Swifts have had four one goal victories for the year, and in each one, they trailed going into the final quarter.


Sasha Glasgow became a big talking point during and after the game. She was involved in a couple of tumbles in the game, most notably a nasty collision with the goal post in the second quarter. She played on until late in the fourth quarter, when she was replaced by Emma Cosh just before the crucial last power 5 period. After the match it was revealed that Glasgow sustained a hip injury and concussion during the second term.

There was a lot of conjecture from people about exactly what happened, and this led to Fever making a statement. 

According to Fever, the neutral doctor didn’t deem the goal post incident worthy of a concussion assessment. At half time, Glasgow was asymptomatic when she was checked by the team physio. During the fourth quarter, she developed the onset of symptoms and was removed from the game by the physio. Post match, she was seen by the neutral doctor and officially diagnosed with concussion.  

While the camera angle makes it hard to tell, it appears that while Glasgow might have possibly bumped her chin it also looked like her head was extended backwards in a whiplash action. A different injury mechanism from a blow to the skull, it’s possibly why the neutral doctor didn’t deem a concussion assessment necessary. But from chin bumps to falcons, whiplashes, falls without a head bump and even heavy impacts – all are instances which may ‘appear’ less significant than a direct blow to the head, but which can still cause concussion.

While there is no suggestion that anyone acted improperly in Glasgow’s management under the current guidelines, the incident once again places sporting concussion protocols under the spotlight.

There is a lack of research around sporting concussion in female athletes, making immediate and ongoing assessment and management far too subjective. However, it would appear that female athletes are more likely to be concussed than male athletes for physiological reasons, and also suffer worse symptoms.

Improvements should and must be made to assessment and management protocols, and its time to draw heavily on the knowledge of experts in the field to work through some of the grey areas and manage them more cautiously.

The long term impacts of concussion and the risks associated with developing dementia must be taken more seriously, and Netball Australia, and the worldwide netball bodies, have a duty of care to their athletes to act. 


Sasha Glasgow’s hit on the post had serious repercussions. This image shows a possible whiplash mechanism following a bump to the chin. Image May Bailey/Clusterpix



Stats Leaders

Most goals – 54/56 Jhaniele Fowler (Fever)
Most supershots – 7/11 Sophie Fawns (Swifts)
Most intercepts – 3 Courtney Bruce (Fever)
Most deflections – 6 Courtney Bruce (Fever)
Most goal assists – 26 Alice Teague-Neeld (Fever)
Most feeds – 42 Alice Teague-Neeld (Fever)
Most gains – 12 Courtney Bruce (Fever)
Most turnovers – 4 Maddy Proud (Swifts)
Most penalties – 18 Sarah Klau (Swifts)

Team statistics
Penalties:  Swifts 78, Fever 50
Gains: Swifts 6, Fever 17
Centre pass conversion rate: Swifts 73%, Fever 82%
Gain conversion rate: Swifts 50%, Fever 65%
Turnover conversion rate: Swifts 73%, Fever 100%


Jess Anstiss – just – saves herself from going offside, with the look away “nothing to do with it” from Paige Hadley. Image May Bailey/Clusterpix




Paige Hadley took a fall in the first quarter, and hobbled around briefly holding the back of her knee but played on and seemed unbothered.

Sasha Glasgow left the court with six minutes remaining. Fever has since stated that Glasgow “sustained a hip injury and concussion” during the game. In the second quarter, she collided with the goal post which was no doubt where she injured her hip. Late in the third quarter, she also had another tumble and crashed into the advertising boards. After showing signs of concussion during the fourth quarter, she was replaced, and after the match it was confirmed. 



Break out performance of the round

With all the attention on Sophie Fawns for her match winning heroics, credit must also be paid to Lili Gorman-Brown. The Swifts training partner who has been with the team for much of the year, has seen limited court time due to the flexibility of the midcourt, but managed 16 minutes this weekend. 

On court for brief periods during the second, third and fourth quarter she provided the chance for the experienced Paige Hadley and Maddy Proud to take a look at the game from the sideline before coming back on and impacting. 

She had four feeds and eight centre pass receives, and while her two turnovers were expensive relative to her time on court her injection didn’t interrupt the flow of the game and gave Hadley and Proud valuable time to reset before coming back on court.


A very happy coach, Briony Akle. Image May Bailey/Clusterpix



Match Report



SWIFTS 65 def FEVER 64

By Andrew Kennedy

Riding high on confidence from last week’s emphatic victory in Melbourne, Fever felt they could power through with intimidating defence and  finish fast in the preliminary final. Somehow the NSW Swifts didn’t get the memo – despite trailing in every statistic except the supershot, they managed to stay hot on the heels of Fever for the entire match.

West Coast had more possession, better conversion percentages for centre passes, turnovers, and gains, as well as more intercepts and higher shooting accuracy. They had the four highest ranked players for Nissan net points, including a phenomenal performance from Courtney Bruce. The Perth captain had twelve gains, more than all other players combined. Swifts had 28 more penalties, and more than a dozen positional changes searching for calmness and flow, but four heroic minutes right at the end from rookie Sydney goaler Sophie Fawns including a miraculous rebound defied the reigning premiers.

With Sasha Glasgow out of sorts due to a hip injury and what was later found to be concussion, Fever’s two point options were limited, while Helen Housby also had a nightmare from long range, sealing just 3/9.

However, a pumped home crowd rattled the rafters with their cheering as Fawns exhibited tremendous composure to take a one-goal win with three seconds remaining.

What worked?

Team changes for Swifts whilst similar to those in the major semifinal gave a different result at the final whistle. Moving Maddy Turner to wing defence and Sarah Klau to goal defence was brilliant. Turner’s height guarding three feet resulted in slower buildup to any Fever goal and more lateral passes, whilst Klau continued to flourish out the front of O’Shannassy. With more space to roam and less time to think, Klau’s instincts resulted in three gains in the last quarter.

Similarly, Sophie Fawns was only somewhat effective in the first half with 3/6 supershots. but when placed at  goal attack instead of goal shooter in the second half her rhythm totally changed. Having been given more space and less time to think, like Klau, she sank 4/5 two-pointers and a vital momentum-changing rebound from her own missed shot. After Helen Housby converted the long bomb, Fawns drew the scores with a supershot herself, 62-all with 2:30 remaining.

Dragging co-captains Paige Hadley and Maddy Proud off the court for rest and rotation did eventually work in this preliminary final. Proud lost possession half as much as last week, with two of her passes intercepted and four general play turnovers – and five of those six were in her patchy first quarter. Proud also got better results with a higher proportion  of her feeds leading to a score. The two midcourt generals, with Helen Housby seemed to be more patient in evaluating the placement to Aiken-George, who in turn seemed much more calm and balanced on the one-handed take.

The Fever game plan was working magnificently through the whole match. Their defence dictated the space available and in the first quarter especially managed to read play several passes in advance and pick off clean possession. Their shooters were ever-polished, averaging 92% shooting.

Both teams’ ball placement was sensational. Sometimes teams with tall shooters can afford to be a touch lazy or inaccurate, knowing their big target will erase small blemishes in the feed. A mere 12 turnovers from Swifts and 13 from Fever made the game tantalising as the crowd admired the nigh-on perfect execution. Suspense kept building for an error which never came. It was up to the brilliance of the Diamonds defenders Klau, Turner, Bruce, Sunday Aryang, and Jess Anstiss to win the ball back.


Sophie Fawns belied her youth to win the game for the Swifts. Composed under pressure, she sunk 7 super shots. Image May Bailey/Clusterpix


Where the match was won and lost?

Given the top quality of performances across the court it was a shame that injury might have been a decisive factor. Sasha Glasgow desperately tried to claim a loopy pass from Jhaniele Fowler four minutes into the second quarter, and was nudged into the post. At first she seemed to have a minor hip injury, but by the fourth quarter Glasgow appeared unwell, and was taken from the game with a suspected concussion. Looking back, she was off the pace during the game which no doubt impacted Fever.  

Nothing should however be taken away from rookie Sophie Fawns, whose critical rebound in the final few minutes seemed to be the point of momentum change. With renewed confidence and flow in attack, the home side put the foot down and had their noses in front for the first time in 59 minutes, when it counted the most.

One thing that was missed by many but possibly changed the outcome was the reach of Maddy Turner from outside the circle. With Klau penalised in the power five of the second quarter, Glasgow lined up a shot. Turner did what all midcourters should do and reached for the ball – she put a tiny touch on it, unseen by the umpire, and the attempt seemed to be a complete airball. This led to the Swifts drawing even on 33-all with a supershot at the other end.


Maddy Turner pulls in a ripper as the ball almost sails over the baseline. Image May Bailey/Clusterpix


Which players/combinations stood out?

Sophie Fawns absolutely brought the house down in the final power five. Brought on essentially to only attempt two-point goals, the first half gave middling results. In the last five minutes she played her best netball in her biggest ever match, with 3/4 supershots, a rebound over dazzling Courtney Bruce, and helping to wind down the clock before scoring the winning one-pointer herself.

While the revelation of Fawns at the end was not strictly a surprise, the whole media bench was busy writing their reports based on a Fever win. It was a convincing and self-completing story, with exceptional leadership and dogged defence by Bruce, even by her lofty standards. She dominated rebounding, her total of six being more than all other players of both teams combined, and after being caught out by some craftily varied movement from Romelda Aiken-George for the first ten minutes, she came alive with three intercepts and six deflections for a tidy 16 penalties.

Sunday Aryang and Jess Anstiss worked beautifully in concert with Bruce, to keep Helen Housby and Paige Hadley relatively quiet by their standards. At the opposite end Alice Teague-Neeld provided silver service for goal shooting machine Jhaniele Fowler. 


Sasha Glasgow is put under enormous shooting pressure by Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner. Image May Bailey/Clusterpix


Shooting statistics 

Romelda Aiken-George 25/26 (96%)
Helen Housby 22/28 (79%)
Sophie Fawns 8/13 (61%)

Jhaniele Fowler  54/56 (96%)
Sasha Glasgow 8/11 (73%)
Emma Cosh 0/1

MVP – Helen Housby



The Grand Final

This match will be shown live on Fox Sport and Kayo Sports, and will be available on Kayo Freebies for those who don’t have a subscription.

Saturday, July 8 – 7pm (AEST)
John Cain Arena, Melbourne


Courtney Bruce finished with 12 gains in an MVP worthy performance. Image May Bailey/Clusterpix


Courtney Bruce coming round the back for a clean intercept against Maddy Proud. Image May Bailey/Clusterpix

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