Contributors: Jenny Sinclair, Georgia Doyle, Ian Harkin, Katrina Nissen, Esther Nelson

Photographers: Martin Poole, Shaun Sharp, Danny Dalton, Simon Leonard

Match Results

NSW Swifts 67 def Melbourne Vixens 66 (15-16, 15-14, 16-22, 21-14)

Queensland Firebirds 70 def GIANTS Netball 66 (19-15, 14-18, 20-17, 17-16)

Adelaide Thunderbirds 64 def West Coast Fever 63 (17-20, 14-15, 14-15, 19-13)

Sunshine Coast Lightning 65 def Collingwood Magpies 50 (21-12, 20-15, 15-12, 9-11)


Let’s Talk

After 16 years and 117 caps in the red dress, Jo Harten has announced her international retirement from the English Roses. A wizard with the ball in hand, and capable of shooting from anywhere, Harten will also be remembered for her exceptional leadership. In an exclusive interview with Jenny Sinclair recently, the goal shooter spoke about her lengthy career and leading with her heart. 


Jo Harten announced her international retirement to focus on club netball. Image Simon Leonard.


In addition there was plenty to celebrate across Round 6. Sunshine Coast Lighting and GIANTS Netball both played in their 100th match since their inception. Meanwhile, the league also had its first ANZAC day game between Magpies and Lightning. 

While defenders have dominated the MVP awards in recent weeks, it was the turn of goal shooters to shine in Round 6. Romelda Aiken, Donnell Wallam, Eleanor Cardwell all won the main award. Karla Pretorius got one back for the defenders in the last match of the round.


NSW Swifts leapfrogged Melbourne Vixens on the Super Netball ladder with a nail biting 67-66 win in Sydney. Vixens appeared to have control at various stages of the second half, but a few costly turnovers in the final quarter turned the match. Vixens will be getting used to playing in such matches. In their six games so far, five have been decided by five goals or less, including three one goal margins. 

Swifts tempted fate by passing the ball around for a full minute at the end of the game, but they managed to protect their lead and take the win. It was the second game in the space of a week that Swifts had won by a margin of just one goal, and on both occasions, it was by virtue of scoring two more super shots than their opposition. Against both Lightning and Vixens, Swifts had one less successful attempt. 


The results of Sunday’s matches breathed even more life into the competition. Now, every team has had at least one win and at least one loss. Queensland Firebirds grabbed their first win of the season when they defeated GIANTS Netball 70-66 in Brisbane. Meanwhile, West Coast Fever’s unbeaten streak came to an end when they lost 64-63 to Adelaide Thunderbirds in an absolute thriller in Perth. 

Thunderbirds trailed for most of the match but outscored the home side 9-3 in the last power play period to take the match. On their last play, Eleanor Cardwell passed up the easy option of sending the game to extra time and instead took a risk on sinking a super shot to win the game. And she duly did just that. Thunderbirds have shown they are worthy challengers to Fever’s crown. 

However, questions do need to be asked about the league’s scheduling. In a horror run, Fever has just one home game in five matches, flying home between them. The athletes ran out of legs, and looked justifiably tired in the last quarter. 


Sunshine Coast Lightning has climbed into the top four after their dominant win over Collingwood Magpies. Vixens drop out on percentage while Magpies are stuck in second last spot on the ladder. Remembering that the grand final is set to be played in Melbourne this year, there will be added pressure on the Victorian teams to make the playoffs just to give themselves a chance of being there. 


Fever players looked exhausted during their game. Image: Martin Poole/ Speedlite Photography


Stats Leaders

Most goals – 55/57 Donnell Wallam (Firebirds v GIANTS)
Most supershots –  9/13 Sophie Dwyer (Firebirds v GIANTS)
Most intercepts – 5 Latanya Wilson (Fever v Thunderbirds)
Most deflections – 8 Courtney Bruce (Fever v Thunderbirds)
Most goal assists – 28 Liz Watson (Swifts v Vixens)
Most feeds – 38 Liz Watson (Swifts v Vixens)
Most gains – 10 Karla Pretorius (Magpies v Lightning)
Most turnovers – 8 Verity Simmons (Fever v Thunderbirds)
Most penalties – 21 Courtney Bruce (Fever v Thunderbirds)


Steph Wood in her team’s ANZAC Day top. Image: Shaun Sharp/Moments by Shaun



Jo Weston took a knock on the post during the third quarter of the Swifts and Vixens game but continued playing with no issue. 

During the same game, Maddy Turner was knocked into by two Vixens players and left the court with a bleeding nose. Turner did not return to the court as it was the last few minutes of the game. 


Maddy Turner is sent to the bench with a blood nose. Image: Danny Dalton | Tah Dah Sports

Maddy Turner is sent to the bench with a blood nose. Image: Danny Dalton | Tah Dah Sports


Jo Harten left the court midway through the second quarter after an awkward landing affecting her left knee. This is the same knee that has been bothering her since the Commonwealth Games in July 2022, resulting in surgery during pre-season. She returned to the bench with strapping on the knee, but did not return to court. Speaking post match, Harten said she and her team’s physio decided it was not worth the risk to reenter the match, and she is hopeful of return to court next week.

Steph Wood copped a whack in the chops during the second quarter. While play halted for a break, she returned to the court shortly afterwards. 

In harrowing scenes during the Magpies and Lightning match, ‘Gilbert Ball’ sustained a major injury, popping its stitching and showing its insides. In fits of giggles, the umpire sent Gilbert from the court in the first quarter and he did not return. Ball 2 played out the rest of the match. 


Break out performance of the round

Queensland Firebirds goal attack Emily Moore earned her first start of the season, on the back of an almost match winning performance last week. She was dominant in the first half, shooting 7/8 including two super shots. She also found shooting partner Donnell Wallam with ease, notching up seven goal assists from eight feeds all while only giving away one turnover.  

Moore’s poise under pressure was also displayed with her cleverly noting the clock and then using the post for a sideline self-goal assist to tie up the game before half-time. The confident performance will likely see her earn more court time over the coming weeks as coach Bec Bulley weighs up her preferred goal attack option, Moore or Mia Stower.


Emily Moore had a break out performance. Image Simon Leonard.


Match Reports


By Esther Nelson

In a loud and proud home game at Ken Rosewall Arena, the Swifts moved closer to regaining the Sargeant-McKinnis Cup. A classic New South Wales and Victoria battle, the Vixens had something to prove this week but fell short at the finish line. A third win for the Swifts moved them into second position on the ladder before next round’s NSW derby playing their cross-town rivals, the GIANTS. 

Surely Vixens’ coach Simone McKinnis will be asking her team for answers about their final quarter performance. Past performance shows the Vixens know how to close out games. But against the Swifts’ pressure in the last 15 minutes of the game their movement was stagnant and one-dimensional, missing the usual cuts and drives. The Swifts took advantage to win back some ball and swing the momentum to win by one goal.

What worked?

The Swifts had a slow start but managed to get five goals ahead of the visitors early in the second quarter. In the third quarter the Victorians took control and were up by eight goals at one point. However, the positional switches by Swifts coach, Briony Akle, to bring on Sophie Fawns to replace Romelda Aiken-George during the power five gave space to goal attack Helen Housby to sink three supershots and give the home team momentum going into the final quarter.

Early in the last quarter a steal by Housby from a stunned Liz Watson converted to a goal. This shifted the pressure back to the Vixens despite the home side being in chase mode. The defensive unit of Sarah Klau, Maddy Turner and Tayla Fraser worked hard to turn over ball and a beautiful and telegraphed intercept by Klau with seven minutes to go was her reward for a hard fought battle with Vixens goal shooter, Mwai Kumwenda.

Akle’s passion for her team was clearly on display as she gave words of encouragement during the strategic time outs and instructions directly to Fraser from the coach’s box. Poor Akle even had her face in her hands in the dying moments, heart in her mouth waiting to see if her Swifties would be victorious.

Where was the match won and lost?

The game was decided by the Swifts’ grit and determination not to give up. A special mention goes to Swifts player Allie Smith who came on with five minutes to go to replace goal defence, Maddy Turner. Turner was sandwiched between two Vixens players, Kate Eddy and Keira Austin, during play and came off the court with a bleeding nose. Not in her usual position, Smith stood up under the pressure. She stayed in play and worked with Klau to defend the Vixen shooters in the super shot zone. Her rebound of Kumwenda’s missed super shot with 47 seconds to go allowed the Swifts to regain possession while still in the lead. In their usual style, the Swifts played the ball around, winding down the clock until the buzzer went and they were victorious by one goal. 

Which players/combinations stood out?

Olivia Lewis was a standout in goal keeper, getting the start over Vixens stalwart Emily Mannix. Early on in the game Lewis managed to get some great wins over Swifts goal shooter, Romelda Aiken-George, using her vertical jump to reach the height of the towering Jamaican. Lewis finished the game with three intercepts and six deflections. A key intercept by Lewis in the last few seconds of the second quarter denied the lead to the Swifts. Lewis showed her obvious talent and has left some hard decisions on the starting goal keeper position for McKinnis.

Aiken-George had a shaky start with some missed shots directly under the post before gaining the rebound. Later in the game, buoyed by her team and the Red Army she stood up for the Swifts, not only pulling in balls to safely score goals but even going for a Gretel Bueta-style layup. Her combination with Housby and the rest of her team is growing each week, while she also looks more confident out on court. No doubt the encouragement of Akle has helped to bring Aiken-George back into form after a few quieter years at the Firebirds.

Maddy Proud was playing like she is ready for Diamonds selection, finishing with 32 feeds and 98.5 NNP. Housby also had a great game, encouraged by the home crowd. She finished the game with 81.5 NNP and 4 super shots. Their combined pressure in the midcourt helped the Swifts, especially during the final clutch moments.

Kate Eddy unusually kept Paige Hadley quiet for most of the game. Eddy finished the game with only four contact penalties, with two in the last quarter when the Vixens were under pressure.

The last few performances have demonstrated the Swifts’ ability to stand up for each other in the pressured moments and one wonders whether 2023 will be another premiership year for the team, especially once Sam Wallace is back in the mix. 


Shooting stats

Romelda Aiken-George 46/52 (89%)
Helen Housby 16/19 (84%)
Sophie Fawns 1/1 (100%)

Mwai Kumwenda 48/52 (92%)
Keira Austin 16/20 (80%)

MVP –  Romelda Aiken-George


Helen Housby sealed the match with a two point shot. Image: Danny Dalton | Tah Dah Sports


Paige Hadley setting the penalty. Image: Danny Dalton | Tah Dah Sports

Paige Hadley (Swifts) wanting to get on with the penalty quickly. Image: Danny Dalton | Tah Dah Sports


Allie Smith took the match winning rebound. Image: Danny Dalton | Tah Dah Sports

Allie Smith took the match winning rebound.  Image: Danny Dalton | Tah Dah Sports


Image: Danny Dalton | Tah Dah Sports

ANZAC Day service in Sydney. Image: Danny Dalton | Tah Dah Sports



By Ian Harkin

Queensland Firebirds claimed their first competition points for the 2023 season when they won a hard-fought clash with GIANTS Netball in Brisbane on Sunday. In what was at times a scrappy contest featuring 49 turnovers in all, the Firebirds hung on to win by 4 goals against a GIANTS team minus captain Jo Harten who left the court with a knee injury in the second quarter.

What worked?

After last week’s much-improved second half showing against Fever, Firebirds’ coach Bec Bulley rewarded those same players by naming them as her starting seven for this clash. That meant that Emily Moore got the start at goal attack, Macy Gardner was at centre, captain Kim Ravaillion at wing defence and former captain Gabi Simpson was relegated to the bench. And they started this game just as they had finished the week before. Pouncing on several GIANTS errors, Firebirds were out of the blocks quickly. At one stage in the first quarter, the home team led 15-7.

But their lead didn’t last. GIANTS worked their way back into the game. This was despite the loss of Harten who left the court after landing awkwardly midway through the second quarter. While some of their teammates were struggling, Sophie Dwyer and Maddie Hay held everything together in the attack end. The connection between the two of them worked well and by half time, GIANTS were back dead level at 33 all.

That was when Bulley introduced Mia Stower. This would have been a puzzling move to many as Emily Moore had a strong first half. But the change did work as Stower went on to play the role of dominant feeder. She scored just two goals in the entire second half as the whole plan of attack now centred around goal shooter Donnell Wallam. Wallam scored 23 goals in the first half, but 32 in the second as she became harder and harder to stop. Stower finished with a game-high 17 assists in just 30 minutes of action.

At three-quarter time, Firebirds led by three goals, but with GIANTS’ greater winning experience, and ability to land super shots, it was expected they would challenge strongly in the final quarter. This they did, but it was Wallam who had the final say, shooting 15/16 and scoring all her team’s goals in the final 15 minutes. Rather than play it safe, when GIANTS started sinking super shots, Wallam replied in kind, landing two of her own to seal the win. In all, Firebirds landed six 2-pointers, while GIANTS scored 13. But at 86 percent, Firebirds were far more accurate than their opponents (54 percent).

Where was the match won and lost?

In the last quarter, there were many nervous passes from the Firebirds. This was a team that wasn’t used to being in a winning position, and they were clearly lacking confidence in themselves. They gave GIANTS several chances to hit back, and heading into the last power play period, the game appeared set up for Dwyer and Matisse Letherbarrow to shoot their team to victory.

Enter Wallam with a magical piece of play. Leading by three, tight Firebirds midcourt defence pressured Amy Parmenter into making a loose pass back to the transverse line which Wallam gratefully intercepted. She passed to Stower, who then lobbed the ball into the circle for Wallam to run on to and proceed to do a layup. This exciting play lifted the whole Firebirds team (as well as the crowd) and gave them extra confidence to hold on for an exciting victory.  

Which players/combinations stood out?

Wallam was simply outstanding in this game. Not only did she play the holding shooter role to perfection, but when it was needed, she could land the longer shots too. In this match, she scored four super shots from as many attempts, which proved crucial in the face of a barrage of 2-point attempts from the opposition. In fact, she has now been successful with nine of her last 10 super shot attempts. Both goal attacks, Moore and Stower, offered something different and both played well.  

In the midcourt, Gardner started the match very well but faded slightly toward the end. However, she still showed more than enough to suggest she should continue to play a big part in the team from here on. At goal defence, Ruby Bakewell-Doran started and finished well, picking up five possession gains in all.

For GIANTS, Bakewell-Doran’s direct opponent, Dwyer, scored nine super shots in this game and was just a constant threat to the Firebirds team, as was Hay at wing attack. After a poor start with five first-half turnovers, centre Jamie-Lee Price worked her way into the match and played well in the second half. Meanwhile, Lauren Moore was brought on at goal keeper during the third quarter, and came up with three important plays for her team, suggesting she could see more court time in future. 


Shooting stats

Donnell Wallam 55/57 (97%)
Emily Moore 7/8 (88%)
Mia Stower 2/2 (100%)

Sophie Dwyer 26/33 (79%)
Matisse Letherbarrow 17/20 (85%)
Jo Harten 10/15 (67%)

MVP – Donnell Wallam


MVP Donnell Wallam pulls in a ball against April Brandley. Image Simon Leonard.


The Queensland Firebirds celebrate their first win of the 2023 season. Image: Simon Leonard

The Firebirds had a lot to celebrate after the match. Image: Simon Leonard


Sophie Dwyer attempts a Suncorp Supershot over defence from Remi Kamo. Image: Simon Leonard

Sophie Dwyer puts up a Super Shot over strong pressure from Firebirds defence. Image: Simon Leonard


Macy Gardner pulls in a ball against pressure from Amy Parmenter. Image Simon Leonard.



By Jenny Sinclair (originally published for Fox Sport/Newswire)

In an epic encounter, West Coast Fever and the Adelaide Thunderbirds delivered one of the games of the 2023 Super Netball season. In front of 7615 fans, both sides battled for ascendancy, but it wasn’t until the final heart-stopping seconds that the Thunderbirds came from behind to steal a one point victory. 

A defensive masterclass by the Thunderbirds proved to be the ultimate difference, stamping their claim as premiership contenders, and handing their opponents their first loss of the season. 

In the titanic all-Jamaican battle at one end, Thunderbirds’ defender Shamera Sterling took the first honours with an early intercept. While Sterling picked off four intercepts across the match, Jhaniele Fowler’s fingertip control was on display, as she went on a 51 goal scoring spree.

Fever roared out to a nine goal lead during the first term, until three supershots from match MVP Eleanor Cardwell put the Thunderbirds back into the game. 

With the best backline in the league, time and again the Thunderbirds’ defenders sent their team into attack. Their midcourters were generally clean with the ball, giving up just eight turnovers in the high pressure match.

Latanya Wilson was a menace through the midcourt, causing struggle-street for Fever’s Alice Teague-Neeld. The wing attack coughed up eight uncharacteristic errors, as Wilson hauled in five intercepts.

With the scores level in the third quarter, Fever coach Dan Ryan implored his troops to shut down the opposition. 

He said during a timeout, “This needs to be a shift in work rate from all of you, they are coming and we need to stop them.

“We are getting outworked.”

Fever looked tired in the final quarter, after two consecutive long haul trips. As leads to the ball dried up, the Thunderbirds were still full of running. Fever were unable to keep English international Cardwell out of scoring distance. She went on a rampage in the last few minutes, putting up four two pointers to seal the game on the buzzer. 

It was a disappointing result for Fever stalwart Verity Simmons, who ran out her 150th national league game, and for Dan Ryan’s 50th match as coach.


In reaching his 50th national league game, coach Dan Ryan has recorded two very different experiences. At his former club, the Thunderbirds, Ryan limped to a one win, 27 loss record. 

Conversely at the Fever, he has 17 wins for just 5 losses at a 77 per cent success rate. 


Adelaide Thunderbird Latanya Wilson has been weaving her magic at wing defence this season. Having shut down the two best wing attacks in the league in recent weeks, teams should be wary of her at the Netball World Cup. 


Shooting stats

Jhaniele Fowler 51/53 (96%)
Sasha Glasgow 8/9 (89%)

Eleanor Cardwell 41/48 (85%)
Tippah Dwan 14/19 (74%)

MVP – Eleanor Cardwell


It’s a go, Thunderbirds. Image Martin Poole/Speedlite Photography


Cardwell sinks the winning shot. Image Martin Poole/Speedlite Photography


Rudi Ellis pulls in one of four rebounds. Image Martin Poole/Speedlite Photography


Shamera Sterling and Jhaniele Fowler in action. Image Martin Poole/Speedlite Photography



By Georgia Doyle (Originally published by Fox Netball)

In a game they’d like to forget, Collingwood Magpies were handed a 15 point thrashing by a dominant Sunshine Coast Lightning.

Collingwood’s Sophie Garbin was kept scoreless until the 33 minute mark in Super Netball’s inaugural ANZAC day match. With the Australian squad announced in two days, her lapse in form, scoring only two of seven, will be concerning for selectors. 

Garbin was forced to the bench, with MVP Karla Pretorius putting immense pressure on her from the get go, forcing three turnovers and five missed shots in just 30 minutes. Pretorius also had impressive numbers of her own, with 10 gains and just three penalties. 

Conversely Steph Wood was phenomenal for Lightning, attacking the scoreboard with 14 from 21 including five super shots, having only shot five in as many games this season. 

Collingwood head coach Nicole Richardson had a strong focus on trying to quell Wood’s influence.

“Shut down Steph’s first phase, when we shut her down [Ash] Braz wins ball,” she implored during an early time out. 

However, with Ash Brazill busy trying to win ball, Lightning had oodles of room in attack. It allowed Laura Scherian to run rampant, as Magpies were looking for screaming intercepts rather than doing the hard yakka to shut her down. 

Fighting until the very end, Collingwood were contesting every chance they had, but were on the wrong side of the whistle with 60 penalties compared to Lightning’s 32. 

Jodi-Ann Ward came alive for Collingwood in the third quarter when she no longer had Wood to worry about. But it was too late, her three defensive wins couldn’t be capitalised on as the Magpies were forced to take long shots that just weren’t sinking. 

In a last ditch attempt to make inroads on the scoreboard, Richardson benched Kelsey Browne for the first time this season, as Collingwood wanted maximal defensive pressure across the court.

This switch pushed Ward out to wing defence, and saw Jacqui Newton enter the game. A change Richardson praised after the game.

“I think shuffling that defence end, so Jacqui can come on and win ball for us worked well. Jodi also plays in wing defence for Jamaica and causes some damage internationally, so I was happy with what that produced” she said post match.

Having led by as much as 20, Lighting also emptied their bench to provide on-court experience to their rookie players, as the team now rockets into the top four.

Facing a fired up Thunderbirds side next week, Collingwood have clear targets for the remainder of the season.

“We need to make sure we have a positive win-loss ratio in these last eight matches. We don’t lose sight of wanting to play finals, there’s a lot of twists and turns in the next eight rounds. The season is so close, so we’ve gotta stay positive and make sure we’re up for the challenge each game, play consistent 60 minutes and get results on the board” Richardson said after the game.


Completing the trio of Melbourne ANZAC matches, Super Netball held its first game on ANZAC Day since the league’s inception. Joining forces with their football counterparts, Collingwood Magpies and Melbourne Storm, the netballers donned special kits for the occasion. With Collingwood AFL hosting the contest every year, time will tell if Super Netball follow suit.

Australian Diamonds squad selection is two days away, and with some recent shaky performances Sophie Garbin may be nervous. Her accuracy currently sits at just 66 percent, and she has the second most turnovers in the league. While unlikely to be left out of the squad, will her previous form be enough for Stacey Marinkovich to choose her for a ticket to Cape Town?

100 CLUB

Sunshine Coast Lightning marked their 100th club match with an emphatic win, showing why they are Australia’s most successful start-up elite sporting club. They formed in 2017, and have appeared in five consecutive finals series, including back to back premierships in their first two years. 


Shooting stats

Shimona Nelson 40/45 (89%)
Kelly Singleton 4/12 (33%)
Sophie Garbin 2/7 (29%)

Cara Koenen 39/40 (98%)
Steph Wood 14/20 (70%)
Charlie Bell 7/9 (78%)

MVP – Karla Pretorius


Steph Wood weaved her magic in the ANZAC day clash with the Magpies. Image: Shaun Sharp/Moments by Shaun


Kadie-Ann Dehaney deflects a ball over Kelsey Browne. Image: Shaun Sharp/Moments by Shaun


ANZAC Day clash between Magpies and Lightning. Image: Shaun Sharp/Moments by Shaun


Annie Miller had another strong game. Image: Shaun Sharp/Moments by Shaun



(Team . Pts . %)

Fever . 20 . 110.5%
Thunderbirds . 18 . 116.3%
Swifts . 14 . 96.3%
Lightning . 12 . 103.48%

Vixens . 12 . 99.2%
GIANTS . 8 . 95.5%
Magpies . 8 . 92.05%
Firebirds . 4 . 91.6%


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, Apr 29 – 5.00pm – Vixens v Firebirds
Sat, Apr 29 – 7:00pm – GIANTS v Swifts
Sun, Apr 30 – 2:00pm – Lightning v Fever
Sun, Apr 30 – 4:00pm – Thunderbirds v Magpies (3:30pm local time)

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