NS Scoreboard: SSN Round 13 2024

NS Scoreboard: SSN Round 13 2024

Writers: Andrew Kennedy, Jenny Sinclair, Ian Harkin, Elly McNerney, Georgia Doyle, Katrina Nissen 

Photographers: Danny Dalton, Aliesha Vicars, Joshua Collins

Cover Photo: Danny Dalton



Melbourne Mavericks 55 def GIANTS Netball 54

Sunshine Coast Lightning 83 def Queensland Firebirds 67

West Coast Fever 68 def Melbourne Vixens 67

Adelaide Thunderbirds 60 def NSW Swifts 48


No one was happier than Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard after the win. Image Aliesha Vicars




Sam Winders (Giants) played her 150th national league game. 

Eleanor Cardwell (Mavericks) played her 150th national league game.




Kim Jenner (Mavericks) dislocated her finger during the game, but was able to return to court.

After a massive collision and fall late in the game, Amy Sligar (Giants) left the court immediately holding her wrist. 

Hannah Mundy was ruled out of the game against the Fever due to a minor quad injury. 


Kim Jenner is attended to by Mavericks medical team after dislocating a finger. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports





News of the Week


In a midweek Instagram post, Donnell Wallam revealed that she’d received a spiteful, racist letter referring back to the Hancock Prospecting saga two years ago. The netball community was quick to rally around Wallam and condemn the abuse, and the Firebirds have committed to a review about how mail received by the club is screened. Players will be involved in the review. While Wallam showed incredible strength and dignity in dealing with the letter, no athlete should ever receive such toxic abuse. It’s to be hoped that further investigations reveal the sender who is appropriately dealt with, but that doesn’t change the harm that has been done to Wallam. 

After an emotional week, Wallam wore paint on her face during the Firebirds First Nations round match against Lightning. The meaning behind the paint was to “empower women to speak out.” 


An emotional Donnell Wallam pre-game. Image Joshua Collins


The Giants-Mavericks clash was the most physical Super Netball match so far this year, with a number of questionable decisions – or lack thereof – creating some noise. Amy Sligar was sent flying by an Eleanor Cardwell block, Kristiana Manu’a muscled her way around the circle, and then in the last minute of the game, with Kim Jenner chasing a ball she’d deflected, Sligar ran full tilt into her. It was one of the biggest hits seen in netball with both players sent sprawling to the ground, yet there wasn’t a penalty called, let alone the match stopped to attend to the players’ wellbeing or a concussion check done. While it’s a tough gig being an umpire, game management was lacking. 


El Cardwell trying to chase down Amy Sligar. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports


Thunderbirds have hit the top of the ladder after their 12 point win over the NSW Swifts. Caught in a three way log-jam on points with the Vixens and Fever, the Thunderbirds hold down top spot courtesy of their percentage, with Vixens in 2nd, just 1.5% ahead of Fever. Meanwhile, the race for fourth has narrowed to just two clubs – Lightning and Mavericks. The ladder, locations and make-ups of the finals won’t be known until the last game of Round 14, which should mean some bumper crowds and ratings to see how it all unfolds. 


Allie Smith and Georgie Horjus try to get hands to the ball. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports


Round 13 was the second First Nations round, set to coincide with NAIDOC week. However, it wasn’t without controversy, with the Mavericks a no-show at the Giants smoking ceremony pre-game because it didn’t suit their prematch routine. Held 90 minutes before hand, Tracey Neville said, “We apologise for that, we didn’t want to disrespect it in any way, we just found out quite late and hoped to be able to change the time. Our warm up and pre game time is really important – we have a lot of people in our team that need strapping and treatment.”


Smoking ceremony before the Giants-Mavericks clash. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports


The Australian Netball Championships will take place in August, although disappointingly will only be contested by four teams. After competing in the Super Netball Reserves, many states didn’t have the financial resources to attend both events. The Black Swans, Australia’s inaugural national Indigenous team, will be one of the four teams competing. 


Is it time for the Firebirds to look at a new home? They’ve had full houses most of the year, with their most recent home crowd of 4788 a venue record for Nissan Arena. Meanwhile, there was a record regular season crowd of 9035 at John Cain Arena for the Vixens’ clash with Fever, while all other stadiums have also been packing in the crowds with Fever hitting over 11 000 a few rounds ago. Netball is booming when it comes to attendance. 


Mitch Tambo and the Voice of LeLe took centre stage in Queensland. Image Joshua Collins


Super Netball Reserves

Firebirds 57 def Lightning 45

Fever 64 def Vic Fury 53

Swifts 73 def Thunderbirds 61



The rookies


While Donnell Wallam was understandably not at her best, teammate Emily Moore’s long range shooting was on fire. She stepped up with 12/15, but of those 7 from 9 were supershots. 


Vixens rookie duo Zara Walters and Lily Graham were instrumental in the Vixens mini comeback in the second quarter. Graham came on for Sophie Garbin before the Power Five and scored 4/5 Super Shots to slash the margin back to one goal going into the main break. She kept her spot for much of the second half, with only a brief stint on the bench and ended the match with 17 goals, including six super shots and not a single turnover. Walters stepped up in the absence of Hannah Mundy, finishing the game with 48 feeds and 28 goal assists with only one turnover, acting as a calming presence in the Vixens midcourt. 


Emily Moore had another strong night under the post, finishing with 7 supershots. Image Joshua Collins


Zara Walters had an exceptional game for the Vixens. Image Aliesha Vicars



Diamonds watch


With a busy international season ahead, youngster Georgie Horjus is putting her hand up for a Diamonds’ debut. With one game in hand, she is already topping her own season averages for centre receives, feeds and assists while also lessening her turnover total. If she keeps on this trajectory and with her game smarts, she is a possible candidate to replace the internationally retired Steph Fretwell. 


Meanwhile, the race for precious attacking midcourt spots is intriguing. While captain Liz Watson is a lock, Kate Moloney continues a stellar season, and in her match against the Fever finished with 24 feeds, 1 intercept and just 1 turnover. Jamie Lee-Price has been strong in a struggling side, finishing the round with 28 feeds, and 1 intercept and 1 turnover. It was a rare quieter day for Paige Hadley, who had 16 feeds, but coughed up 5 turnovers while pulling in 2 intercepts.

With young players like Hannah Mundy and Horjus breathing down their necks for the future, the incumbent midcourt will need to be on their toes. 


GIANTS centre Jamie Lee-Price finished against the Mavericks with the highest NNP across the court with 122.5. Image – Danny Dalton | TahDah Sports



The shooting circle


After struggling to get their supershot strategy sorted for much of the season, Lightning finally got it right in their match against the Firebirds. Steph Fretwell and Reilley Batcheldor landed four apiece, while Cara Koenen kept the one point game ticking over with 55/60. Fretwell’s eleven one point shots landed at a perfect 100%.


Cara Koenen had one of her best games under the post this year. Image Joshua Collins


Goal attack Lauren Frew had possibly her best game of the year for Thunderbirds in their win over Swifts; 10 assists and 10/11. Coach Tania Obst must surely have been tempted to leave her on court for longer, but she stuck to the plan that she has been using all season and replaced her during the third quarter, with Georgie Horjus taking over at goal attack and Laura Scherian coming on at wing attack. It has worked well until now, so why change? 


Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard continues to put huge numbers up for Fever – she finished with 60/61 against a stellar Vixens defensive line. 


Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard get the shot away against Emily Mannix. Image – Aliesha Vicars.


Lauren Frew looks on at the smoking ceremony before the Swifts-Thunderbirds game. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports



The midcourt


The Lightning midcourt was in sparkling form, with Liz Watson and MVP Leesa Mi Mi combining for 88 feeds. The duo were a little expensive with a combined 10 turnovers, although Mi Mi was able to retrieve two gains. Mahalia Cassidy chimed in with a further two gains and Ava Black one.


Despite playing in a losing side, Zara Walters had an extraordinary game for Vixens, and her combination with Kate Moloney was almost enough to get their team over the line. Walters finished the match with 28 assists and Moloney 12, with the pair only having three general play turnovers between them.  


Maddy Proud was a shining light in a losing Swifts side. She finished with 38 feeds and 25 centre pass receives. Much of her game time was spent against the formidable Latty Wilson. 


Maddy Proud had a strong game through the middle. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports



The defenders


Rinse and repeat. Thunderbirds defenders were at it again, combining for 15 possession gains between the back three. On this occasion, it was Shamera Sterling-Humphrey who dominated with nine gains of her own and 10 deflections.


Thunderbirds defence putting the Swifts shooters under pressure. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports


Has Fever settled on their best defensive combination? Against Vixens, they played with Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Fran Williams in the circle and Sunday Aryang at wing defence. This worked well, with Dehaney especially having a strong game, putting Sophie Garbin under enormous pressure. 


Kadie-Ann Dehaney pulling in one of her seven gains against the Vixens. Image Aliesha Vicars


The resurgence of Kim Jenner has been one of the stories of the year. After struggling for court time at the Fever, she’s been given a new start at the Mavericks. In the past, she’s been known to be too reckless when it came to giving away penalties, and she still has games like that from time to time. In one particularly bad match this year, she was replaced before half time, and it’s clear that coach Tracey Neville had a long talk with her after that match. She has been much improved since, and has been one of Mavericks’ best in their debut season. Against the Giants, she came up with several crucial plays. The most notable was just before full time when Giants were looking for the match-winning goal, but instead, Jenner provided the match-winning deflection.





There was a noticeable shift in strategy for Fever coach Dan Ryan in the crucial match against Vixens. Up to this point, Ryan has stuck solid with a rotation policy and giving all ten players court time. For the most part, he has used Kelsey Browne and Jordan Cransberg in the centre position. But after suffering losses in recent matches, Ryan made a switch this round. 

In order to let Dehaney, Williams, and Aryang take the back three defensive positions, captain Jess Anstiss took over at centre and remained there for the duration. Speaking post match Ryan praised his captain, who was a strong and unflappable presence in both defence and attack. In fact, the only positional changes Ryan made throughout the match was at goal attack, with Shanice Beckford and Olivia Wilkinson sharing that position. Neither Browne nor Cransberg got on court during the match.


The Beckford/Wilkinson conundrum is an interesting one. Beckford plays an extraordinary and elusive game, with a crucial connection with Jamaican teammate Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard. However, her shot continues to falter as defenders pile on the pressure over it. Wilkinson has a more reliable shot from distance and valuable height, but the young player doesn’t yet have the attacking nous and experience of Beckford. Either way, as a former goal attack, Ryan has the ability to get the best out of his two charges.


The other coach who has consistently given all ten players court time, is Thunderbirds’ Tania Obst. She continued with this strategy in round 13, but it will be interesting to see what moves she makes if things get tight in the finals.    


Shanice Beckford has been in impressive attacking form for the Fever, but her radar has been off in goals recently. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports



Stat of the week


After a crucial Round 13, Thunderbirds have climbed to the top of the ladder. Three teams, Thunderbirds, Vixens, and Fever are all level on 40 points, but the Adelaide team has a commanding lead over the other two teams on percentage. If the three teams end the season level on points, Thunderbirds are assured of first place. In that case, the big battle will be between Vixens and Fever for second spot. Vixens play first next week, followed by Fever, with Thunderbirds playing in the final game of the regular season.

So what exactly is this “percentage” that’s used as a tie-breaker for teams on level points in Super Netball? It can be explained in this way. Percentage is the number of goals a team scores for every 100 goals they concede. Thunderbirds’ percentage after Round 13 is 122.85, so this means that they score roughly 123 goals for every 100 that are scored against them. 

One way that percentage is quite different to goal difference is that it tends to favour strong defensive teams, and there’s certainly no better defence in the competition than Thunderbirds. For example, a 60-40 win is better for a team’s percentage than an 80-60 win, even though the margin is 20 goals in both.  

Just as Thunderbirds have a big advantage over Vixens and Fever, Lightning also holds a commanding percentage lead over Mavericks in the battle for fourth. If both teams finish level on points, Lightning will take that spot. Mavericks actually have a lower percentage than Swifts who are two places below them on the ladder. 

Percentage after Round 13:
Thunderbirds – 122.85%
Vixens – 111.04%
Fever – 109.54%
Lightning – 101.70%
Mavericks – 91.58%
Firebirds – 90.97%
Swifts – 92.02%
Giants – 88.06%

Shimona Jok shoots under pressure. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports



Coaches Corner


While the Swifts may have lost to the Thunderbirds, the margin was an improvement against the in-form team of the competition (Vixens and Fever have lost to the Thunderbirds recently by 15 and 18 points respectively). Speaking post match Swifts coach Briony Akle acknowledged how difficult the game and the season has been. 

“I’m really disappointed. We were in there, with three and five point differences. When you’ve had a season like we’ve had, you dig deeper for one percenters, two percenters.”

She went on to say, “I know they are a great group of athletes who’ve gone through a rough time. They will come out the other side, they are too good not to. They are champion players that will rebound and we are excited by that.”


Exchange of gifts before the Swifts-Thunderbirds game. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports



The games


Giants v Mavericks

Mavericks kept their finals chances alive with another dramatic victory, 55-54 over the Giants at Ken Rosewall Arena. While the match was close throughout, both on the scoreboard and statistically, it was also a scrappy and niggly encounter with 53 changes of possession, 122 penalties, and some highly controversial incidents. In the final minute, MVP Kim Jenner came up with the winning defensive play, deflecting the ball to gain possession for Mavericks, just before being hit by Amy Sligar. It was a dramatic collision that saw both players end up sprawled on the floor outside the court. Play was not stopped, instead it carried on down court and Cardwell scored what would be the winning goal. For Mavericks, Maisie Nankivell finished the game with 20 assists, while Jamie-Lee Price was Giants’ best.


Bench official before the Giants/Mavericks game. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports


Firebirds v Lightning

Lightning edged back ahead of Mavericks on the ladder once again, with a commanding 83-67 win over Firebirds in Brisbane. Lightning really stamped their authority on the game in the second quarter, winning it by 10 goals, and when they were up by 14 at the half time break, the match was almost over as a contest. Firebirds were more competitive in the second half, but the damage had been done. The attacking players for Lightning combined well all game as the team notched its highest ever score. Cara Koenen was dominant at goal shooter with 55/60. Of the two First Nations athletes in the match, Lightning midcourter Leesa Mi Mi certainly had the better of things and she was rewarded with the match MVP. After a tough week off the court, Donnell Wallam struggled for accuracy on court, especially from two-point range where she shot 1/7. In an ominous sign for the rest of the competition, Courtney Bruce appeared to be just finding top form after an injury-interrupted season. 


Welcome to Country before the Firebirds-Lightning game. Image Joshua Collins


Vixens v Fever

Fever managed to edge out the Vixens by a solitary goal, 68-67 in a tight tussle in Melbourne. Vixens welcomed back versatile defender Kate Eddy, but she only got 15 minutes of court time in favour of the tall trio of Rudi Ellis, Emily Mannix and Jo Weston who did a better job against Fever’s attacking unit. Sophie Garbin spent some rare time on the bench, finishing with only 14 goals and four turnovers from her 24 minutes of court time and Kiera Austin struggled at times, rattled by the arms over pressure from Fever. Lily Graham was the home town hero, nailing 17 from 25 with six super shots from when she was injected to the game just before the half time break. Kadie-Ann Dehaney had a tremendous game for Fever, but for a period, Graham’s speed in the goal circle had her looking lost. Fever’s full court defensive pressure was paramount during the game, picking up 14 gains, and attack was clinical as they scored off 11 of those. Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard was reliable as ever scoring 60/61 to earn MVP honours. 


The Vixens dress explained. Image Aliesha Vicars


Both the Fever and the Vixens tried to own the middle channel. Image Aliesha Vicars


Swifts v Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds climbed to the top of the ladder with a strong 60-48 win over Swifts in Sydney. The score was relatively tight at quarter time (15-12), but Thunderbirds gradually gained control as the match wore on. MVP was Shamera Sterling-Humphrey with nine possession gains, and as per usual, she, along with Matilda Garrett and Latanya Wilson, piled on the pressure in the Swifts attacking third. Swifts’ shooters finished the match with a combined 43/65 at 66% and this was never going to cut it. In a losing team, Maddy Proud tried her heart out all game. Georgie Horjus again starred in attack for Thunderbirds with 40 feeds and 22 assists. So, Thunderbirds now have their destiny in their own hands. Win next week at home and they get to host the major semi-final, and then a possible grand final awaits, also at home. So far this year, they are six from six at home with an average winning margin of 17.5 goals!  


Welcome To Country before the Swifts-Thunderbirds game. Image Danny Dalton/Tah Dah Sports




Team / Pld / Pts / %
1 . THUNDERBIRDS . 13 . 40 . 122.9
2 . VIXENS . 13 . 40 . 111.0
3 . FEVER . 13 . 40 . 109.5
4 . LIGHTNING . 13 . 24 . 101.7

5 . MAVERICKS . 13 . 24 . 91.6
6 . FIREBIRDS 13. 16. 91.0
7 . SWIFTS. 13 . 12 . 92.0
8 . GIANTS . 13 . 12 . 88.1



Final Round

Sat, Jul 13 – 5:00 pm – FIREBIRDS v VIXENS
Sat, Jul 13 – 7:00 pm – FEVER v MAVERICKS (5pm local time)
Sun, Jul 14 – 2:00 pm – GIANTS v SWIFTS
Sun, Jul 14 – 4:00 pm – THUNDERBIRDS v LIGHTNING (3:30pm local time)


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