What an interesting opening round we saw in Suncorp Super Netball for 2023. Upsets, thrillers, big wins, some new faces, and didn’t the Jamaicans dominate! Now it’s on to round 2.
In Australia, the matches will be broadcast on Fox Sports and Kayo. In New Zealand, the matches will be shown on Spark Sport. And in the Pacific Islands, two games of each round will be shown on PacificAus TV. Elsewhere in the world, you can stream all the games on Netball Australia TV. You can also follow live scoring and statistics thanks to Champion Data.
Before we get on to this week’s games, check out our wrap of Round one.
QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS v SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING
Nissan Arena, Saturday, Mar 25, 4pm AEST
(7pm NZ, 5pm AEDT, 4:30pm SA, 2pm WA, 6am UK)
These two teams come into this all-Queensland battle on the back of very contrasting results last week. After seven years, Firebirds are still yet to win a round one match in Super Netball. And unfortunately, the match went largely to script for the team, as they won the first quarter, then fell away from there. It was a different story for Lightning. They started well, and just continued to power on against a GIANTS team which was admittedly weakened by injury.
For Firebirds, the loss of Gretel Bueta was definitely noticeable. The new combination of Donnell Wallam and Mia Stower struggled, with 19 total turnovers between them. It was Stower’s first outing as first choice goal attack, and it was a tough assignment against the powerful Thunderbirds defence.
It doesn’t get a whole lot easier this week either against Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Karla Pretorius. Dehaney had an absolute ball last week, relishing the rare opportunity to be starting goal keeper, and Pretorius was back, menacing the opposition from goal defence as only she can. In Lightning team news, Shannon Eagland has been brought into the Lightning team as injury replacement this week. If she plays, she’s likely to slot into wing defence.
The efforts of Ruby Bakewell-Doran and Remi Kamo was one highlight for Firebirds in round one. This pair, so used to playing together at State League level, proved to be very effective together at Super Netball level too, picking up a combined 12 possession gains. They will now come up against the very in-form Lightning shooting partnership of Cara Koenen and Steph Wood. This duo was unstoppable against the hapless GIANTS defence, with support from Laura Scherian and Annie Miller, who had the most feeds in the league last week.
These teams have met 13 times previously. Lightning is leading 8-4 with one draw. On form, they will be heavily favoured to take this match out too. They would simply be looking to continue where they left off last week, whereas Firebirds will need to improve considerably, especially in attack. They scored just 44 goals in round one, the first time they’ve failed to reach 50 since the opening round of 2020. Their opponents on that occasion? Sunshine Coast Lightning.
Shooters – Donnell Wallam, Mia Stower, Emily Moore
Midcourt – Lara Dunkley, Kim Ravaillion, Gabi Simpson, Macy Gardner
Defence – Ruby Bakewell-Doran, Remi Kamo, Ash Unie
Shooters – Cara Koenen, Steph Wood, Charlie Bell
Midcourt – Laura Scherian, Mahalia Cassidy, Annie Miller, Shannon Eagland
Defence – Karla Pretorius, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Ashleigh Ervin
ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS v NSW SWIFTS
Netball SA Stadium, Saturday, Mar 25, 6:30pm SA time
(9pm NZ, 7pm AEDT, 6pm AEST, 4pm WA, 8am UK)
It’s off to Adelaide for another match featuring two teams with contrasting fortunes in round one. The Thunderbirds’ defence was dominant in Brisbane. Shamera Sterling was simply outstanding; 11 gains, five intercepts, 12 deflections, four rebounds, seven pickups, for a record Nissan Net Points score of 158. She was well supported by Matilda Garrett and Latanya Wilson.
But defence is not the problem for this team. It’s converting the opportunities that they provide, that has been a problem. Early on, it looked like that might continue, as shooters Lucy Austin and Eleanor Cardwell struggled. But Cardwell gradually settled into the game when she moved to goal shooter and Tippah Dwan was brought on at goal attack. The battle between Cardwell, and Swifts goal keeper Sarah Klau will be crucial in this game.
Swifts were far from disgraced in their round one loss. They were just simply caught out by a strong Magpies display. All 10 players were tried, but nobody really stood out. Maddy Proud for one, never stopped trying, but even she was a bit quiet by her very lofty standards of last season. Her battle with Tayla Williams will be one to watch this week. Williams starred at centre in round one after originally starting on the bench.
Everything will need to be spot on in the Swifts attack end this week, with Sterling ready to pounce. Romelda Aiken-George played her first game in red last week and Swifts will be hoping that her combination with Helen Housby continues to improve. Housby did a good job of trying to hold things together last week.
This is a great game in prospect with so many good match ups. After their respective efforts in round one, the locals are favoured to win here. But surely an improved Swifts showing is on the cards. And history isn’t on the Thunderbirds’ side. These two teams have met 12 times in Super Netball, and the Adelaide club has won just once, with one draw.
Shooters – Lucy Austin, Eleanor Cardwell, Tippah Dwan
Midcourt – Georgie Horjus, Tayla Williams, Hannah Petty, Maisie Nankivell
Defence – Latanya Wilson, Shamera Sterling, Matilda Garrett
Shooters – Romelda Aiken-George, Helen Housby, Sophie Fawns
Midcourt – Paige Hadley, Maddy Proud, Allie Smith, Tayla Fraser
Defence – Maddy Turner, Sarah Klau, Teigan O’Shannassy
GIANTS NETBALL v WEST COAST FEVER
Ken Rosewall Arena, Sunday, Mar 26, 2pm AEDT
(4pm NZ, 1:30pm SA, 1pm AEST, 11am WA, 4am UK)
It was certainly a sobering start for GIANTS in Super Netball for 2023. Hampered by injuries, they were beaten soundly away by Lightning. Now, they get to come back home, but they face the daunting task of trying to defeat the defending premiers. In their game, Fever always seemed to hold the upper hand but were challenged strongly by Vixens in the last quarter and only managed to sneak home by one.
Missing two regular starters in shooter and captain Jo Harten and wing attack Maddie Hay, GIANTS looked out of sorts for large parts of their game against Lightning and lost by 16 goals. Most of the talk was about their missing captain, but in some ways, they missed having a solid option at wing attack more. This week brings good news as both Harten and Hay are back in the line-up, so they’re back to full strength.
Jamie-Lee Price was tremendous against Lightning, but she was almost like a lone hand, and she’ll be delighted to get some help in the attack end this time. As is always the case, if GIANTS are to defeat Fever, they will have to cut down on general play turnovers and find some way of disrupting the ball getting into the circle.
Champion goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler was a standout again for Fever with 55/55, but a lot of the credit for their win should go to Alice Teague-Neeld who finished the match with 39 feeds, 20 assists, and just one turnover. Despite not being at their absolute best last week, getting over the line in that game will give the team great confidence as they head to Sydney.
With those two big ins, GIANTS have to give themselves a chance now. Especially as they have a good record against the team from the west. In 14 matches between these two teams, they actually lead the head-to-head 8-5, with one match drawn. There’s also a history of very close matches between these two, although that wasn’t the case in their last clash when Fever won quite comfortably in the highest scoring Super Netball game ever (163 goals).
Shooters – Jo Harten, Sophie Dwyer, Matisse Letherbarrow
Midcourt – Maddie Hay, Jamie-Lee Price, Amy Parmenter, Amy Sligar
Defence – April Brandley, Matilda McDonell, Lauren Moore
Shooters – Jhaniele Fowler, Sasha Glasgow, Emma Cosh
Midcourt – Alice Teague-Neeld, Verity Simmons, Jess Anstiss
Defence – Sunday Aryang, Courtney Bruce, Kim Jenner, Rudi Ellis
COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES v MELBOURNE VIXENS
John Cain Arena, Sunday, Mar 26, 4pm AEDT
(6pm NZ, 3:30pm SA, 3pm AEST, 1pm WA, 6am UK)
This promises to be a beauty. It’s the Melbourne derby and it’s so hard to pick. Magpies are coming off a strong win over Swifts, in what was one of their most impressive performances in recent times. Vixens are coming off a loss. But what a loss. So near and yet so far, as they went down to Fever in the dying seconds in Perth. Both games were very encouraging for both sets of fans.
Magpies were so impressive as a team, but it all started from the back. Jodi-Ann Ward had a match to remember. Right from the very start, she was picking off intercepts and deflections for fun. And who was there helping her but Geva Mentor. This duo provided the Magpies with so much ball. In the shooting circle, Shimona Nelson shone with 53/53, but perhaps the best news was the performance of Sophie Garbin, who played probably her best game at goal attack for Collingwood.
In great news for Vixens, they welcome back star goal defence Jo Weston this week. That is a big boost, especially considering how close they got to the champions in her absence last week. In other team news, young shooter Emily Andrew, who is 190cm tall, has also been elevated to the team this week to cover for Rahni Samason.
The shining light for Vixens last week was Kate Moloney who was as solid as ever. Kiera Austin and Olivia Lewis also played strongly. Liz Watson on the other hand, had one of her quietest games in some time. A below par 17 goal assists and unfortunately six turnovers to go with them. We should expect a bounce back from Watson in a big derby game like this.
There are tremendous battles all over the court in this match. It should be a terrific game to watch for neutrals. The overall record between these two teams stands at 8-5 in favour of Vixens, with last year’s matches split. It’s so hard to know just which way this one will go. And that’s a good thing.
Shooters – Shimona Nelson, Sophie Garbin, Kelly Singleton
Midcourt – Kelsey Browne, Molly Jovic, Ash Brazill, Maddie Hinchliffe
Defence – Jodi-Ann Ward, Geva Mentor, Jacqui Newton
Shooters – Mwai Kumwenda, Kiera Austin, Emily Andrew
Midcourt – Liz Watson, Kate Moloney, Kate Eddy, Hannah Mundy
Defence – Jo Weston, Emily Mannix, Olivia Lewis