Last round’s results left a 12 point gap between fourth and fifth, meaning the top four is close to being settled. Still a lot to play for though, especially with positions in that top four up for grabs. The big news this week involves a team not in the playoff race, with reports that Collingwood is considering pulling out of Super Netball. How will that affect their performance in round 10?
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 nine
GIANTS NETBALL v SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING
Ken Rosewall Arena, Saturday, May 20, 5pm AEST
(7pm NZ, 4:30pm SA, 3pm WA, 8am UK)
Round ten kicks off with what is the absolute last chance for these two teams if they want to make finals. Both on 12 points, GIANTS and Lightning need to keep winning and also hope other results go their way. But only one of them can win this one. The loser can definitely say goodbye to finals this year. Last week, GIANTS had a comfortable win over Magpies, while Lightning lost a one-goal thriller against Melbourne Vixens. The head to head record between these two teams is 10-4 in favour of Lightning with one match drawn.
Lightning won convincingly in round one when GIANTS were without both Jo Harten and Maddie Hay. Steph Wood, Cara Koenen and Kadie-Ann Dehaney all had big games on that occasion. Harten is on the side lines again currently. In last week’s match, her replacement Matisse Letherbarrow put in an impressive display, while centre Jamie-Lee Price combined beautifully with wing attack Hay in the midcourt. That is one area that GIANTS would be hoping to get on top of Lightning in this match.
For Lightning, they will still be rueing their horrid start last week. Trailing 17-6 at quarter time, they fought back well before losing in devastating fashion at the death. It was Wood who led the comeback, including shooting five super shots in the last quarter. She will be a vital player in the attack end for Lightning again here. In defence, it was Karla Pretorius who came up with some terrific plays, including an intercept in the closing minutes that gave Lightning their chance. Her battle with Sophie Dwyer will be crucial. Hard to choose a winner in this one.
Shooters – Sophie Dwyer, Matisse Letherbarrow, Ang Frketic
Midcourt – Maddie Hay, Jamie-Lee Price, Amy Parmenter, Amy Sligar
Defence – April Brandley, Matilda McDonell, Lauren Moore
Shooters – Cara Koenen, Steph Wood, Charlie Bell
Midcourt – Laura Scherian, Mahalia Cassidy, Annie Miller, Ava Black
Defence – Karla Pretorius, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Ash Ervin
MELBOURNE VIXENS v ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS
John Cain Arena, Saturday, May 20, 7pm AEST
(9pm NZ, 6:30pm SA, 5pm WA, 10am UK)
This should be a cracker. It’s fourth-placed Melbourne Vixens hosting competition leaders Adelaide Thunderbirds in a match that will have a big bearing on spots in the top four. If Vixens lose, they will give hope to the winner of the GIANTS v Lightning match, but if they win, they will all but seal their spot in the finals. Thunderbirds will just want to keep winning to retain that top spot. The head-to-head between these two teams in Super Netball is 9-4 in Vixens’ favour, but their last clash in round five was won in convincing fashion by Thunderbirds.
The defensive pressure exerted by Shamera Sterling, Matilda Garrett and Latanya Wilson restricted Vixens to just 50 goals, clearly their lowest score of the season, with all three defenders outplaying their opponents. Liz Watson was kept in check by Wilson with just 16 goal assists. In the four matches since, she has had a return to form with 28, 33, 26 and 21 assists. Shooters Mwai Kumwenda and Kiera Austin have both also been in sparkling form recently, with Austin nailing super shot winners two weeks in a row. The clash in the Vixens’ goal circle will be pivotal in the match.
In that round five clash, Thunderbirds were able to capitalise on their defensive gains through the excellent work of Georgie Horjus and Eleanor Cardwell. Horjus had 20 assists while Cardwell shot 35/38 including 5/6 from the super shot zone. They will come up against a Vixens defence which has been in good form in the past few rounds. Thunderbirds could be hampered by withdrawals. Last week saw Tippah Dwan roll her ankle and Hannah Petty have problems with her quad. Both have been ruled out unfortunately, meaning Horjus is likely to spend time at goal attack. Vixens have been involved in five games this year with a one goal margin. Will this be another one?
Shooters – Mwai Kumwenda, Kiera Austin, Kim Borger
Midcourt – Liz Watson, Kate Moloney, Kate Eddy, Hannah Mundy
Defence – Jo Weston, Emily Mannix, Olivia Lewis
Shooters – Lucy Austin, Eleanor Cardwell
Midcourt – Georgie Horjus, Tayla Williams, Maisie Nankivell, Sophie Casey, Tyler Orr
Defence – Latanya Wilson, Shamera Sterling, Matilda Garrett
NSW SWIFTS v COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES
Ken Rosewall Arena, Sunday, May 21, 2pm AEST
(4pm NZ, 3:30pm SA, 2pm WA, 5am UK)
Wow, haven’t things changed for both these teams since the last time they met. In round one, Collingwood Magpies put out a great all round performance to beat NSW Swifts by eight goals. It had people thinking that maybe Magpies were finals contenders this year, but sadly, they’ve only won one more game. Meanwhile, Swifts have gone in the opposite direction. They’ve only lost one game since that opening round defeat, and have gone from strength to strength, winning a series of close matches.
I’m sure coach Briony Akle would prefer to have a comfortable win instead of all these heart-stoppers, but it shows what a fighting team this is. Swifts’ winning margins this year have been 3, 1, 1, 3, 4, 1, and in matches that were close at three-quarter time, they haven’t lost a fourth quarter all year. Last week, Helen Housby was exceptional, and her combination with Romelda Aiken-George in the circle is proving to be a winner. Allie Smith and Teigan O’Shannassy are both out this week, with Lili Gorman-Brown and Kelea Iongi replacing them.
After a week of off court turmoil, will the problems be just too much for the Magpies, or will it spur them on? Two players who have been consistently good this season have been the defensive combination of Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward. Ward in particular has performed well basically every week. The problems are at the other end of the court. The connections just aren’t there in the attack end. It’s a far cry from round one when Shimona Nelson shot 53/53 and Sophie Garbin was one of Magpies’ best. The head to head record between these two teams in Super Netball is as close as you can get. It is six wins apiece with one match drawn, but Swifts will be favoured to win this one.
Shooters – Romelda Aiken-George, Helen Housby, Sophie Fawns
Midcourt – Paige Hadley, Maddy Proud, Tayla Fraser, Lili Gorman-Brown
Defence – Maddy Turner, Sarah Klau, Kelea Iongi
Shooters – Shimona Nelson, Sophie Garbin, Kelly Singleton
Midcourt – Kelsey Browne, Molly Jovic, Ash Brazill, Maddie Hinchliffe
Defence – Jodi-Ann Ward, Geva Mentor, Jacqui Newton
WEST COAST FEVER v QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS
RAC Arena, Sunday, May 21, 2pm WA time
(6pm NZ, 4pm AEST, 3:30pm SA, 7am UK)
Third versus seventh. The ladder suggests this match will be one-way traffic, but will that be the case? When the teams met in round five, Queensland Firebirds stormed home thanks to an inspired performance from Donnell Wallam and just failed to catch West Coast Fever in Brisbane. Now back in Perth and Fever will certainly be keen to get back on the winners list after three heartbreaking losses in their past four matches. A win will almost assure their spot in the playoffs. However, in the six and a half years of Super Netball, Firebirds actually lead the head-to-head 7-5 with one match drawn.
Having been beaten by one goal at the death in three games recently, you could say that Fever has been unlucky, but one problem is becoming apparent. They are not finishing off matches well. In the matches they’ve played that have been close at three quarter time, they haven’t won a single last quarter. In any case, coach Dan Ryan will be hoping the team can stamp their authority on this game and it’s not close going into the 15 minutes. Sasha Glasgow and Jess Anstiss should both be back this week after sitting out round nine due to Covid.
Firebirds will be without Gabi Simpson who suffered an ankle injury in last week’s match against Thunderbirds. It was a disappointing game for the Firebirds as they capitulated in the last quarter after being very competitive for the first three. Two players who have consistently played well this year are the defensive combination of Ruby Bakewell-Doran and Remi Kamo. They have the toughest task this week against the Fever attacking end of Jhaniele Fowler, Glasgow and Alice Teague-Neeld. In round five, they managed just one gain in the first half, but five in the second. Fever will be heavily favoured to win their seventh match of the year.
Shooters – Jhaniele Fowler, Sasha Glasgow, Emma Cosh
Midcourt – Alice Teague-Neeld, Verity Simmons, Jess Anstiss
Defence – Sunday Aryang, Courtney Bruce, Kim Jenner, Rudi Ellis
Shooters – Donnell Wallam, Mia Stower, Emily Moore
Midcourt – Lara Dunkley, Kim Ravaillion, Hulita Veve, Leesa Mi Mi
Defence – Ruby Bakewell-Doran, Remi Kamo, Ash Unie