Scoop Preview: SSN 2023 Round 5

Scoop Preview: SSN 2023 Round 5

After Round 4, Dan Ryan’s West Coast Fever is undefeated and sits pretty on top of the ladder, while Firebirds are still without a win. Meanwhile, GIANTS had their first win of the season and they consigned Thunderbirds to their first loss. Now we move on to round 5.

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 four

And here is Jenny Sinclair’s piece – The Many Caps Of Courtney Bruce

Fever team huddle with Courtney Bruce. Image: Clinton Bradbury

Fever team huddle with Courtney Bruce. Image: Clinton Bradbury



Ken Rosewall Arena, Saturday, Apr 15, 5pm AEST
(7pm NZ, 4:30pm SA, 3pm WA, 8am UK)

After a tough month of netball, GIANTS notched up their first win of the season last week with a strong last quarter performance against Thunderbirds. When the game was there to be won in the fourth quarter, they lifted. They will be looking now to carry on with that winning form as they host Collingwood. The Magpies team has a 2-2 record after their win over Firebirds. That match was highlighted by an amazing third quarter when the Magpies piled on 23 goals to 8, in total contrast to the rest of the game where they were outscored by 7 goals.

This encounter promises some great match ups. But one that hits you straight away is the GIANTS shooting circle up against the red hot Magpies defence. Who comes out on top there, will go some way to deciding the match. The battle of the two English legends, Jo Harten and Geva Mentor, is always well worth watching.

But perhaps even more crucial to the result will be Sophie Dwyer versus Jodi-Ann Ward. Dwyer has impressed with her composure under pressure so far, while Ward has taken her game to another level in 2023. She has been one of the form players of the whole competition in the first month. Can that be enough to get Magpies over the line? The GIANTS duo had the better of their clashes in 2022.

On paper, this really should be a great game. The teams would seem to stack up well against each other. But when you look at history, it paints a very different picture. These two teams have played each other 14 times in Super Netball and incredibly, the record is 13-1 in GIANTS’ favour. Ash Brazill is the only current Collingwood player who has actually played in a winning Magpies team against GIANTS. And that was almost 6 years ago. The last match between these teams was in the 2022 minor semi-final when GIANTS came out on top 55-48.

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 – Shimona Nelson, Sophie Garbin, Kelly Singleton
Midcourt – Kelsey Browne, Molly Jovic, Ash Brazill, Maddie Hinchliffe
Defence – Jodi-Ann Ward, Geva Mentor, Jacqui Newton


Jodi-Ann Ward turned in another strong performance for Magpies in round four. Image Aliesha Vicars


Netball SA Stadium, Saturday, Apr 15, 6:30pm SA time
(9pm NZ, 7pm AEST, 5pm WA, 10am UK)

This is a great clash in prospect. It will be a good test of whether the Thunderbirds of 2023 have really improved or not. In their round four loss to GIANTS, they at times looked like the Thunderbirds of previous seasons, too often guilty of wasting the ball that their defence wins for them. On the other hand, Vixens were at their professional best, trailing at half time, but digging deep in the second half and finding a way to win.

The battle of the midcourts will be crucial. Vixens coach Simone McKinnis is seemingly still tinkering with her combination. Last week, Hannah Mundy started at wing attack, but that meant Kate Eddy was on the bench. There was an immediate improvement when Eddy was injected into the game at wing defence after half time, and the experienced Kate Moloney and Liz Watson went back to their regular positions.

Captain Hannah Petty returns for Thunderbirds, but it’s unsure how much game time she will see. It will be up to their less experienced attacking midcourt to make the most of possession that will inevitably come from Shamera Sterling and co in the defensive third. Tayla Williams and Georgie Horjus both had tough games in round four against GIANTS, and Maisie Nankivell played well when given the opportunity. Whichever combination Tania Obst puts out on court, they will have a big job to do.

In the six years of Super Netball, these two teams have met on 12 occasions and Vixens lead the head-to-head 9-3. It must be pointed out however that since Sterling joined Thunderbirds in 2019, the score is only 5-3 and most of the games played in that time have been close, low scoring encounters. A perfect example of that is last year’s two clashes which were won by Vixens 53-47 and 51-47. We should expect something similar again.

Shooters – Lucy Austin, Eleanor Cardwell, Tippah Dwan
Midcourt – Georgie Horjus, Tayla Williams, Maisie Nankivell, Hannah Petty
Defence – Latanya Wilson, Shamera Sterling, Matilda Garrett

Shooters – Mwai Kumwenda, Kiera Austin, Kim Borger
Midcourt – Liz Watson, Kate Moloney, Kate Eddy, Hannah Mundy
Defence – Jo Weston, Emily Mannix, Olivia Lewis

Kate Eddy had a strong game after coming on at half time. Image Kirsten Daley


Gabi Simpson is set to play game number 150. Image Simon Leonard


Nissan Arena, Sunday, Apr 16, 2pm AEST
(4pm NZ, 1:30pm SA, 12pm WA, 5am UK)

There couldn’t be a greater contrast than the positions of these two teams. The defending premiers Fever are riding high with four straight wins. In fact, they’re on a run of eight straight wins if you count their last four matches of 2022. Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Firebirds are yet to record a victory in 2023. In this match, Gabi Simpson notches up national league game number 150 after being at the Firebirds for 10 years. They will be hoping that this special milestone can lift the team to a victory.

This Fever team is strong right across the court, but there’s no doubt where they are proving almost impossible to stop. That is the attacking trio of Jhaniele Fowler, Sasha Glasgow and Alice Teague-Neeld. At goal shooter, Fowler is doing as she always does, which is dominate the circle and score goals, and lots of them. But it is the less heralded duo of Glasgow at goal attack, and Teague-Neeld at wing attack that are proving the real difference.

If Firebirds are a chance in this game, the defence is going to have to play a blinder. It will be Simpson’s job to negate the effect of Teague-Neeld, while Ruby Bakewell-Doran matches up on Glasgow. In just her fifth Super Netball game, Remi Kamo has the unenviable task of trying to somehow keep Fowler relatively quiet.

The Firebirds have historically matched up well against Fever, and that is shown in the head-to-head between the two teams. From 12 matches in Super Netball, Firebirds have won 7, Fever has won 4 and there has been one draw. But it will be a huge upset if the bottom-of-the-ladder Firebirds win this one against the undefeated table toppers Fever.

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 – Jhaniele Fowler, Sasha Glasgow, Emma Cosh
Midcourt – Alice Teague-Neeld, Verity Simmons, Jess Anstiss
Defence – Sunday Aryang, Courtney Bruce, Kim Jenner, Rudi Ellis

Sasha Glasgow has been starring for Fever. Image Danny Dalton


UniSC Arena, Sunday, Apr 16, 4pm AEST
(6pm NZ, 3:30pm SA, 2pm WA, 7am UK)

Lightning hosts Swifts in a match between fourth and sixth on the ladder. Lightning comes off a narrow loss to Vixens in Melbourne, while Swifts went down by 11 goals at home to defending premiers Fever. Both sides started strongly and led for a good portion of their matches, before being overrun.

There’s little doubt the secret to Lightning’s form this season has been the Diamonds shooting combination of Steph Wood and Cara Koenen. When they’re firing, Lightning is firing. It’s as simple as that. Similarly, in round three when the Thunderbirds defence shut them down altogether, it led to a heavy loss. So, it’s up to the Swifts defence to slow them down this week. And that comes not just from inside the circle. Last week, it was the play of Kate Eddy at wing defence for Vixens which turned the game. So Sarah Klau, Maddy Turner, Teigan O’Shannassy and Allie Smith have an important job to do. This battle in Lightning’s attacking third will be crucial to the result of the game.

This clash is tough to pick. Both sides have been mixing their form. In all, there have been 14 matches between these two teams in the 6 seasons of Super Netball, and Lightning leads the head-to-head by 9-5. Of course, one of those five wins for Swifts was a rather big game – the 2019 grand final. Swifts also won the last clash in a thriller with a last second Helen Housby goal in round 10 last season.

On the eve of this match, Lightning finalised its team for 2023. With defender Tara Hinchliffe out for the season, Shannon Eagland has now been confirmed as her injury replacement for the remaining matches. And shooter Reilley Batcheldor has now also been ruled out for the whole season, meaning injury replacement Charlie Bell continues to take her place for the rest of this year.

Shooters – Cara Koenen, Steph Wood, Charlie Bell
Midcourt – Laura Scherian, Mahalia Cassidy, Annie Miller, Shannon Eagland
Defence – Karla Pretorius, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Ash Ervin

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

Cara Koenen has had a strong start to the season. Image Aliesha Vicars


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