Scoop Preview: SSN 2023 Round 6

Scoop Preview: SSN 2023 Round 6

Round 6 sees the much-awaited clash of undefeated premiers West Coast Fever and the team many think could challenge them, Adelaide Thunderbirds. This round is also noteworthy for featuring clashes between teams close to each other on the ladder. 1 plays 2, 3 plays 4, 5 plays 7 and 6 plays 8. It makes for a round full of interest.

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 five

Here is Amy Cooper’s piece on Fever’s twin training partners Zoe and Jordan Cransberg

And here is Jenny Sinclair’s piece on Cara Koenen

Cara Koenen. Image May Bailey/Clusterpix


Helen Housby nailed a last minute two pointer to beat the Lightning. Image Marcela Massey



Ken Rosewall Arena, Saturday, Apr 22, 7pm AEST
(9pm NZ, 6:30pm SA, 5pm WA, 10am UK)

Round six kicks off with a battle of third versus fourth and it’s also game one of the Sargeant-McKinnis Cup which is played for when these two teams meet in the regular season. Swifts are coming off a high after an exciting one goal win over Lightning, while Vixens will be trying to regroup after a disappointing 11 goal loss in Adelaide. The big match up here will be in the midcourt where both teams have had somewhat mixed results this season; Paige Hadley, Maddy Proud, and Allie Smith for Swifts up against Liz Watson, Kate Moloney, and Kate Eddy for Vixens.

One of the big talking points has been the form of Vixens’ co-captain Watson. By her own very lofty standards, she has had a below-par first five rounds. Just on pure numbers, she’s had six less goal assists than at the same time last year, but far more worrying is the fact that she’s committed eight more turnovers. Last week, Thunderbirds’ Latanya Wilson put her right off her game, so she will be looking to bounce back this week.

For Swifts, Proud has also been slightly down on her incredible performances in the second half of the 2022 season, but she had a strong game against Lightning and gave the impression that she’s ready to hit top form. The connection between Proud and goal attack Helen Housby is crucial to Swifts and they were on song last week. Watson and Proud are renowned as probably the leading attacking midcourters in the competition and it’s a fair bet that they will have a big say in which team comes out on top here.

These two teams have played each other 13 times in Super Netball and the head-to-head record is 7-5 in Vixens’ favour with one match drawn. Vixens won both matches last season with Moloney starring in the last clash in round 11 with 7 assists, 2 gains, 5 deflections, 5 pickups and zero turnovers. This is a great game in prospect. Both these teams have been involved in some close finishes already this season and this could be another one.

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

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

Jamie-Lee Price has been playing consistently well. Image Danny Dalton.


Nissan Arena, Sunday, Apr 23, 2pm AEST
(4pm NZ, 1:30pm SA, 12pm WA, 5am UK)

Both of these sides will be desperate for a win. Despite playing well and going close on occasions, including last week’s narrow loss to the champions Fever, Firebirds are still searching for those elusive first competition points. Meanwhile, GIANTS are only two rungs higher on the ladder after a tough start to the year. Given their current form, they will feel that they should be higher and a win on Sunday gets them closer to the top four.

It will be interesting to see what line up coach Bec Bulley puts out on court for the home side. There is little doubt that the seven who played the second half against Fever performed at a higher level than the starting line up, but that means leaving Gabi Simpson on the bench. Macy Gardner played very well at centre, while Emily Moore must also be challenging Mia Stower for the starting goal attack position. Between the two of them, they came up with 28 assists in just 30 minutes.

Whether it’s Gardner or Kim Ravaillion at centre this week, they will be up against an in-form Jamie-Lee Price who was outstanding in round five against Collingwood. Amy Parmenter also had a brilliant game at wing defence. They came up with seven intercepts combined and will be ready to pounce on any Firebirds mistakes. Fresh from coming up against Jhaniele Fowler, Firebirds goal keeper Remi Kamo this week is opposed to Jo Harten. That’s a very different challenge, but once again, it is a big mismatch in terms of experience at this level.

In the six years of Super Netball, these two teams have met on 12 occasions and GIANTS lead the head-to-head 7-4 with one match drawn. Last year’s matches were split, with Firebirds winning comfortably in round 4 and GIANTS getting up by just 1 in round 13 by virtue of scoring 2 extra super shots. Price was the star in that match with 24 assists, 2 gains, 2 deflections and 2 pickups. This is the 100th game in Suncorp Super Netball for GIANTS. The only two players remaining from their first game in 2017 are Harten and Price.

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 – Jo Harten, Sophie Dwyer, Matisse Letherbarrow
Midcourt – Maddie Hay, Jamie-Lee Price, Amy Parmenter, Amy Sligar
Defence – April Brandley, Matilda McDonell, Lauren Moore

Verity Simmons will play her 150th match this week. Image Martin Poole/SpeedLite Photo


RAC Arena, Sunday, Apr 23, 2pm WA time
(6pm NZ, 4pm AEST, 3:30pm SA, 7am UK)

This is the one many Super Netball fans have been waiting for. Is it possibly a grand final preview? The undefeated Fever hosts Thunderbirds who come into the game with three wins, a draw, and a loss. Incredibly, these two teams are currently the only ones in the competition with a percentage above 100. Every other team has conceded more goals than they’ve scored. Last week, Fever’s SSN winning streak grew to nine matches when they held off a surging Firebirds, while the Thunderbirds put in a commanding display against last year’s runners-up, the Vixens.

There are lots of great battles all over the court in this match, but two clashes stand out. At one end of the court is the eagerly anticipated match up of Australian Diamonds defender and Fever captain Courtney Bruce, and England Roses shooter and Thunderbirds’ star signing Eleanor Cardwell. Neither will take a backward step and the one who comes out on top in this battle will go some way to deciding the result.

At the other end, there is the all-Jamaican clash between the players most believe to be the number one shooter and defender in the game right now, Jhaniele Fowler and Shamera Sterling. Statistically speaking, Fowler has dominated the competition for five years, but so far this year, Sterling is the number one. And she troubles Fowler probably more than anyone. In the last clash in round 14 2022, Sterling restricted Fowler to her lowest number of goals for the year.

Fever has the advantage when looking at the head-to-head records. From 12 matches in Super Netball, they have won 9 and Thunderbirds 3. Fever also won both matches comfortably last season, but it’s probably fair to say that the performance of this year’s Thunderbirds team is a few notches up on last year’s line up. At home, the champions will be favoured to maintain their unbeaten record here, but the visitors should take it right up to them. This will be Fever midcourter Verity Simmons’s 150th national league game.

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

Shamera Sterling puts enough pressure on the shot to make Mwai Kumwenda dish off. Image Hannah Howard/On the Ball Media


John Cain Arena, Tuesday, Apr 25, 1pm AEST
(3pm NZ, 12:30pm SA, 11am WA, 4am UK)

It is perhaps surprising that this will be the first ever Super Netball match played on ANZAC Day. The Magpies are hosting the match against Lightning on this special occasion, and both teams also have affiliated football clubs playing big matches later on in the day (Collingwood AFL and Melbourne Storm NRL). Magpies are coming off a four goal loss to GIANTS, while Lightning suffered a dramatic one goal defeat against the Swifts.

For Magpies, a question mark still surrounds the form of Sophie Garbin. After starting the season well at goal attack, she has struggled in recent weeks, and in round five, she had a game she would rather forget with nine turnovers. It was a very different story for wing attack Kelsey Browne who was outstanding in the game and held the attack end together under pressure. And once again, the defence end of Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward kept the team in the game with a combined 11 possession gains.

Mentor and Ward will be up against Lightning’s key players, their shooting duo of Cara Koenen and Steph Wood. Often, it seems that too much responsibility falls onto the shoulders of Wood to make the attack end work. But last week, wing attack Annie Miller put in a strong performance, with 21 assists, 43 feeds, and 27 centre-pass receives. This could be a sign of things to come. One tactical change that may need to take place is regarding the super shot. Wood is one of the best super shot exponents in the competition, but she (or the team) is reluctant to attempt them. In last week’s game, it was only the scoring of two extra super shots that got Swifts over the line against Lightning.

In all, there have been 12 matches between these two teams in the 6 seasons of Super Netball, and Lightning has a significant advantage. They lead the head-to-head by 9-3. However, it must be pointed out that the tally was 9-1 before last season, when Magpies had two good wins. In the last clash in round 13, Shimona Nelson, Browne, Molly Jovic and Ward all scored over 100 Nissan Net Points in a 68-62 victory. Like GIANTS, this will also be Sunshine Coast Lightning’s 100th match in Super Netball.

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

Jodie-Ann Ward is a dangerous defender. Image Danny Dalton.

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