Scoop Preview: SSN 2023 Semi Finals

Scoop Preview: SSN 2023 Semi Finals

Cover image: May Bailey


Here we are. It’s finals time. The final four teams have been known for a while now, but round 14 threw up a few surprises which affected the order. NSW Swifts will host the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the major semi final with the winner going straight to the grand final, while west Coast Fever hosts the minor semi with the loser bowing out for 2023.

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 the semi finals, check out our wrap of Round fourteen

See who took out Netball Scoop’s 2023 SSN MVP Awards

And here is Amy Cooper’s piece on Fever’s Jess Anstiss

Jess Anstiss. Image: Marcela Massey



Latanya Wilson was a game changer last week. Image May Bailey



Qudos Bank Arena, Saturday, Jun 24, 7pm
(9pm NZ, 6:30pm SA, 5pm WA, 10am UK)
Umpires: Rachael Ayre and Tara Warner

Super Netball H2H:
Played 14 (Swifts 10, T’birds 2, Drawn 2)

Past Five Meetings:
2023 Round 14 – Swifts 57 v T’birds 60
2023 Round 2 – T’birds 25 v Swifts 25
2022 Round 9 – Swifts 54 v T’birds 40
2022 Round 4 – T’birds 44 v Swifts 45
2021 Round 14 – Swifts 58 v T’birds 53

Didn’t last week throw a spanner in the works? Many people thought they had the form of the finals teams all worked out, but the Adelaide Thunderbirds turned everything upside down. Heading into round 14, some would have predicted them to be the only one of the top four teams to lose, but after a round of upsets, they were in fact the only ones to win!

In truth, Thunderbirds, Fever and Vixens have all been quite up and down form wise in the second half of the season. By contrast, NSW Swifts were on a nine game winning streak going into last week’s game. But Thunderbirds very quickly showed that they were up for the fight. And once again, it was in defence where the visitors excelled.

Shamera Sterling was at her best again, but the star of the show was undoubtedly her Jamaican teammate Latanya Wilson. Playing all three defensive positions during the game, Wilson piled the pressure on the Swifts attack end, and Thunderbirds were able to capitalise in attack. The end result is the same two teams meet again seven days later in the major semi final.

Under the defensive pressure exerted by Thunderbirds, Swifts’ goal attack Helen Housby made some uncharacteristic errors, although she was still dangerous in super shot time. Given the outstanding form that Housby has been in during the second half of the season, it’s doubtful that she will make those errors two weeks in a row, even against this defence.

Last week’s game was basically a dead rubber for Swifts, having already clinched the minor premiership. Was it perhaps a good loss to have before the finals? They will need to rediscover their winning form quickly. In what was a scrappy game, Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner did their best to keep their team in the contest, but turnovers piled up at the other end.

Thunderbirds on the other hand, needed the win in round 14. And they responded well, turning their form right around, particularly in attack which has been a big problem. Lucy Austin and Eleanor Cardwell combined well in the circle, and Georgie Horjus and Tayla Williams fed them well. It was a much better team performance than we had seen in the previous two weeks.

There’s a big prize for the winner here, a spot in the grand final in Melbourne in a fortnight. The loser gets a second chance, but they won’t be thinking about that now. Despite last week’s result, Swifts will be favoured to win in front of what will no doubt be a big crowd at Qudos Bank Arena. It is 3,633 days since the Adelaide Thunderbirds last played in a final and only one of their players (Matilda Garrett) has any Super Netball finals experience.

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


Shamera Sterling with the blocked shot! Image May Bailey



Sasha Glasgow shoots under pressure. Image Shaun Sharp/Moments by Shaun



RAC Arena, Sunday, Jun 25, 2pm WA time
(6pm NZ, 4pm AEST, 3:30pm SA, 7am UK)
Umpires: Jemma Cook and Josh Bowring

Super Netball H2H:
Played 17 (Vixens 9, Fever 6, Drawn 2)

Past Five Meetings:
2023 Round 8 – Vixens 74 v Fever 73
2023 Round 1 – Fever 62 v Vixens 61
2022 Grand Final – Fever 70 v Vixens 59
2022 Major Semi – Vixens 62 v Fever 71
2022 Round 10 – Fever 64 v Vixens 70

West Coast Fever and Melbourne Vixens have developed a terrific rivalry in Super Netball, and that has only continued in 2023 with two thrilling matches. They met in both the 2020 and 2022 grand finals, coming away with one win each from those two matches. But there will be no repeat in this year’s decider, as the loser of this minor semi final is eliminated.

Both of this year’s clashes have gone to the home side by just one goal. In round one, Fever got out of the blocks quickly, and led by five at quarter time. Vixens pegged them back and won the next three quarters, but fell just short. Then in round eight, Fever led by one at three quarter time, but Vixens finished the stronger and got home thanks to a Kiera Austin super shot after time was up.

Fever should be used to one goal margins because incredibly, they’ve played in six such matches this season. They won the first two of those, but have since lost the next four. And they enter this week’s match on the back of another narrow defeat, a three goal loss to last-placed Collingwood Magpies.

Coach Dan Ryan must be worried with his team’s inability to close out tight matches. There should have been no lack of motivation last week as a win would have secured the all-important double chance, but they were out-enthused by the team on the bottom of the ladder, albeit that team was playing under exceptional circumstances.

Vixens also come into this match off a loss. They went down to GIANTS in a match which meant little to them as they couldn’t improve on their fourth spot. Even so, coach Simone McKinnis surely wouldn’t have been happy with the last quarter display in particular where they were heavily penalised and could add only seven goals on to the score.

Fever will as usual, be relying heavily on their attack end of Jhaniele Fowler, Sasha Glasgow and Alice Teague-Neeld. In round 8, Teague-Neeld finished with 29 assists, but that wasn’t enough as Liz Watson had 26 of her own. Austin starred for Vixens in that game with 24 goals, 13 assists, two gains and four deflections. Vixens ended the match with just nine general play turnovers.

It will be interesting to see if Olivia Lewis is given the job of matching up on Fowler as she has done well previously. The battle between Courtney Bruce and Mwai Kumwenda at the other will also be pivotal. This should be another exciting clash between these great rivals, with Fever slight favourites to win in front of what is certain to be another big crowd at RAC Arena.

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


Kate Moloney celebrates in round 8. Image Shaun Sharp/Moments by Shaun

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

About the Author:

Avatar photo
Long time member and contributor for Netball Scoop and all its predecessors since getting hooked in the early 2000s.
Go to Top