THE final round of the Suncorp Super Netball home and away season saw some phenomenal matchups across all four games and some highly talented players take the court. The condensed fixture and introduction of rolling subs this year have seen plenty of young names already jump on the court and have a huge impact despite their lack of experience. We take a look at each game and note which players shifted the gears and switched up the momentum.
In a see-sawing affair a final quarter push from the Queensland Firebirds is what got them over the line. Trailing at three quarter time, the Firebirds threw everything they had at Collingwood to weave the ball down the court and wrestle back the momentum from the black and white with an 18 goals to 12 quarter. It completely turned the tables on the match as impressive shooting from Tippah Dwan and Romelda Aiken dictated the term as the duo only missed four attempts for the quarter. However, it was captain Gabi Simpson that really influenced the play, coming up big with a couple of timely deflections and intercepts to stop the Magpies from hitting circle edge and delivering into Shimona Nelson. Simpson worked in tandem with Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe as the defensive trio picked up a combined five gains to nullify the likes of Molly Jovic, Gabby Sinclair and Nelson and steal the win.
Some sharp shooting from captain and England international Jo Harten in the final term changed the course of the game for the GIANTS. Down by as many as 10 goals prior to the super shot period, Harten found her rhythm from range and single-handedly drew her side back into the contest nailing five consecutive super shots, and one later to ice the cake. Although it was not enough to get the win, her individual efforts were enough to secure a draw while the increased pressure stemming from the likes of Amy Parmenter made her attacking forays possible. The entire GIANTS frontline were quick to identify Harten’s hot hand with Jamie-Lee Price, Maddie Hay and Kiera Austin delivering pinpoint passes into the circle.
West Coast Fever lead for majority of the game, largely due to the dominance of Jhaniele Fowler however with the game on the line the spirit and fight of the Adelaide Thunderbirds came to the fore. Bidding farewell to co-captain Chelsea Pitman after not being offered a contract for 2021, Pitman left nothing to chance with her silky movement and strength around circle edge doing all the talking. She was a real general in attack, receiving just about every second pass and constantly setting up clever plays to create options for the likes of Lenize Potgieter and Georgie Horjus. Her influence allowed the Thunderbirds to steadily build back into the game and provided a wealth of confidence to the youngster in Horjus as the goal attack slotted three consecutive super shots. The Fever had no answers for the dynamic goaler as Courtney Bruce, Sunday Aryang and Stacey Francis all endeavoured to stop the sharp shooter who simply could not be tamed and ultimately landed the final blow.
A third quarter fightback and come-from-behind win loomed as a prospect for two-time premiers Sunshine Coast Lightning as the home side kicked into gear. Their connections in attack started to fire as Peace Proscovia, Steph Wood and Cara Koenen found their rhythm and subsequently applied scoreboard pressure while Laura Scherian found plenty of space and depth in the attacking third. However the Vixens were not about to lie down, flexing their muscles when it counted to run rampant in the final term. Wood tried her best to wrestle back the momentum into the favour of the Lightning putting up three super shots to cut the margin however the patient and cautious approach of the Vixens enabled the minor premiers to hold on. Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Jo Weston proved to be a formidable duo down back, winning back a wealth of ball and quelling the speed of the Lightning as they restored the Vixens rhythm across the court.