Tag: liz watson

2020 Suncorp Super Netball Preview: Round 13

WITH one game already done and dusted for Round 13 the remainder of Suncorp Super Netball Indigenous round is set to play out over the weekend as the race for finals intensifies. The GIANTS are still in with a shot but rely on results from other games as the Fever and Swifts tussle for prime position in the top four.

West Coast Fever v. GIANTS Netball
Saturday, 19 September

It is a do or die clash for the GIANTS as they look to keep their finals chances alive, however the West Coast Fever have been in scintillating form and will be keen to secure the win in order to rise up the ladder and potentially claim at top two finish.

The GIANTS will have to be on their A-game in defence with Jhaniele Fowler simply unstoppable in the past couple of weeks, recording a whopping 124 goals and showcasing just how damaging she can be at the post. Alice Teague-Neeld has elevated her game in 2020 and while she does not put up a wealth of shots, working alongside the likes of Emma Cosh and Verity Charles the Fever have been able to weave their way down the court with great ease and allow Fowler to do the heavy lifting. To stop Fowler and the Fever the GIANTS will have to employ full court defensive pressure to stop the ball from flowing freely into attack and ending up in Fowler’s hands – meaning the likes of April Brandley, Sam Poolman, Kristiana Manu’a, Amy Parmenter and Jamie-Lee Price will all have to ply their trade consistently in order to stop the ball from coming down with pace.

With everything on the line the GIANTS attacking unit will have to be on song from the first whistle. Caitlin Bassett has not received a wealth of court time this season but given the speed and accuracy with which she can score, she could definitely make a handy cameo and alter the course of the game. There is no denying that Jo Harten and Kiera Austin are fast becoming the super shot queens with their ability to turn and sink them from long range, something the Fever defenders in Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis will be acutely aware of heading into the clash.


Adelaide Thunderbirds v. NSW Swifts
Saturday, 19 September

The Adelaide Thunderbirds are a team that should not be underestimated given the amount of international prowess they have across the court, and while they cannot make finals they are still in a position to have an influence on ladder positions. The Swifts have struggled to find their mojo in season 2020 but heading into finals they will be eager to find some continuity across the court and claim the all-important win.

Hopefully returning after missing last week’s clash with concussion, Helen Housby will be a great addition into the attacking end given her experience, class with ball in hand and willingness to go to the post. Her connection with England roses teammate Natalie Haythornthwaite is also pivotal to the Swifts attacking unit while Sam Wallace is a strong target under the post thanks to her athleticism and creativity with ball in hand. However the high release into Wallace will play directly into the hands of Shamera Sterling with the Adelaide Thunderbirds goal keeper renowned for her athleticism to reach up and gobble any looping passes .The support she receives from the likes of Layla Guscoth out the front, Kate Shimmin, Shadine van der Merwe and Maisie Nankivell allows her to go out and hunt the ball with freedom.

The midcourt battle will be intriguing with both sides not afraid to throw the bibs around as shown with Paige Hadley sliding back into that wing defence position allowing the likes of Maddy Proud, Tayla Fraser and Haythornthwaite to take the reins in attack. As for the Thunderbirds, Nankivell, Hannah Petty, Tayla Williams and Georgie Horjus have all floated through various centre court positions, though it is fair to say Horjus does her best work inside the goal circle with South African Lenize Potgieter. The Thunderbirds will hope to welcome back co-captain Chelsea Pitman with her class and ball placement critical to their attack if they are to keep Sarah Klau, Maddy Turner and Lauren Moore busy and out of the contest.


Melbourne Vixens v. Queensland Firebirds
Sunday, 20 September

The final game of the round sees minor premiers Melbourne Vixens take on a young and exciting Queensland Firebirds outfit. The Vixens have been in ripping form in season 2020 while the Firebirds have showcased that they have plenty of potential and are building towards a strong 2021 season, making for an exciting contest between the two sides.

Inside the shooting circle the Melbourne Vixens have a plethora of options with Caitlin Thwaites, Mwai Kumwenda and Tegan Philip all able to seamlessly rotate in and out of the game and have a profound impact when called upon. Their innate understanding and connection with their midcourters in Liz Watson and Kate Moloney enables the Vixens to constantly create space and find easy avenue to goal meaning the Firebirds defenders will have to be on song if they are any chance of slowing down the Vixens’ attacking unit. Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe are a formidable duo for the Firebirds down back, able to hunt ball and cause chaos, while Rudi Ellis can add that extra height if required. It will be up to captain Gabi Simpson to nullify Watson if she returns or limit the impact of Tayla Honey or Elle McDonald if the Firebirds are any chance of an upset.

Boasting a different style in attack to their opponents, holding shooter Romelda Aiken has been a lynchpin under the post for the Firebirds with her strong and clear holds, aerial ability and increased accuracy consistently on display. Aiken is the Firebirds’ get out of jail free card with the likes of Mahalia Cassidy, Jemma Mi Mi, Lara Dunkley and Macy Gardner all able to bomb it long into the shooter when there are limited options, an area the Vixens will be hoping to shut down with Kate Eddy’s long arms to block vision. Dunkley has been crucial over the past couple few rounds, due in part to her strength around circle edge and composure with ball in hand. Youngster Tippah Dwan has also proven to be a revelation with her speed, confidence and super shot shooting meaning the Vixens defensive duo in Emily Mannix and Jo Weston cannot afford to pay all their attention to Aiken.

2020 Suncorp Super Netball: Five Talking points – Round 11/12

ROUND 11 and 12 of Suncorp Super Netball saw the Melbourne Vixens secure the minor premiership sitting two games ahead of the next comers while other major talking points surround player injuries to some big names. The past two rounds have also brought attention to the lack of court time the Australian Diamonds captain is getting, while the Queensland Firebirds have showcased their growth and development to secure their fourth victory of the season.

Melbourne Vixens are the team to beat and boast a wealth of depth
Missing two of their star players in alternating rounds the Melbourne Vixens proved that they have a winning formula. Facing the reigning premiers in Round 11 without starting goal keeper Emily Mannix and missing lynchpin in attack Liz Watson in Round 12 against Collingwood, the Vixens resorted to their bench showcasing just how much talent they have. Not getting a wealth of court time so far this year, Kadie-Ann Dehaney came out with a real purpose while the youngsters in Elle McDonald and Tayla Honey stepped up to the plate. Typically criticised for their lack of bench usage, the Melbourne Vixens have showcased in 2020 and especially in recent weeks that their full roster can come on and have an immediate impact, proving why they are the team to beat in finals after securing the minor premiership with two rounds left in the season.

Firebirds building for the future
There is no denying that the Firebirds have a wealth of young talent coming up through the ranks with Kim Jenner, Tara Hinchliffe, Tippah DwanLara Dunkley and Jemma Mi Mi all stepping up to the plate this season. Their growth and cohesion is undeniable and that has shown recording their third win in Round 11, highlighting their increased intensity and ability to ride out games. Hinchliffe and Jenner have become one of the most dynamic and impressive defensive duos in the competition while Dwan has taken the competition by storm. In Round 11 the goal attack had a stats-stuffing performance with 14 goals, 15 goal assists and an impressive three intercepts. Spearheaded by two experienced players in Romelda Aiken in the goal circle and captain Gabi Simpson in wing defence, the young players around them have proven they are not afraid to elevate their game, relishing the extra and more consistent time on court as they steadily build towards the future.

West Coast Fever shaping up to be likely grand finalists
It is the Fever of 2018 with the West Australian side blowing teams out of the water thanks to the sheer volume produced at the hands of Jhaniele Fowler. in the past two rounds the goal shooter has managed a staggering 124 goals proving to be unstoppable under the post and causing headaches for opposition sides. Despite missing Ingrid Colyer who is set to miss the remainder of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury the Fever have not skipped a beat, with Alice Teague-Neeld finding her groove although not hitting the scoreboard regularly and Verity Charles starring through the centre. Defensively the Fever have tightened up with Courtney Bruce, Stacey Francis and youngster Sunday Aryang all making it incredibly difficult for their opponents to score.

Caitlin Bassett struggling to get court time
GIANTS goal shooter, Caitlin Bassett found herself on the bench once again in Round 12 and while the side did win – their first without her taking part in the match – it begs the question of why she is not getting the court time and ultimately where the Australian Diamonds captain will end up next season. There is no denying that the GIANTS are blessed with options inside the goal circle with Kiera Austin and Jo Harten a damaging duo, able to shoot the long bombs or convert from directly under the post. However Bassett offers plenty of stability, control and firepower able to score with great ease and speed; something the GIANTS have struggled with this season. The goal shooter has proven that she is an impact player coming on for 36 minutes in their clash against Collingwood in Round 11. In doing so she changed the course of the game, nailing 19 of 20 goals and providing a sense of composure in attack with Jamie-Lee Price and Austin able to identify her holds instantaneously.

Injuries starting to come into play
Round 11 and 12 saw a couple of notable names miss games through injury or management due to the condensed season. The Melbourne Vixens missed the services of Watson and Mannix for one and two rounds respectively while the Fever will be without Colyer for the season. in the Thunderbirds camp, co-captain Chelsea Pitman sat on the sidelines in Round 12 with a calf complaint while GIANTS wing defence Amy Parmenter also missed a round of action with the same niggle. Although not an injury as such, Helen Housby was also forced to the sidelines for precautionary measures after suffering a concussion in Round 11 showcasing how gruelling and taxing this 2020 Super Netball season has been, with her head knock and resulting time off court mirroring earlier injuries this season.

Draft Central Courtside Comments: Round 12 – Tayla Honey

EACH week the Draft Central team will focus on one Suncorp Super Netball player across the round and take a look at their individual highlights, key moments and improvements across their match. Our Round 12 focus is Melbourne Vixens’ Tayla Honey with the young wing attack handed her first starting appearance with Liz Watson out due to injury. Each set of notes showcases the opinions of our writers individually.

The young wing attack has not had a heap of court time in 2020, after a disrupted 2019 saw her sit on the sidelines and Watson’s continued dominance seeing coach Simone McKinnis have little need to replace her. But Honey got her chance to prove she is capable in Round 12, getting the starting wing attack bib and showcasing her potential with her zippy movement and ability to adapt to play. While not her most confident and impressive performance, Honey showcased some real potential with her quick ball movement and ability to turn on the defensive gears to win ball back with her hands over pressure, finishing with 11 goal assist from 21 feeds, 15 centre pass receives and a gain, but also with eight general play turnovers in her 39 minutes on court.

Here’s what we had to say:

By: Sophie Taylor, Draft Central Senior Editor

It was a relatively quiet match from Honey, who seemed to have gotten in her own head before the match started, lacking her usual composure with ball in hand. The speedster did not have a great start and really had to work hard to build into the game, while the Vixens’ slow start did not do her any favours and nor did Geva Mentor in defence, anticipating Honey’s ball placement with her high looping feeds playing into defenders’ hands at times. Kate Moloney’s confidence to pass off to Honey paid off as the first quarter went on, seeing the youngster eventually settling into the game. After amassing five turnovers in the first quarter, Honey cleaned up her act in the second to play a significant role drawing attention on circle edge to allow Moloney to control play in the Vixens’ dominant quarter. While she did make a few errors and did not re-take the court after three quarter time, Honey has plenty of development left and will relish the time she had on court to further her feeding craft, showcasing some good skills in her appearance.

By: Taylah Melki, Draft Central Managing Editor

Getting the nod in at wing attack due to Watson’s injury, Honey took a while to find her feet and overall had a relatively quiet performance. That being said, she had some good passages of play with her smooth movement to hit circle edge and secure prime spot at the top of the circle on show when on court. Honey sometimes got caught high on the transition and was unable to punch down the line in attack due to the defensive work of the Magpies to keep her out of the contest, but continued to push hard to have an influence. Her effort was unquestionable, constantly on the move and while she was not always used in attack she kept Mel Bragg busy with her footwork and hustle. Honey was not afraid to reset the play and go back to the transverse line to open up options inside the goal circle, showcasing her composure and netball smarts. Her quick and high release into Mwai Kumwenda was on song with the wing attack identifying the space and delivering the ball into the goal shooter confidence.

By: Lucy Pollock, Draft Central UK Writer

Honey took a few minutes to warm into the game against the Magpies, which is to be expected due to her limited experience playing at SSN level. With this in mind, she did well as she has plenty of speed to burn and the ability to lose her defender easily and hit circle edge. It is a difficult task to try and fill the shoes of one of the best in the game in Watson, and Honey’s nervous start led to a couple of early turnovers and misfeeds. She made up for it with her defensive hustle and was well matched for height against Bragg. Honey started to get into her stride in the second quarter as the Vixens took the lead but was still a little bit too tentative to command the attacking end and set up plays. She was almost waiting to see what Tegan Philip and Moloney would do and responding to that, rather than following her own instincts and being direct. She went to the bench in the third quarter having put out a solid performance in terms of feeds and centre pass receives, and has all the makings of a reliable and speedy wing attack. 

By: Jarrad Gardner, Centre Pass Podcast host

Honey stepped up in the absence of Watson and played a strong role in the Vixens win in Round 12. She had a few shaky moments early on as the Magpies’ defenders put on the pressure and forced multiple turnovers throughout the first quarter however once Honey settled, she was able to get the ball into her shooters with relative ease. Her speed and agility was a major asset as the Vixens looked to move the ball quickly down the court and on the defensive side, she along with Moloney were able to force multiple deflections and keep the ball in the Vixens’ attacking half. As long as she can clean up her errant passing, Honey could be a vital cog in the Vixens’ shot at the premiership.

By: Kate Cornish, Draft Central volunteer writer

It can be daunting to sit in the shadows of an established player in any netball team, however when that team is the Melbourne Vixens and the long shadow that is cast belongs to a Diamond called Liz Watson, some might find it overwhelming. In Round 12 Honey was the wing attack chosen by coach McKinnis to fill the shoes left by Watson, who was being rested after rolling her ankle in Round 11. Honey, who has been a training partner since 2017 had Bragg to contend with for the 40 minutes she was on court and while the Vixens had a slow start, Honey alone counted for five of the nine general play turnovers that her team had in the first 15 minutes, and that may have thrown her confidence for the rest of the game. When Honey was not over-thinking on court, she was good for the Vixens. She provided options in attack and when she wasn’t used the first time, she would work hard to offer again. As a feeder she was quick to find the circle after the first phase off the centre pass and she had a lovely high release of the ball from her shoulder, when she was feeding the ball to Kumwenda. Honey’s performance in this game was not reflective of the talent we know she has or how we have seen her play in bursts over this 2020 season, and while the stat of eight turnovers while on court does not truly reflect the solid work that Honey did during this very intense match, being benched for the final 20 minutes could indicate that McKinnis felt she needed to steady the attack line and it certainly gives Honey something tangible to work on moving forward. 

Vixens survive early Magpies scare to secure minor premiership

THE Melbourne derby was always set to be a huge matchup, and regardless of ladder positioning – the Melbourne Vixens on top and Collingwood Magpies currently on course to win the wooden spoon – the battle did not disappoint. While the Magpies came out hot, the Vixens used every ounce of their experience and poise to run out eight goal victors (61-53).

A huge eight-zip start to the Magpies told the story of the first quarter, with the cellar dwelling side firing early against the table toppers who were missing their general out in attack, co-captain Liz Watson. It was an uncharacteristically inaccurate Vixens side that started the quarter, credit to Geva Mentor’s stellar hands over pressure on the shot. Transition through the Vixens midcourt was stunted, with the side unable to cleanly make their way down court and getting blocked from easy drives. For the Magpies though, they had a stellar start and it was not entirely down to the Vixens’ sloppiness with Molly Jovic and Kelly Altman impressing on the feed early finding Shimona Nelson with ease. 

While Kadie-Ann Dehaney got the start against Nelson, Emily Mannix entered not long into the match and had an immediate impact attacking the goal shooter’s hands, allowing the Vixens to force their way back. But little errors continued to plague the Vixens, with Tayla Honey a little bit shaky in her first start in Watson’s absence and the goalers taking some time to adjust. A couple of super shots allowed the Vixens to reduce the margin, fighting to an 11-12 scoreline during the super shot period seeing Magpies coach Rob Wright call a tactical timeout to stem the flow. The Magpies came out of the timeout flying, with a Mentor gather and Gabby Sinclair super shot extending the scoreline once more. A fatigued-looking Caitlin Thwaites got the ring around in the final minute of the quarter, hitting the deck a couple of times and seeing the Magpies lead by five goals at the first change.

Thwaites started the second on the bench as Tegan Philip stepped into goal attack, and a Magpies break on the opening centre pass saw the Vixens capitalise with two quick goals on the board. Mannix’s body on body pressure and ability to attack the hands without drawing the contact saw another goal off the hands of a Magpies centre, getting the Vixens within two. While the Vixens attack still did not seem to be quite right, it was firing much better with Kate Moloney leading the way as Mwai Kumwenda showcased her impressive athleticism out the front. 

The scoreline continued to tick over with neither side able to break the centre despite the defensive effort to win ball back. Jo Weston had a stellar second quarter, exploiting Sinclair’s comparative inexperience and using her great positioning to gain possession. Accuracy was no issue for the Magpies which was what kept their noses in front, while the Vixens’ uncharacteristic inaccuracy saw much of the defensive effort from Mannix and Weston wasted. Scores levelled and Thwaites returned to the court, and suddenly the intensity lifted once more for the Vixens as they took their first lead of the game, extending to a four goal lead at half time. 

The Vixens started the third quarter well outside the circle but struggled to find the ball within, and while the goalers were far more accurate there was a lot of patience needed to get the ball in. Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward were exceptional spotting the turnover ball, able to adapt to the Vixens goalers’ positioning and pass off to a waiting Mel Bragg. Nelson’s hands improved as the game went on as did her positioning, allowing her to draw the penalties from Mannix. The Vixens attack-line seemed to lose some of its speed and options to the ball, seeing Elle McDonald take the court for Honey and add a different layer out the front with her hard drive to circle edge. The Vixens extended a seven goal lead by three quarter time, seeing the Magpies continue their accurate game but unable to turn around the margin. 

The Vixens continued their better form in the final quarter, with improved speed and renewed intensity. But the Magpies would not back down, consistently applying pressure and forcing error-ridden long bombs down court from their crosstown rivals. Continuing to go goal for goal and just over five minutes left on the clock, both teams were gearing up for the super shot period with Nyah Allen taking the court in goal shooter and the Magpies defenders stepping up their game once more. Despite a couple straight super shots from the Magpies, the Vixens were well in control and ran away with an eight goal victory 61-53.

Player of the match Moloney racked up 23 goal assists from 36 feeds to go with her two intercepts and three deflections (one to advantage) while also managing a huge seven pickups, never far from the action. Honey and McDonald racked up 11 assists apiece in their shared time on court, both also coming away with a couple of pickups for their efforts. At the post, it was a fairly shared effort between the three Vixens goalers with Philip (22 goals from 26 attempts), Thwaites (21 from 22, two super shots) and Kumwenda (14 from 16, two super shots) all having their time in the spotlight, and while quiet in patches, Mannix and Weston were consistent down back, combining for eight gains (three intercepts). For the Magpies, Mentor’s fine form continued with another huge effort for six gains (two intercepts), aided by a more reserved Ward than we typically see, though she still managed three intercepts of her own. Nelson was accurate out the front with 43 goals at 96 per cent, while Sinclair did not hit the scoreboard as much as usual (six from eight) but racked up 26 assists from 31 feeds to top the leaderboard.


COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES 17 | 9 | 13 | 14 (53)
MELBOURNE VIXENS 12 | 18 | 16 | 15 (61)



GS: Shimona Nelson
GA: Gabby Sinclair
WA: Kelly Altmann
C: Molly Jovic
WD: Mel Bragg
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
GK: Geva Mentor


GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Caitlin Thwaites
WA: Tayla Honey
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Kate Eddy
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Kadie-Ann Dehaney

Courtside Comments: Round 4 – Molly Jovic
Courtside Comments: Round 10 – Kate Eddy
Courtside Comments: Round 11 – Mel Bragg

Elle McDonald ready for the next step

SSN Head to Head: Round 12/13

IN each round of Suncorp Super Netball we will identify key match-ups, provide an analysis of players and compare the two styles. This week’s head to head focuses on a couple of centres, one who has international experience in Jamie-Lee Price and the other a young up and coming midcourter in Hannah Petty, who has helped lead the way for her side this season.

Hannah Petty (C) v. Jamie-Lee Price (C)

Two extremely competitive and strong athletes are set to go head to head in the final game of Round 12 in the form of Thunderbirds co-captain Petty and GIANTS youngster Price. Both centres boast a more defensive style of play, making for an enticing match-up as the duo are real barometers for their respective sides.

Petty has missed a couple of rounds this season through concussion however that has not stopped the dogged centre, who is renowned for contesting each and every pass. Petty is no easy beat through the middle, able to effectively ply her trade both in defence and attack. she is incredibly strong on the take and around circle edge to consistently claim prime feeding position. Petty is not afraid to look long and over the mess to deliver directly into the likes of Lenize Potgieter under the post. the centre works seamlessly with fellow co-captain Chelsea Pitman with the duo balancing the circle extremely well to give their shooters plenty of options. Effective in the front half, some of Petty’s best work comes in defence with the midcourter able to get hands to ball credit to her read of the play and speed off the mark. She is a key link through the centre court syncing the defensive unit to the attacking half with her drive and vision. Her adaptability to alter her game play to suit her teammates around her whether it be Maisie Nankivell, Shadine van der Merwe or Tayla Williams is a credit to her high netball IQ.

For the GIANTS Price has been as consistent as they come in season 2020 with her gut running frequently on show. In what has been a relatively up and down season, Price has provided a sense of composure and stability through the centre third, not often getting overrun or outworked, instead often flying under the radar such is her consistency. She is a menace in defence leaning on her offensive tendencies to force timely tips or intercepts especially around circle edge. The centre is extremely strong, able to outmuscle her opponents and keep them guessing given her closing speed and deceptively rangy arms while her work in attack has improved tenfold given the constant changes in the front half for the GIANTS. Her connection with Amy Parmenter is solid through the centre court while her one-two play with Jo Harten is also impressive. Price has a bullet pass on her, able to slice through congestion and defenders and can create plenty of space whether it be for Harten, Kiera Austin or Caitlin Bassett in the attacking third.

Both players are renowned for their inability to take a backwards step, consistently hustling for any loose ball and covering the court with great ease. It will ultimately come down to which player can treasure possession and lower their eyes to find a target rather than bomb it long and hope for the best. They are evenly poised when it comes to speed however Price does have a slight edge when it comes standing up in big matches, which this one is given their finals chances relies on securing a win.

Other key match-ups for Round 12 include the battle between Melbourne Vixens goal shooter Mwai Kumwenda and Magpies’ defender Geva Mentor while the top four clash between West Coast and Swifts sees the potential for England Roses teammates Stacey Francis and Helen Housby battle it out for their respective sides. The other game of the round will also see a contest between the in-form Romelda Aiken and Phumza Maweni along with a couple of young guns in Cara Koenen and Tara Hinchliffe. Round 13 welcomes the battle between a couple of international stars in Jodi-Ann Ward and Steph Wood while West Coast Fever’s Courtney Bruce is likely to line-up on Harten. A goal circle battle between Shamera Sterling and Swifts’ Sam Wallace will set tongues wagging while the final game of the round sees Gabi Simpson and Liz Watson go head to head.

2020 Suncorp Super Netball Preview: Round 12

ROUND 12 sees some big match-ups as clubs look to keep their finals hopes alive with the Thunderbirds, GIANTS and Firebirds all teetering on the edge of a finals berth with four wins apiece. West Coast will be out to leapfrog their opponents and steal second spot on the ladder as the Vixens hope to hold onto top spot.

West Coast Fever v. NSW Swifts
Saturday, 12 August

The Fever will be on a high heading into their clash with the reigning premiers after trouncing their Round 11 opponents by 20 goals. Meanwhile the Swifts will be hoping to work their way back onto the winners list and find some continuity in what has been an up and down season.

Jhaniele Fowler is an unstoppable force under the post, consistently recording ridiculously high numbers however the work out the front from Alice Teague-Neeld has enabled the goal shooter to recapture elements of her 2018 form. The chopping and changing in defence for the Swifts in the way of Lauren Moore and Maddy Turner is something to keep an eye on as they look to offset Teague-Neeld or potentially help Sarah Klau by doubling back on the Jamaican shooter.

The Swifts are gifted with a multitude of options through the midcourt with Paige Hadley, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Maddy Proud and Tayla Fraser all handy choices and have proven they can come on and have an impact. With no Ingrid Colyer, Emma Cosh has well and truly stepped up to the plate and is getting better and better with more court time while Verity Charles is arguably in career-best form in centre. When it comes to the shooting circle the Swifts have lacked a bit of cohesion with Sam Wallace, Helen Housby and Sophie Garbin all labouring and clumping together which will play into the hands of the Fever defence as Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis are master-readers of the play. Even if Bruce and Francis are not up to the challenge, Sunday Aryang has been a revelation this season while Olivia Lewis has shown she is no slouch down back.

Collingwood Magpies v. Melbourne Vixens
Saturday, 12 August

Having not played each other since Round 1, a lot has changed with the Magpies losing a couple of integral members through the midcourt in Madi and Kelsey Browne while the Vixens have really kicked into gear. The Vixens hold a firm grip on top spot while the Magpies languish down the bottom of the table, however that will not stop either side from putting on a show given their crosstown rivalry.

There is no denying that the combination between Mwai Kumwenda and Caitlin Thwaites has developed at a rate of knots in 2020 with the two effortlessly pairing in the goal circle while the injection of Tegan Philip’s speed can slice a game right open. Geva Mentor has been a consistent factor for Collingwood down back as Jodi-Ann Ward powers through in goal defence out the front. The Magpies will be hoping to find an answer in the form of Mel Bragg to shut down Liz Watson with the wing attack in hot form and often setting up the attacking forays for the Vixens. Partner in crime Kate Moloney is another player Collingwood will hope to contain given her explosiveness and ability to break a game wide open, meaning the responsibility will land on either Kelly Altmann or Molly Jovic to quell her influence through the middle.

Shimona Nelson has had a rocky 2020 season, often fading in and out of games which is an area she will be hoping to rectify while Gabby Sinclair has proven more than once she is up to the challenge especially when it comes to the super shot. Emma Ryde has also been a good impact player for the Pies however the Vixens have an extremely cohesive defensive unit, even if Emily Mannix is missing, with Simone McKinnis able to shuffle the cards between Kate Eddy, Jo Weston, Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Allie Smith.

Sunshine Coast Lightning v. Queensland Firebirds
Sunday, 13 August

The Lightning have struggled to generate their usual dominance this season and are coming off another heavy loss at the hands of the Fever. On the other hand, the Firebirds have found their groove and confidence making for an intriguing battle between the two Queensland sides.

With a new sense of confidence in the goal circle Romelda Aiken has elevated her game in 2020, holding strong under the post and dominating the airwaves allowing Tippah Dwan to be a menace out the front. Dwan has proven she is no slouch consistently tearing games apart with her two point shooting, something the Lightning defenders will have to be acutely aware of if they are to stop the Firebirds in their tracks. Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni are no easy beats, however Maweni gives away close to 10 centimetres meaning it will take a full court defensive effort from the likes of Laura Langman and the rotating wing defence’s Maddy McAuliffe and Jacqui Russell if they are to stop the ball from getting down to the inform shooter.

The Firebirds have a wealth of midcourt options and have proven they are not afraid to use the bench with Macy Gardner, Mahalia Cassidy, Lara Dunkley and Jemma Mi Mi all viable options through the centre. The Lightning on the other end tend to stick to a consistent line-up with the most changes coming in the shooting circle between Cara Koenen, Steph Wood and Peace Proscovia. Koenen has really come into her own this season however the hesitancy on the release into her under the post could play into the hands of the ball hungry Firebirds defensive unit in Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe. Pair that with their physical nature and it could upset the Lightning in attack while Gabi Simpson’s work off the ball will be integral in nullifying the impact of Laura Scherian around circle edge to limit the Lightnings’ chance of scoring.

Adelaide Thunderbirds v. GIANTS Netball
Sunday, 13 August

The final game of the round sees an intense battle between two sides hoping to keep their finals hopes alive. Adelaide and the GIANTS are evenly poised across the court and sitting just outside the top four know just how much a win means if they are to cause headaches come the pointy end of the season.

There is no denying that Georgie Horjus has been a revelation in season 2020 with her ability to sink super shots often keeping her side in touch while the connection between her and Lenize Potgieter continuously gets better. The ball placement and movement from Chelsea Pitman and Maisie Nankivell is crucial to the Thunderbirds meaning it will be up to the midcourt duo of Amy Parmenter – if she returns after missing Round 11 – and Jamie-Lee Price to shut down her drive in attack. However Kristiana Manu’a proved she is also a viable option out in wing defence if needed given the defensive capability of Matilda McDonell, Sam Poolman and April Brandley, all able to rotate through circle defence.

Shamera Sterling is a menace in the air, able to consistently win ball back for her side while Layla Guscoth, Shadine van der Merwe and Kate Shimmin are dogged in defence making for an exciting battle between the rotating GIANTS shooting trio of Kiera Austin, Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett, with the latter hoping to secure some regular court time.

SSN stats wrap: Round 10/11

TWO huge rounds opened September’s Suncorp Super Netball proceedings, with the second draw, a couple of shaky performances by finals contenders and a huge Queensland Firebirds win telling the tale of the week in netball. Instead of combining player stats from the two rounds as we did earlier in the season, we will now take a look at the two different rounds of competitions separately and delve into the top performers based on individual outings. While Nat Medhurst has not played a game in season 2020 after taking leave for her pregnancy, the Magpies goaler retired during the week marking the end of another era. A huge asset to Australian netball, Medhurst’s ability to goal from anywhere, her constant drive to be the best and her perseverance saw an illustrious career pan out over the last 17 years. 


As usual, it is tough to skate past the incredible effort of Jhaniele Fowler who once again put up a huge amount of goals against the Vixens, shooting 59 from 62 attempts in the draw. Three players hit the 40-mark with Sam Wallace and Romelda Aiken both putting up 43 goals at 90 per cent and 80 per cent respectively, while Lenize Potgieter was unstoppable with 41 goals from 46. When it came to goal attacks, Kiera Austin stood up once more for the GIANTS with 31 goals to her name – including five super shots – while Tippah Dwan impressed in the Firebirds’ win over the Swifts with 26 goals (18 from 22 in regular time plus eight from nine super shots). Alice Teague-Neeld may have had a quiet game at the post but racked up 23 assists and two intercepts, while Liz Watson was held well in the first half against the Fever but still managed to lead all comers on goal assists with 25 to her name.

Emma Cosh was also in the mix for Fever with 19 goal assist in her first full SSN match, finding Fowler with ease at the post. Lara Dunkley also put in a solid performance out in wing attack with 21 assists and three deflections. Maddy McAuliffe has stepped up this season and was relentless against the GIANTS coming away with two intercepts against Jamie-Lee Price who managed five gains, while Maisie Nankivell and Mel Bragg cancelled each other out with a couple of intercepts apiece and Vixens debutant Allie Smith put herself out there with two intercepts in her half on court. When it came to circle defenders, Courtney Bruce seems to be completely over the back niggle that kept her out of matches early in the season with six deflections (four gains), while Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni were huge in the Lightning’s win over GIANTS, combining for 13 gains. Shamera Sterling came up with six gains of her own following up from an ankle injury, aided by a huge effort from Layla Guscoth (two intercepts).


While both Fowler and Aiken were up there for goals scored once more in the second round of the week (55 and 45 goals respectively), Mwai Kumwenda put up a huge 48 goals from 51 attempts (one super shot) in the Vixens’ win over the Swifts, in a round that saw just about every other team share the load at the post. Youngsters Georgie Horjus and Dwan held up well once more (17 from 21 and 15 from 21, respectively), while Caitlin Bassett shone with 19 goals from 20 attempts and continued the trend of the GIANTS winning when she is on the court. In attack, Watson overcame an early ankle roll to still topscore the goal assists tally with 26 this round, closely followed by Verity Charles (23), Cosh and Nankivell (both 22). 

When it came to defensive efforts this round, it was not just the defenders who had all the fun in a solid week for midcourt defence as 12 midcourters registered at least one intercept to their name – Dwan was the outlier with three intercepts out in goal attack. Sam Poolman and Geva Mentor cancelled each other out in a tight battle between the GIANTS and Magpies with seven gains (four intercepts) apiece while Bruce tallied the highest amount of gains for the week with 11 (four intercepts, six deflections, one rebound). The Firebirds defensive unit of Gabi SimpsonTara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner was consistent as ever, combining for seven intercepts while Vixens’ Kadie-Ann Dehaney racked up four of her own in the absence of Emily Mannix. Stacey Francis was a tough opponent in goal defence, registering eight pickups such was her hunt for the loose ball, while Caitlin Thwaites racked up six pickups in her first full match in goal attack, relishing the extra space to take charge of the ball.

Courtside Comments: Round 1 – Maisie Nankivell
Courtside Comments: Round 2 – Tippah Dwan
Courtside Comments: Round 5 – Georgie Horjus
Courtside Comments: Round 9 – Alice Teague-Neeld
Courtside Comments: Round 11 – Mel Bragg

SSN Momentum shifts: Round 11

IT was another action packed round of Suncorp Super Netball as Round 11 saw some phenomenal matchups across every 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.

NSW Swifts (55) defeated by Melbourne Vixens (62)

Sending an injury scare through the Vixens camp early, the class of Liz Watson came to the forefront in the third quarter with the wing attack taking the game by the scruff of the neck and putting her foot down in attack. With the Swifts still in the hunt, the Vixens were determined to keep top spot as things started to well and truly kick into gear. Watson’s combination with Mwai Kumwenda was evident as the two continuously linked up to overcome the Swifts defence. Kumwenda had all the answers under the post, recording 13 goals at 100 per cent as Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner struggled to quell her influence. Watson was a workhorse in attack amassing nine goal assists as Sophie Craig failed to maintain her opponent’s explosiveness.

Sunshine Coast Lightning (52) defeated West Coast Fever (72)

A second quarter domination from the Fever flipped the script on the Lightning who had the early ascendancy and control of the game. down by a goal  at the break the attack end well and truly kicked into gear as Emma Cosh ran riot with her impressive ball placement, speed and second phase play amassing 11 goal assists from 11 feeds highlighting both her accuracy and that of the goalers in Jhaniele Fowler and Alice Teague-Neeld. Defensively the Lightning had no answers for Fowler who went on a tear, sinking 16 goals at 100 per cent, while Teague-Neeld highlighted her playmaking capabilities to keep Karla Pretorius busy and isolate Phumza Maweni and Fowler under the post. This change up enabled the Fever to put the foot down and therefore dictate the remainder of the game.

GIANTS Netball (62) defeated Collingwood Magpies (58)

Once again the introduction of Caitlin Bassett seemed to be the answer the GIANTS were looking for as the Diamonds captain and goal shooter entered the game midway through the third term and had an immediate impact, nailing three consecutive goals. Bassett’s entrance into the game pushed Jo Harten out to goal attack where the English international did not skip a beat, relishing the extra court space and plying her defensive craft to create a deflection. The switch also prompted Kiera Austin to move into wing attack as her ball placement and connection with Harten and Bassett paid off creating headaches for the Pies defenders in Geva Mentor, Jodi-Ann Ward and Matilda Garrett.

Adelaide Thunderbirds (59) defeated by Queensland Firebirds (61)

Although the Firebirds ended up securing the win it was Adelaide Thunderbirds goaler Georgie Horjus that wreaked havoc and swung the momentum into the favour of the home side more than once. Each time the Firebirds got a run on, the 18-year-old found a spark whether it be with her timely drives or accuracy to post to ensure that the Thunderbirds were never fully out of the race. The young goaler was simply unstoppable when it came to the super shot, sinking seven of 10 for the game but it was her last quarter performance that really gave her side a chance. Horjus nailed back-to-back super shots cutting the margin to a mere goal as her hot hand rubbed off on Lenize Potgieter under the post. Maisie Nankivell also sparked the side into action as they looked to steal the win but fell agonisingly short.

Vixens topple Swifts to continue ladder-leading ways

IT was a battle of one and two to open Round 11, with the Melbourne Vixens and NSW Swifts going head to head for the second time in Suncorp Super Netball season 2020. Once again it was the Vixens that came out on top in a huge battle, running out seven goal victors (62-55) and collecting the Sargeant-McKinnis Cup in the process.

A tight defensive start saw both sides have to work hard for the ball, with no easy access into the goal circle just as expected. While the Vixens got the early break, an error forced on the transverse line saw the Swifts draw even once more with tight defence negating a pass straight under the post. Sam Wallace had a great start on Kadie-Ann Dehaney, while Sarah Klau was ready for a hunt from the opening minutes, attacking the ball and creating hesitance on the feed from Liz Watson and Kate Moloney

Maddy Proud had a fantastic start driving down court, scrapping with Moloney and doing what she had to do to get ball in hand. Wallace was all but lapping Dehaney, finding space with ease and using her strong hands to snatch the ball out of the air. While the Vixens had a patient start, the Swifts were testing the Vixens with their continuous hunt, not letting any easy passes go down the court and giving the Vixens a taste of their own medicine with hands over every ball. The speed with which the Swifts transition was too quick for the Vixens to block off, seeing both sides go goal for goal for majority of the quarter, unable to get a break.

The super shot period began with a missed attempt from Helen Housby and the Vixens were quick to punish, getting a single on the board before Caitlin Thwaites extended the scoreline with a super shot. A deflection from Klau and awkward fall from Watson saw a forced change from the Vixens and Tayla Honey on the court, with the Swifts racing down the court and continuing to ply their trade on the front. The Vixens managed to stay two goals ahead, although connections in attack seemed to not fire as well, with a couple of shots from the Swifts the home side even up the ledger by the first break. 

Honey took the court once more to start the second, with the Vixens confident in her ability to hold down the attack, with both sides getting another few goals on the board off their own centre passes. Nat Haythorthwaite’s quick feet and feeds continued to pay off, patiently and confidently finding Housby and Wallace inside the circle. Contesting Housby and transitioning well through the midcourt toward the other end, Jo Weston did a heap of work on the transverse line to allow resetting from the Vixens frontline. The Swifts were working overtime to get the ball into the goal circle, with Kate Eddy upping her game out in wing defence to deny access to circle edge.

Watson headed back out to wing attack after a tactical timeout from the Swifts, with the side lifting immediately to put three goals straight on the board. The feeds into Mwai Kumwenda were excellent, exploiting the back space and denying Klau a chance at getting a hand to the airball. Proud continued to challenge every ball that came her way, and while she collected a couple of penalties it did the job to force a couple costly errors from the Vixens in attack. 

Housby was working overtime in attack for the Swifts, having to get into everything with Haythornthwaite and Proud being kept away from circle edge. While Klau had all the accolades early, Kumwenda stepped up in the second and piled on the offensive pressure, although toward the end of the quarter Klau stepped up her game once more with a couple of confidence-boosting deflections to her name. Midcourt defence from both the Swifts and Vixens was immense, with turnovers from both sides creating opportunities at opposing ends and seeing a seesawing quarter end in a three goal buffer going the way of the Vixens.

A huge second half saw the Swifts bite into the three-goal Vixens lead straight off the bat thanks to the centre pass, while Proud did everything in her power to have a crack at the loose ball. Despite the pass not going her way, the Vixens spilled a turnover to allow the Swifts a look in, adding two more goals to their tally to even up the scoreline before the Vixens could put a score on the board.

The Vixens continued to force the Swifts high in attack, although it seemed the Swifts had stolen back some of the momentum after half-time. Paige Hadley stepped out into centre and added a new defensive layer alongside Sophie Craig in at wing defence, although an intercept from Dehaney off the hands of Hadley saw the Vixens steal back a lead once more as Moloney got in on the action with a handy tip to see the Vixens put seven straight goals on the board to cut the Swifts’ momentum. Dehaney continued to have a great impact this quarter with hands to loose ball once more, seeing a six-goal lead the way of the Vixens force Briony Akle to call a tactical timeout. 

The Swifts bit into the lead once more after a couple of clumsy Vixens penalties, seeing Wallace head to the bench and Housby into goal shooter alongside Sophie Garbin. The physicality upped a level in the third quarter, with both teams doing whatever it took to get the ball and the contact penalties racking up. While both sides were looking to add a super shot to their tally, neither could find the post as required until one on the siren to Kumwenda saw the Vixens head into the final quarter with a nine goal buffer.

Wallace returned to take on Dehaney as the final quarter began, while the defensive end of the Swifts made the change once more as Lauren Moore headed back into goal defence. While Watson had seemed a bit proppy on her ankle earlier in the match, she began to shine in the final quarter, finding Kumwenda at the post with ease and adjusting her feeding accordingly after Klau’s deflections in the second and third. 

The Vixens’ defence around circle edge was huge, forcing continuous chipping and allowing Weston and Dehaney to get hands to ball. While a lot of the loose ball gets were down to the effort of Moloney and Eddy, there was no doubt that the confusion of space from Weston and Dehaney played a huge role in maintaining the Vixens lead, with Kumwenda maintaining her stellar accuracy at the other end and starring at the post alongside Thwaites. Soon enough the Vixens had pulled out to an 11-goal lead, with the Swifts still looking for answers in attack as Gaerbin and Haythornthwaite returned to the court and seven minutes on the clock. 

The super shot period saw the Swifts need a few on the board if they were to mount a comeback, with Housby coming to the rescue to reduce the margin by four goals and forcing Vixens coach Simone McKinnis into the side’s first tactical timeout of the match. The Swifts continued to attack every ball, with Maddy Turner managing critical hands to ball to put the Vixens off. With a six goal and just over two minutes to play, the Swifts continued to tally the super shots and stole away valuable momentum. The Vixens needed to control ball down the court to ensure they did not waste possession, and it paid off. The Vixens weathered the storm, with a last super shot from Garbin after the siren not enough as the Swifts went down by seven goals, 55-62.

Player of the match Kumwenda tallied 48 goals (one super shot) to go with her two deflections, while Thwaites played out the whole game in goal attack, putting up 11 goals (two super shots) and turning it on out the front with 14 assists. Watson had a solid impact despite spending time off the court, tallying 24 assists and two gains, while Weston and Dehaney combined for nine gains (five intercepts, four of which to Dehaney). For the Swifts, Wallace topscored with 30 from 33, while Housby put up 12 goals (three super shots from seven attempts) and Garbin was handy during her time on court with seven from eight including two super shots. Proud’s ability to find the loose ball saw her tally four pickups to go with her one gain and 17 goal assists, while defensively Klau collected the sole Swifts intercept. 


NSW SWIFTS 17 | 13 | 10 | 15 (55)
MELBOURNE VIXENS 17 | 16 | 16 | 13 (62)


GS: Sam Wallace
GA: Helen Housby
WA: Nat Haythornthwaite
C: Maddy Proud
WD: Paige Hadley
GD: Maddy Turner
GK: Sarah Klau


GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Caitlin Thwaites
WA: Liz Watson
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Kate Eddy
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Kadie-Ann Dehaney

SSN Momentum Shifts: Round 10

ROUND 10 of Suncorp Super Netball saw some phenomenal matchups across every 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.

Melbourne Vixens (63) drew with West Coast Fever (63)

The final five minutes of the third quarter saw the Melbourne Vixens mount an almighty comeback that filtered into the fourth term. Four consecutive super shots – three off the hand of Caitlin Thwaites and one after the whistle to Mwai Kumwenda – enabled the Vixens to cull the 14-goal buffer to eight at the final change. With a pep in their step coming out of the break the Vixens toiled hard in attack as Kumwenda and Thwaites slotted seven of the first 10 goals while Liz Watson upped the ante to give the Vixens all the momentum in the final term. Jo Weston came to life while the work of Allie Smith and Kate Eddy stood tall as they blocked the flow of goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler and Alice Teague-Neeld in the Fever attack.

NSW Swifts (64) defeated by Queensland Firebirds (77)

The Firebirds came to play from the opening whistle, asserting themselves on the contest and dominating on the scoreboard. A purple patch in the latter stages of the quarter saw the home team skip out to a seven goal lead as Tippah Dwan and Romelda Aiken carved up the defensive combination of Maddy Turner, Sarah Klau and Lauren Moore. The Firebirds goal shooter in Aiken set the tone instantaneously, commanding the ball under the post allowing Dwan to get to work around her with her quick footwork to keep her respective opponent occupied. The midcourters in Mahalia Cassidy and Lara Dunkley were unstoppable around circle edge, as the Firebirds attacked hard to push the Swifts onto the back foot.

GIANTS Netball (65) defeated Sunshine Coast Lightning (67)

In a see-sawing affair it was Kiera Austin who kept the GIANTS in the hunt. Down by as many as eight goals in the dying minutes of the third quarter, the goal attack single-handedly dragged her side back into the contest, showcasing her impressive range and accuracy to convert two super shots. Austin was a menace, driving hard into the space and syncing up with Jo Harten who also managed to hit a super shot, working alongside Maddie Hay and Jamie-Lee Price with great ease. Her increased intensity across the court sparked the GIANTS side which entered the break with their tails up and while they did not go on to win the contest, going down with five seconds left on the clock, this passage of play in the third term set them up for the comeback that ensued.

Adelaide Thunderbirds (60) defeated Collingwood Magpies (49)

It was a final quarter blitz from the Adelaide Thunderbirds that gifted them an 11-goal victory in front of a home crowd for the first time this season. Geva Mentor seemed to have no answers for the in-form Lenize Potgieter despite the South African goaler missing more shots than usual, while Georgie Horjus continued on her merry way out in goal attack. Potgieter went on a tear in the closing minutes of the game stringing seven consecutive goals together. Strong under the post, Potgieter relished the drive and quick hands of Maisie Nankivell and Tayla Williams out in the midcourt. up the other end, Shamera Sterling played a key role with an intercept and a couple of deflections to gift her side the opportunity to push forward and inflict scoreboard pain.