Tag: NSW Swifts

Draft Central’s free 2020 Suncorp Super Netball magazine

We are excited to announce our second Suncorp Super Netball magazine just in time for the season to begin. Faced with unprecedented times, Draft Central has worked hard to construct a magazine for netball lovers across the globe focusing on the 2020 SSN season and briefly recapping the 2019 action.

The magazine includes individual player profiles in each team as well as a list of training partners to ensure you can stay up to date with all the SSN news. You can find player features from Melbourne Vixens youngster Elle McDonald and Collingwood Magpies replacement player Molly Jovic inside, as well as the Draft Central team’s predictions for the season ahead.

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SSN 2020 update: Rule adjustments

WITH Round 1 of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season just around the corner, some last minute rule adjustments have been made to the season to ensure player safety and wellbeing due to the condensed season. Committed to a full 60 game season over a shorter time frame with midweek games in the mix, the SSN is taking a cautious approach to protect the players and ensure player management.

The introduction of extra time was supposed to come into play this season as a result of a number of draws last season. However that rule has been scrapped for the 2020 season to accommodate for the heavier workload players will be faced with in the upcoming season. While it might not seem like a huge difference having to play an extra couple of minutes on top of their already top heavy schedule could have a major influence on player recovery.

“I think the ones (rules) that came out today don’t affect us too much from an on court perspective and planning for those games you know, as athletes and competitors, you want to get a result but I think the league has put it in, and it is a sensible decision, because we are going to be backing it up and playing a couple of games a week,” Melbourne Vixens co-captain, Kate Moloney told media on Tuesday.

The bonus point, while controversial when it was first brought in, has become a key part of the SSN competition but will not take effect this season in order to focus on player management. In the past many teams have kept their starting seven players on the court in hope to secure that elusive bonus point and give them a boost on the ladder. With the incentive not in place for the 2020 season it will hopefully encourage teams to rotate players instead of pushing players to win a bonus point in the dying seconds of the quarter.

Another key change ahead of the season is the introduction of extended benches meaning clubs can bring a full 10 member squad plus two additional players whether they be training partners or players outside of that scope as long as they fulfil the appropriate requirements. This rule change will allow teams to have more flexibility with players on court and seamlessly rotate when they see fit to guarantee each player can receive a sufficient amount of rest time. Furthermore the extra players can alternate from game to game depending on team needs giving the teams more flexibility.

“I think that’s going to be huge,” fellow co-captain, Liz Watson said. “We’re playing two games most weeks. So I think it’s a smart decision by the league to do this, and actually, it’s very sensible. It actually is giving players the opportunity to run off if they are feeling niggles or whatever it may be, and not actually pushing just that seven or 10 each game.”

The inclusion of two extra bench players allows young up and coming players to ply their trade at the elite level and gain some valuable minutes on court. With the Australian Netball League (ANL) not taking place this season, the opportunity could give some of the domestic league players a chance to step out on court and mix it with the best in the business which could be a huge positive in the long run.


SSN 2020: First six rounds of fixture revealed

FRIDAY morning saw the long awaited release of the first six rounds of the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball fixture, with the season beginning in just over a week on August 1. Rather than one round per week, the addition of mid-week matches will see these first six rounds play out across just 23 days.

While an announcement during the week stated that the entire season is expected to be played in Queensland, the first phase of fixturing will see NSW Swifts and GIANTS Netball remain in Sydney for the first three rounds with both West Coast Fever and Adelaide Thunderbirds joining the two New South Wales-based sides there. 

This round robin-style of fixturing will see the Queensland hub look much the same, with the first couple of rounds featuring the Queensland-based sides – Queensland Firebirds, Sunshine Coast Lightning, Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies – competing against each other.

The season will open on Saturday, August 1 with a Queensland derby between Firebirds and Lightning, seeing the GIANTS and Fever go head-to-head next, followed by Swifts versus Thunderbirds and finishing with a Melbourne derby between Vixens and Magpies, with the two teams’ last clash a huge semi-final last season.

The fixture also sees a couple of major changes, with weekday scheduling in the mix for the first time, seeing a couple of rounds with Tuesday and Wednesday evening matches. Fans will not have to wait long, with the first Wednesday fixture taking place only three days after Round 1 finishes, with a Sydney derby between Swifts and GIANTS on August 5.

Also up there in terms of quality clashes, fans will look forward to a Round 4 grand final rematch between Lightning and Swifts, while as of yet a fixture for the highly contested Sargeant-McKinnis Trophy will have to wait, with the Swifts and Vixens not playing one another in the first six rounds.

The statement also suggests there is potential for matches to play out in Perth and Adelaide later in the season, pending border restrictions. 

The next phase of fixturing is expected to drop in mid-August.



Team previews:

Adelaide Thunderbirds

Collingwood Magpies

GIANTS Netball

Melbourne Vixens

NSW Swifts

Queensland Firebirds

Sunshine Coast Lightning

West Coast Fever

Suncorp Super Netball returns to court on August 1

AUSTRALIA’S top netball competition returns August 1.

In a massive announcement by the Suncorp Super Netball today, fans of the world’s top ranked league will have to wait just two months until they see their favourite stars out on court again. The other two major leagues in the world – the ANZ Premiership and Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) – had both made decisions on their returns in the past two weeks. While the VNSL opted to cancel the season citing concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, the ANZ Premiership will return on Friday, June 19.

The 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season will be a full 60-game season – which means 14 rounds where teams face off against the other seven teams twice – as well as the four-game finals series for the top four sides. The fixture is yet to be announced, but the timing of the announcement today – May 31 – is for clubs to train together from tomorrow – June 1 – whilst sticking to social distancing guidelines.

Suncorp Super Netball CEO Chris Symington said in the release on the Suncorp Super Netball website that the season start represents a significant step forward on the road to getting back on court.

“We’re thrilled that a season start date has been locked away, now all our stakeholders have a date to work towards and fans can start to get excited for the start of the season,” he said. “We are planning to play out a full home and away season, and we are confident that our start date gives us the best opportunity to achieve that.

“Our guiding principles throughout this process have never changed, those being the health and wellbeing of the community alongside the financial viability of our sport. “There has been a collective commitment to those principles from the whole system including players, teams, partners and broadcasters and we will continue to take that approach as we look to get our season underway.

“I would like to thank our dedicated members and fans who have stuck by their teams and the sport through an incredibly challenging period. We look forward to showcasing our world class athletes once again from August 1.”

For full player profiles on each Suncorp Super Netball team, check out our team pages:

Adelaide Thunderbirds | Collingwood Magpies | GIANTS Netball | Melbourne Vixens | NSW Swifts | Queensland Firebirds | Sunshine Coast Lightning | West Coast Fever

Furthermore, the 2020 Constellation Cup between the Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns will take place later this year, whilst the 2020 Quad Series that was meant to take place between the world’s top two nations, as well as England and South Africa, has been cancelled due to the impact of COVID-19 on international travel.

Top 10 players we’d like to see in the SSN: #3 – Jade Clarke

THE Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) is already home to a number of international stars making it one of the strongest netball competitions in the world. However, we as the Draft Central team are creating a list of top 10 players we would like to see join the competition. Coming in at number three is England Roses midcourter Jade Clarke.

While Clarke already briefly played in Australia throughout her career with both the NSW Swifts and during the inaugural Super Netball with Adelaide Thunderbirds as a replacement for Renae Ingles during 2016-17, she has proved time and time again over the years that despite being 36-years-old she still has plenty left in the tank. The defensive midcourter has been a crucial member for every team she has played in, with class, cleanliness and defensive pressure to boot. Her speed off the mark and ability to find circle edge allows her to be that handy versatile option in centre, while her hands over pressure and wingspan allow her to deflect plenty of crucial ball and stop teams in their tracks. 

Clarke’s vision on and off the ball is a real testament to her experience and consistency, able to find the ball in a split second and use her quick footwork to evade her opposition to make a clean intercept. Clarke is a critical member of Wasps Netball in the Vitality Netball Superleague and shows no signs of slowing, applying plenty of pressure on her opposition and denying easy takes at the centre pass. With experience already in the Australian competition, Clarke is one of those names who could easily slot into any available team if required. Clarke has plenty of Roses teammates in the Super Netball already which could ultimately be seen as a bonus for the veteran, though the real question would be whether clubs choose to go international or blood up some younger players if the 2020 Super Netball season goes ahead.

Top 10 players we’d like to see in the SSN:

#10 Joice Takaidza (Zimbabwe)
#9 Zanele Vimbela (South Africa)
#8 Joyce Mvula (Malawi)
#7 Razia Quashie (England)
#6 George Fisher (England)
#5 Fran Williams (England)
#4 Maia Wilson (New Zealand)
#3 Jade Clarke (England)

Compare the Pair: Nat Haythornthwaite and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing England Roses, Nat Haythornthwaite and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis.

Two highly versatile players, Haythornthwaite and Drakeford-Lewis don’t entirely match up – with Haythornthwaite predominantly a wing attack and Drakeford-Lewis typically a goal attack – but both can rotate into the other’s position with ease to create an extra option in and around the circle. With speed and netball nous driving down the court, the pair can both have a big impact on circle edge and have an ability to apply pressure on the scoreboard, throwing an extra spanner in the works for their opposition. The pair were both in the Roses squad for the three-match test series against South Africa in late 2019 and again for the Vitality Netball Nations Cup in January, with Haythornthwaite heading the team.

Haythornthwaite’s eye for the ball and ability to find open space is testament to her work off the body, using her quick feet to evade her opposition and create chaos through attack. Her clean hands and ability to land on circle edge make her a crucial option in attack for the NSW Swifts in the Suncorp Super Netball, working in tandem with fellow England international Helen Housby and crafting a solid partnership in and around the circle. Haythornthwaite does not find herself inside the circle all that often for the Swifts but is a solid option at the post if need be, able to control the ball well and slot in seamlessly. Her ability to get out at the centre is credit to her speed off the mark, quickly gaining ground and propelling the ball down the court.

21-year-old Drakeford-Lewis is still a relatively unknown quantity on the international stage with just the two caps under her belt, but has crafted an impressive pairing at the post with Australian Kim Commane at Team Bath over the past season. She sat at a shooting accuracy of 87 per cent for the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague season, winning the VNSL Young Player of the Season Award for her effort. With clean hands, quick footwork and an uncanny ability to evade her defender, Drakeford-Lewis continues to ply her trade in the goal circle with accuracy and volume alike. She is not afraid to shoot from distance or play more of a feeder role, able to provide that versatility that the Roses tend to have in the side. Drakeford-Lewis is one of 25 young players we put in our International Young Guns countdown, coming in at number 23.


Nat Haythornthwaite
50 caps, 2015-present

Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
2 caps, 2017-present

Do you opt experience or youth of the England Roses in the attacking third?
Nat Haythornthwaite
Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
Created with QuizMaker

Draft Central’s Top 25 International Young Guns countdown – #21/#20

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is making a case for the top 25 players under 25-years-old across the netball world. Next in line at number 21 and 20 respectively is a pair of 22-year-olds coming into the prime of their netball years in Razia Quashie and Sophie Garbin albeit playing up opposite ends of the court in defence and attack respectively.  With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

Razia Quashie has really come into her own this season, finding her form thanks to her physical nature and general ability to read the play. At just 22-years-old the goal keeper has made a name for herself at Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) level along with making her debut for the England Roses, a feat she will be hoping to build on as the year continues. While she is yet to lockdown a permanent position in the Roses outfit given the plethora of talent, her ability to have an impact on the court is second to none and plays a good cameo role when needed. She is a real leader down back for the Mavericks in the VNSL with her strength in the air consistently on display notching up an impressive 15 intercepts so far this season. Her combination with the likes of Jo Trip and Jodie Gibson has shaped the style of defender she is, allowing her to freely go out hunting for intercepts and backing herself in the contest despite being costly at times when it comes to penalties.

Sitting at 20 in our rankings is Sophie Garbin. The NSW Swifts representative a key cog in their premiership tilt. Garbin stood up when the likes of Helen Housby went down with her leg injury, shouldering the load in her non-preferred position of goal attack. Her effort is unquestionable always putting in 100 per cent and using her strong movement to have an impact in the goal circle. Although she is not the fastest player on court her impressive vision and netball understanding sets her apart from fellow goalers coming up through the ranks. Garbin’s ability to change up her game style from a holding shooter to a moving one is also important with the youngster steadily learning when to pull the trigger. In terms of accuracy Garbin is not afraid to back herself from range while her split allows her to claim to pivotal space in the circle. Her connection with the likes of Nat Haythornthwaite and Sam Wallace will only strengthen her game and take it to the next level something she will be hoping to do if she is to make her way into the Diamonds squad after being named in the Australia A team.

Top 25 so far:

25. Latanya Wilson (Jamaica)
24. Summer Artman (England)
23. Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (England)
22. Matilda Garrett (Australia)
21. Razia Quashie (England)
20. Sophie Garbin (Australia)

SSN Player focus: Maddy Turner

WHILE the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) might be done and dusted for 2019, we will review a number of talented players who stepped up this year and take a look at just what they have to offer and how they can improve further.

DOB: 17/12/1995
Height: 187cm
Position: GD/WD

NSW Swifts- Maddy Turner

Season overview:

The Swifts goal defence relished the opportunity to play out the front of Sarah Klau with the two combining to create a formidable duo down back. Their immense defensive pressure paid dividends going a long way in helping the Swifts win an elusive 2019 premiership.


Turner has the skill to shut down a player with her shadowing movement and immense hands over pressure. She works hard in defence using her read of the play to pick off passes or force turnovers. The goal defence pressures the attacker with her three-foot marking and persistent nature to force held balls and errant passes. Turner also acts as a good transition player, able to move the ball down the court and provide back-up on the transverse line to allow the front half to reset. Her connection with Klau caused headaches for the opposition with the two combining to shut down the defensive third by either coming off the body or confusing the space. Turner has a good lean over the shot, uses her body well to position under the post and can block opposition attackers.


There is no denying that Turner has the potential to be one of the most damaging defenders but will have to work on her endurance and game awareness to continue on her upwards trajectory. She has shown that she has plenty of class but can be wasteful at times with penalties or turnovers, and with time and further experience she will be able to hone her craft. At times she can go missing, unable to maintain her consistent four quarter pressure or gets outmanoeuvred by an opponent, an area in which she will be looking to address. She is not the flashiest player, often flying under the radar with her consistency and will need to add another string to her bow to evolve her game play and remain a constant threat down in defence.

Suncorp Super Netball: 2019 Awards season wrap

WITH both the Suncorp Super Netball officially over and award season done and dusted we look at which players took out the Most Valuable Player award at each club and their 2019 season.

Adelaide Thunderbirds: Maria Folau

The New Zealand Silver Ferns recruit had a huge influence on the Adelaide Thunderbirds leading from the front with her strong intent, accuracy to post and silky movement across the court. She proved to be a real general in the attack end controlling the flow and ball movement while also setting up plays to keep her side within striking distance. Folau offered plenty of leadership and was composed under pressure finishing the season with 331 goals.

Collingwood Magpies: Geva Mentor

After crossing from Sunshine Coast Lightning, Mentor did not skip a beat with the talented defender putting up a wall in defence and applying her signature pressure. The England Roses international displayed her class to cleanly get around the body of her opponent and force turnovers with her hands over pressure. Her timing and ability to read the play was vital to Collingwood’s success with the defender finishing with 33 rebounds, 86 deflections and 40 intercepts.

GIANTS Netball: Jo Harten

The English international maintained her hot form taking out the GIANTS MVP award after once again plying her trade in goals. Harten was cool, calm and collected carving up the court with her movement, drives and vision to open up the circle. Her ability to switch up her game plan from a holding shooter to a moving goaler is impressive and caused headaches for opposition sides. Harten finished the season with 302 goals from 376 attempts along with 142 assists credit to her ever growing partnership with Caitlin Bassett.

Melbourne Vixens: Emily Mannix

After a relatively quiet start to the season Mannix well and truly hit her straps in the latter half of the year upping the defensive pressure and leading the backend with her attacking mentality. The goal keeper did not take a backwards step throwing herself at every cross court ball and using her lean over the shot to worry her opponents out of going for goal. Mannix racked up 45 intercepts, 61 deflections and 14 rebounds to cap off her stellar season.

NSW Swifts: Sam Wallace

The Trinidad and Tobago goal shooter took her game up a level this season letting her laid back nature do the talking. Wallace was influential under the post for the Swifts oozing composure and class to take the ball in confined spaces and capitalising on her opportunities with 648 goals from 695 attempts. She used her silky footwork to edge closer to the post and stood up in the big matches when called upon.

Sunshine Coast Lightning: Karla Pretorius

In another exceptional season, Pretorius reigned supreme notching up her second Player of the Year credit to her tenacious nature and uncanny ability to win the ball back for her side. The goal defence went about her business using her speed and go-go gadget arms to full advantage picking up 69 intercepts, 72 deflections and 12 rebounds.

West Coast Fever: Jhaniele Fowler

The Jamaican goal shooter was the shining light for West Coast who struggled to live up to the hype of last year. She at times single handily won them games thanks to her commanding presence under the post, accuracy and volume. Fowler used her netball smarts to position well in the circle and win one on one battles with the defenders nailing 709 goals from 753 attempts at a staggering 94 per cent while also picking up 44 rebounds.

Queensland Firebirds: Gretel Tippett

Although it was a disappointing year for the Firebirds, Tippett took complete ownership across the court with her unpredictable nature, attacking flair and explosiveness. Renowned for her unorthodox style, Tippett went to a whole other level in season 2019 taking the lead in the attacking third and highlighting her accuracy to post with 394 goals from 411 attempts at 96 per cent. Her efforts under the post were equally matched by her work up the court notching up a massive 325 centre pass receives along with 130 assists to round out an incredible season.

NSW swiftly move onto finals after close encounter with Firebirds

NSW Swifts fans will be collectively sighing with relief after a heart-stopping one-goal win over Queensland Firebirds, 64-63. The teams might be pitted at opposite ends of the table, but with the Firebirds coming off their first win of the season last round, and the Swifts suffering a shock loss to Collingwood Magpies, the clash was a lot closer than ladder positions might suggest. Spectators at Qudos Bank Arena got everything they bargained for and more with arguably one of the most intense games of the season.

At first the Swifts raced away to a four-goal quarter time lead, having moved to as much as three goals ahead in the opening few minutes with English international star Helen Housby back in the fold after missing three weeks through injury. The goaling combination of Housby and Sam Wallace was back in full swing as the Swifts took control, but not before Gretel Tippett had a say midway through the term to level the scorers at eight goals apiece. A couple of crucial misses to Romelda Aiken was the only blemishes for the shooters, as Housby and Wallace shot six of the next seven goals after Aiken levelled the scores at 11-11. Trailing 17-12, the Firebirds managed to bridge the gap by one with an Aiken goal on the final whistle making the scores 18-14 at quarter time.

Wallace was firing on all cylinders with 11 goals from 11 attempts at 100 per cent, as Housby produced seven from seven and Tippett likewise six from six in a shooting masterclass. Natalie Haythornthwaite enjoyed having her countrywoman back in the goal circle, providing a remarkable 11 goal assists from 13 feeds, while all three of Paige Hadley‘s feeds resulted in goals, picking up an intercept at the same time. For the Firebirds, Caitlyn Nevins continued her terrific form from last game with four goal assists from nine feeds in the first term, as Jemma Mi Mi had six from eight, while Tara Hinchliffe picked up a crucial intercept.

The Firebirds owned the second quarter, with the visitors cutting the deficit to two in the opening couple of minutes, and by the four and a half minute mark of the term, scores were level. The Swifts goal combination was restricted to just seven goals in the first 10 minutes as the Firebirds raced out to a three-goal lead. Back-to-back goals and then four of the next six goals cut the deficit back to just one, before three consecutive Firebirds goals handed them a four goal lead. Wallace took two attempts to reduce the margin by the main break, but got it done with two seconds left on the clock.

Nevins was the star of the quarter with 12 goal assists from 15 feeds, while Tippett (10 goals from 12 assists) and Aiken (nine from 10) got the job done in the circle. Gabi Simpson locked down Haythornthwaite in the second term to restrict her to just three goal assists from six feeds after that massive first quarter, picking up an intercept and having a bigger role through the midcourt. Sarah Klau and Katrina Rore picked up a massive combined 17 penalties in the quarter, more than the entire Firebirds side as the likely wooden spooners held a remarkable 33-30 lead over the second placed Swifts at half-time.

The home crowd expected a big response from the Swifts to open the third term, but instead it was the Firebirds who came out with the intensity, firing off the first three goals of the quarter to stretch their lead out to a match-high six goals. It lit a fire under the Swifts belly as they sank 10 of the next 13 goals to not only eat into the deficit, but hit the front, 40-39. With the crowd up and about, the Firebirds needed a response of their own, and it came, with Aiken and Tippett adding three consecutive goals to push the margin back in their favour. The remainder of the quarter was largely goal-for-goal, with Wallace having a massive purple patch near the end of the term, scoring four of the last five goals as her side lead by one at the final break.

Wallace was the standout shooter in the term with 16 from 17, while Sophie Garbin took to the court and shot three from three, along with nine goal assists from 11 feeds to provide that spark in the attacking end and allowing Housby to take a break. Haythornthwaite managed six goal assists from 10 feeds, while Klau and Rore were both more efficient staying away from the whistle, only giving away a combined eight penalties in the quarter. Tippett continued her great accuracy with eight from eight, while Aiken had seven from eight, but the Firebirds struggled to penetrate the circle. Aiken had an equal team-high four goal assists to share the load with Tippett.

The final term was as even as they came with no more than two goals separating the sides at any one stage. Aiken put the visitors up by two, four minutes into the game, and while Wallace was able to level the scores, it was goal-for-goal for the most part right up until the end. Tippett took a huge intercept in the centre third and quickly transitioned down the court to put the Firebirds up by one with two minutes remaining, before Wallace levelled the scores, and then Housby sank the winner with 33 seconds on the clock, the Swifts defensive pressure enough to see them home. Wallace’s eight goals from eight attempts was superb as Housby re-entered the game in hot form contributing strongly with five goals, while Hadley had five goal assists from 13 feeds. Tippett again ran at 100 per cent with nine goals from nine attempts, while Nevins had a really productive seven assists from nine feeds, and Mi Mi produced four assists from her four feeds.

Tippett was announced Player of the Match despite the loss, for her 33 goals from 35 assists, as well as seven goal assists from 22 feeds, one intercept and one rebound. Nevins was also superb in her farewell game with 27 goal assists from 40 feeds, as Aiken shot 30 goals from 35 attempts, assisting Tippett on eight occasions from 10 feeds. For the Swifts, Wallace managed 43 goals from 45 attempts, both of her feeds were goal assists, and she picked up a feed and an intercept. Haythornthwaite and Hadley were still productive in the midcourt with a combined 37 goal assists, while the defensive end was penalised more than they would have liked with Diamond, Klau picking up a couple of cautions to go with her 21 penalties. Overall the Swifts move through to face Sunshine Coast Lightning for a spot in the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final, while the Firebirds season comes to an end.


NSW Swifts:

GS | Sam Wallace
GA | Helen Housby
WA | Natalie Haythornthwaite
C | Paige Hadley
WD | Maddy Turner
GD | Sarah Klau
GK | Katrina Rore

Queensland Firebirds:

GS | Romelda Aiken
GA | Gretel Tippett
WA | Caitlyn Nevins
C | Jemma Mi Mi
WD | Gabi Simpson
GD | Kim Jenner
GK | Tara Hinchliffe