Suncorp Super Netball: Round One review as Vixens and Fever start strongly

Pamela Cookey

Netball Expert & Columnist

England international Pamela Cookey reviews the start of the Suncorp Super Netball season in Australia; 60 live matches will be shown on Sky Sports; fans are able to watch England internationals Helen Housby, Jo Harten, Stacey Francis-Bayman, Geva Mentor and Eboni Usoro-Brown in action

Last Updated: 28/03/22 5:53pm

West Coast Fever impressed in their first game of the new season

England international Pamela Cookey takes a look back at the start of the Suncorp Super Netball season in Australia, with round one featuring victories for the Adelaide Thunderbirds, GIANTS, Melbourne Vixens and West Coast Fever.

What a fab start it was to the new Suncorp Super Netball season this weekend just gone, with four highly contested games.

The new season started on Saturday with Collingwood Magpies against Adelaide Thunderbirds and after 60 minutes of all-action netball, the Thunderbirds came out on top by 54-50.

Thunderbirds won three out of the four quarters and looked the more confident of the two teams throughout. Collingwood were missing their head coach and superstar Ash Brazil due to Covid protocols, but do not let that take away from the youthful performance of the Thunderbids.

Georgie Horjus, who was named player of the match, had a great game at wing attack and goal attack for the Thunderbirds. She shot at 90.9 per cent and complemented Lenize Potgieter brilliant. Potgieter herself reached an outstanding milestone during the first quarter too, by scoring her 1,000th Suncorp Super Netball.

In Thunderbirds’ defensive end, Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson – the two Jamaican team-mates – worked well together to keep new recruit Sophie Garbin quiet. The fact they are playing together week in and week out, could be extremely important for Jamaica too, with the Commonwealth Games on the horizon.

Suncorp Super Netball – Round One results

Adelaide Thunderbirds 54-50 Collingwood Magpies
NSW Swifts 55-57 GIANTS
Queensland Firebirds 65-70 Melbourne Vixens
West Coast Fever 82-63 Sunshine Coast Lightning

Next, it was a rematch of last year’s Grand Final between the NSW Swifts and the GIANTS. Unlike last year’s final the GIANTS were the victors 57-55 at the Ken Rosewall Arena.

GIANTS started well. They pushed 5-1 up early on as Jo Harten’s middle release pulled apart Swift’s defence. At the other end, April Brandly had to step up in GIANTS’ defensive circle due to injuries and illness, and she did that well. Amy Parmenter at wing defence, continued where she left off in 2021, and created all sorts of problems for her wing attacks.

This Sydney derby was fierce, with bodies flying all over the shop, and reigning champions the Swifts not going down without a fight. Sarah Klau applied pressure and the shooting from Helen Housby and Sammy Wallace could not be faulted.

But it was Wallace’s ACL injury in the last quarter that brought the greatest tears. With the Swifts bench having been a talking point in pre-season, after the loss of Nat Metcalf and Sophie Garbin in the signing window, Wallace’s injury is a real blow to them. Of course, we all wish Sammy a very speedy recovery after such a nasty injury.

The game of the round came on Sunday between the Queensland Firebirds and the Melbourne Vixens, and it finished 70-65 to the Vixens.

It was so lovely to see Kira Austin back on court after her ACL injury, but it was Rahni Samason coming on at goal attack, who really stole the show.

Samason’s partnership with Mwai Kumwenda is a new one but it’s already slick. Samason is fearless at going to post and highly accurate. Then, when you add Liz Watson into that attacking end, sparks fly in the best way!

The Vixens’ 25-goal third quarter was the clincher, however, the Firebirds brought it right back. I’m still fan girl-ling Gretal Bueta. If you watched, you will know what’s coming next… that last-quarter interception into a long shot. On point!

With only 37 per cent of the time in possession, and still being able to get the win, the Vixens are definitely my tip for this season.

Finally, we had West Coast Fever’s 82-62 victory over Sunshine Coast Lightning on Sunday, which marked Dan Ryan’s first league game in charge of Fever.

In Sasha Glasgow, Fever now have a goal attack that’s not afraid to go to post and is not just going to be a third feeder. Glasgow is accurate on the shot too and shifting Alice Teague-Neal to wing attack was a classy move from Ryan.

Teague-Neal is a playmaker and understands how to give space to her centre and goal attack, while supporting where needed.

Suncorp Super Netball – Round Two

Saturday at 6:30am NSW Swifts vs Melbourne Vixens Live on Sky Sports Mix
Saturday at 8:45am Sunshine Coast Lightning vs Queensland Firebirds Live on Sky Sports Mix
Sunday at 4:30am Collingwood Magpies vs West Coast Fever Live on Sky Sports Mix
Sunday at 6:45am Adelaide Thunderbirds vs GIANTS Live on Sky Sports Mix

Across Fever’s defensive unit, they delivered masterclasses and when you have your shooters working at 92 per cent accuracy, it’s a great day at the office! Ryan should be a very happy head coach right now.

For Lightning, their new defensive end needs time to gel. Losing Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius is big and you could see the leadership weight on Steph Wood’s shoulders. As a team, they still put 62 goals up though, and once their defence can find their way, they could upset those around them.

Overall, it was great to watch Suncorp Super Netball live on Sky Sports and be able to see all of these teams play. The production was great, the court craft of an epic standard and the analysis insightful. If this is what we can expect week in week out, then I’m a very happy netball fan!

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