NS Scoreboard: SSN Round 5, 2024


Ruth Aryang (11th player) made her debut for West Coast Fever

Grace Whyte (Swifts) made her debut, taking the place of an injured Maddy Proud. 


Ruth Aryang got some serious elevation during her debut for Fever. Sharing the circle with her sister Sunday was extra special. Image: Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography


Grace Whyte debuted for the Swifts. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography




Kelsey Browne (Fever) was rested for player management reasons. The centre has played a lot of court time over the past four rounds, and was sore after experiencing several heavy bumps against Swifts last weekend. 

Courtney Bruce (Lightning) experienced calf soreness during the last round, and was omitted. 

Mahalia Cassidy (Lightning) experienced a significant ankle injury during the last round and was omitted.

Elle Cardwell (Mavericks) resting ankle injury sustained in Round 4

Maddy Proud (Swifts) late omission due to a knee issue.  

Kate Eddy (Vixens) left the court to have her knee restrapped, but didn’t return to court. 


Maddy Proud was out injured with an unspecified knee issue. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography





News of the Week


Well, what do we say about the chaotic and embarrassing scenes that occurred at Ken Rosewall Arena for the GIANTS v Lightning game. With time running out in regulation, the television scoreboard and Champion Data’s live scoring had the two teams level at 71-71. But the stadium scoreboard instead showed Lightning ahead 71-70. Thinking they were ahead by one, Lightning didn’t attempt to score. They used up the clock, and when time ran out, they thought they had won. 

But the Giants team thought 71-71 was in fact the correct score and they protested. The scorers’ bench did a check and found that yes, that was actually the case. There was mass confusion in the stadium as time went by and nobody seemed to know what would happen next. Would it be called a draw or would they play extra time? Adding to the confusion, the Lightning team went back to the change rooms (as did the umpires), while the Giants stayed out on court. 

After an extended delay, it was decided that extra time would indeed be played. Lightning had to come back out and both teams warmed up, before it was back into the action again. Given a second chance, Giants dominated extra time, and celebrated their first win of the season. Meanwhile, almost exactly an hour after thinking they had won, Lightning ended up losers in heartbreaking fashion. Some of their players were in tears. The whole situation raised a lot of questions regarding player welfare and competition integrity

Netball Australia were quick to address the issue, finding that two errors had been made, and apologising to all involved. The score will stand however, and no review is possible under the rules. 


No one is quite sure what’s happening, but coach Julie Fitzgerald was adamant the game was drawn at the end of regular time. Image: Danny Dalton.


Nat Butler made her return to the SSN court when she played 16 minutes for the Mavericks on Saturday night. Butler was due to commentate with Fox Netball, but instead pulled on her sneakers and joined the game day 10 as a last-minute call-up replacement for Elle Cardwell. It was a strategic gamble by coach Tracey Neville who hoped that the preexisting connections between Jovic, Jok, Jenner and Butler would gel. Fans had mixed feelings however, taking to social media to voice their preference for a pathways athlete or training partner Uneeq Palavi to be given the opportunity instead.  


Nat Medhurst puts up a shot against the tough lean of Shamera Sterling. Image: Aliesha Vicars


Stacey West has been appointed as the CEO of Netball Australia. The former General Executive Manager has acted as the interim CEO since Kelly Ryan’s resignation.

In a strong league-wide statement, Super Netball players and umpires will wear purple armbands at all games for the rest of the season. The unified stance aims to shine a light on the ongoing national crisis of violence against women. ANPA President Jo Weston said,“One woman is killed every nine days by a current or former partner, and one in four women has experienced physical violence by a current or former partner. 

“Our sport is coming together to take a stand and say this must stop. We commit to doing more – to raising awareness and being a part of cultural change that must occur to stop this nation-wide problem.”


Players, umpires and coaches will don purple armbands for the rest of the season to raise awareness and call for action about violence against women. Image Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography



The rookies


With Fever holding a strong half time lead, young shooting star Olivia Wilkinson got 21 minutes out in front of Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard, and then the final nine minutes at goal shooter, when Fowler-Nembhard was rested. Fearless in going to the post, Wilkinson finished with 15/17, including five super shots from six attempts. One of the hallmarks of a great athlete is their ability to look like they have all the time in the world, and Wilkinson looks like she’s well on that pathway. 

Fever activated their 11th player, Ruth Aryang, who had court time at goal keeper. The athletic youngster thrilled the crowd with her athleticism, and finished with a highly respectable 31 NNP, with three gains and two deflections during her 22 minutes on court.


Ash Ervin (SCL) was immense in the absence of Diamond Courtney Bruce, in the must-win clash against the Giants. Ervin finished with six gains, as she made life difficult for the wily Jo Harten. Ervin was constantly menacing, with a range of tips, intercepts and rebounds.


With Maddy Proud ruled out of the Swifts’ lineup, it was left to Lili Gorman-Brown to take her place in the midcourt. For the most part, she took a back seat while Paige Hadley controlled things, but she played her role well. Then, late in the third quarter, Grace Whyte was introduced into the game for her debut, replacing Gorman-Brown at wing attack. This was a tough job for Whyte who is better known as a shooter.   


Olivia Wilkinson was cool as a cucumber under the post. Image: Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography


Lili Gorman-Brown played well against the shut down ability of Kate Eddy. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography



The shooting circle


In their game against Firebirds, Fever’s Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard was once again at her brilliant best, and was well supported by her Jamaican teammate, Shanice Beckford. Then at half time, coach Dan Ryan rested Beckford and introduced Olivia Wilkinson into the game. She has a different goal attack style to Beckford, but no less effective. During the final quarter, Beckford and Wilkinson combined in the circle and they didn’t miss a beat, finishing with a flourish, landing three super shots in the final minute. 

After a below par match last week, Giant Sophie Dwyer was incredible in their win against Sunshine Coast Lightning. She finished with 33/38, including six supershots, 28 feeds, 30 centre pass receives, and no turnovers. Jo Harten led from the front in a captain’s game, finishing with 32/34 at the end of regular time. Matisse Letherbarrow entered the game in extra time, and despite coming on cold, swung the game in the Giants’ favour. Letherbarrow finished with 9/11, including 3 supershots. 

The two goal attacks dominated in the Swifts v Vixens match. For Swifts, Helen Housby repeatedly kept Swifts in the hunt with her two-point shooting (10/13), but it was Kiera Austin who was the star of the show for Vixens with a brilliant all round game; 25/27 (3/3 super shots), six assists, two gains, 16 centre pass receives, and four pickups.


Sophie Garbin starred in the circle, despite immense pressure over her shot. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography


Sophie Dwyer made an impressive return to form. Image: Danny Dalton



The midcourt


It was another strong performance from Thunderbirds’ Georgie Horjus in their win over Mavericks. While coach Tania Obst is rotating her players, it’s noticeable that Horjus is one of the players she is entrusting to run out the full 60 minutes. She is not only starring at wing attack, but also goal attack. Meanwhile, Tayla Williams continues to play strongly at centre.

In the tightly contested match between Swifts and Vixens on Mothers Day, Paige Hadley took on a huge workload in the absence of Maddy Proud. With two youngsters filling in at wing attack, Hadley finished with 18 assists, 34 feeds, two gains and two pickups. Meanwhile, Hannah Mundy showed no signs of the thigh injury that plagued her at the start of the season as she finished with 26 assists, 38 feeds, and 20 centre pass receives. 


Georgie Horjus had eyes for the ball, as the young wing attack/goal attack is being talked up as a Diamonds’ prospect. Image: Aliesha Vicars



The defenders


While a lot of the focus was on Fever’s attack, their defence also proved far too strong for Firebirds. It was a team effort by all of the defenders, combining for 21 possession gains, but Fran Williams in particular, had her best game to date in Fever colours; six gains, three deflections, and five rebounds. 

Jo Weston was at her niggly best against Swifts’ Helen Housby, tying the shooter up in knots in an attempt to keep her out of the circle. However, the honours were evenly split, with Housby finishing with 20/23, including ten supershots. Vixens showed off their defensive depth, when Kate Eddy went to the bench with injury, swinging Weston to wing defence, Emily Mannix to goal defence and Rudi Ellis into keeper. Mannix had the better of her main opponent, Sam Wallace-Joseph, who finished with just 12/14 in 30 minutes. Mannix finished with four gains for just 9 penalties. 


Jo Weston didn’t give Helen Housby an inch of breathing room. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography


Donnell Wallam had the ball at her fingertips, under some strong pressure from Ruth Aryang. Image: Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography





Only three teams have consistently used their full 10 players over the last five matches. And, of those, Fever has been the most proficient. Dan Ryan has been a master puppeteer, switching his defenders in and out at the right moments to swing momentum. His midcourt and attacking switches are utilised less often but still garner great impact. 

Ryan’s choice to rest Kelsey Browne in Round 5 is another testament to their rotation policy. 

The Thunderbirds are another team that efficiently rotates their midcourt and attacking lineups. Thunderbirds Tania Obst is expertly pulling changes, particularly with youngster Georgie Horjus, who can be used in the midcourt or the circle. The changes are rung at unpredictable times and have proven effective as a way to keep defenders guessing and switch the speed of the game.   

Most of the Swifts rotations have been to change the dynamic of their shooting end and often fall at the time of the supershot. These changes have expertly allowed Swifts to pull back leads.  

Giants remain the only side that is extremely economical with their rotations. So far this season, that tactic has not worked for them. They have looked stagnant and predictable. However, when they opted to run Matisse Letherbarrow in the Round 5 extra time, it was a master stroke – she had fresh legs, focus and a hot hand. And, by Liz Watson’s admission on Pivot, it was not what their opposition expected. 

The rotations for the other teams so far have been:

  • Vixens have routinely stuck with their starting seven, with the occasional cameo from Rudi Ellis or Lilly Graham. 
  • Firebirds regularly use 8 or 9 but in the last two rounds have used their full 10
  • Lightning started the season using their full bench, but in the last few rounds have only run 9.
  • Three times this season, the Mavericks have used their full 10. 


Who’s rebound is it? While Tania Obst regularly uses her bench, Shamera Sterling-Humphrey and Latty Wilson are rarely on it. Image: Aliesha Vicars



Stat of the week

It sure was a turnaround in form for Sophie Dwyer of the Giants. Going into round five, she had  31 general play turnovers from the first four games, but she proceeded to turn in a brilliant display. This shows just how big her improvement was. 

Round 1 – 7 turnovers
Round 2 – 5 turnovers
Round 3 – 9 turnovers
Round 4 – 10 turnovers
Round 5 – ZERO turnovers (in 70 minutes)


Jo Harten talking to Sophie Dwyer during the game. Image: Danny Dalton.



Rolling stat of the season


West Coast Fever’s 2024 season so far has produced an historically low error rate. Their centre pass to goal rate is currently sitting at an astonishing 85.5%, which means that on average, six out of every seven centre passes results in a goal. Fever has given up only 65 general play turnovers in the first five rounds. That is an average of just 13 per game and five per game less than any Super Netball team has ever managed over the same period. 

Added to their ability to keep things tidy in general play, there is also the subject of missed goal turnovers. Incredibly, Fever has had just eight of these in the first five rounds, which also puts them well ahead of the competition. When their general play turnovers and missed goal turnovers are added together, you can see just how far ahead of the competition they appear to be at the moment. It’s interesting to note that Giants have had exactly double the number of turnovers that Fever has had.

Total turnovers Rounds 1-5
Fever 73
Swifts 108
Vixens 115
Thunderbirds 116
Lightning 118
Mavericks 130
Firebirds 133
Giants 146


Amy Parmenter lays down some fancy footwork to avoid a turnover. Image: Aliesha Vicars



The games


Fever v Firebirds

The current Firebirds team will be having nightmares about travelling to Perth. Fever handed them a 97-63 defeat last season, which was to that point, the biggest defeat in Super Netball. Unfortunately for the Queensland team, their first rematch of 2024 also proved to be one way traffic and that record was broken with a 94-58 win. 

With Kelsey Browne sitting out due to soreness, Fever activated their 11th player, and Ruth Aryang took to the court to huge applause. With two big matches on the horizon, Fever rotated through their bench, with each combination looking as slick as the last. They didn’t take their foot off the pedal during the match, scoring 20 goals or more in each quarter and leaving Firebirds struggling to keep up. 


Kim Ravaillion shows the pain of defeat against Fever. Image: Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography


Jordan Cransberg drives down court into open space. Image: Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography


Mavericks v Thunderbirds

In a game that failed to reach any great heights, Thunderbirds maintained their position inside the top three with a dominant 59-37 win over Mavericks. Once again, it was Thunderbirds’ defensive pressure that proved too much for the home team, with Mavericks putting in an error-riddled performance. Unfortunately, the trio of Gabby Sinclair, Molly Jovic, and Maisie Nankivell combined for 24 of the Mavericks’ 29 turnovers.

Thunderbirds’ coach Tania Obst was able to give all ten players a good hit out as they had the match effectively wrapped up fairly early. For the second week in a row, just the same three players were on court for the full 60 minutes; Georgie Horjus, Latanya Wilson, and Shamera Sterling-Humphrey. Of the others, Tayla Williams and Romelda Aiken-George both had strong games. For Mavericks, one of their shining lights was Olivia Lewis who finished with five gains and 10 deflections.


Gabby Sinclair under the post for Mavericks. Image: Aliesha Vicars


Giants v Lightning  

Putting the scoring controversy to one side for a moment, this was a tremendous game. The match was close throughout, with no more than one goal separating the teams at any of the quarter breaks. Giants eventually claimed their first win of the season, defeating Lightning in extra time, 86-80. It was an injury-depleted Lightning team which took to the court, with both Courtney Bruce and Mahalia Cassidy ruled out of the game. And it was clear from very early on, that this was a much more determined and focussed Giants lineup. 

Sophie Dwyer in particular, who had been poor in previous weeks, lifted immensely. As we now know, Lightning played the final moments of the fourth quarter, thinking they were ahead. But they weren’t. After much confusion, extra time was played, and Matisse Letherbarrow, who had been on the bench for 60 minutes, came on and shot the lights out, giving Giants victory. It was certainly a memorable match!


The dejection shows on Liz Watson’s face. Image: Danny Dalton.


Chelsea Pitman pulls in a pick up. Image: Danny Dalton.


Swifts v Vixens

Vixens kept their unbeaten record intact but only just, as they held on to defeat Swifts in Sydney by 61-59. Maddy Proud was ruled out for the home team, but they put in a spirited performance, largely on the back of Paige Hadley in the midcourt and Helen Housby’s super shot prowess. Housby had a tremendous battle with Jo Weston for much of the game, but she repeatedly pulled Swifts back into the match, finishing with 10/13 from super shot territory. 

For Vixens, Kiera Austin controlled things well at goal attack, and as she has done before this season, when the game was on the line in the last quarter, it was Austin who was best on court. Swifts scored seven more super shots than Vixens during the game, but in the last quarter when they were badly needed, they could only manage 2/6 from two-point range and Vixens held on for the win.  


Sophie Fawns and Helen Housby missed some clutch supershots as they tried to claw back the lead. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography

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