NS Scoreboard: SSN Round 7 2024 (First Nations Round, Part 1)


Sunshine Coast Lightning 76 def Queensland Firebirds 65

Adelaide Thunderbirds 58 def NSW Swifts 33

GIANTS Netball 66 def Melbourne Mavericks 59

Melbourne Vixens 76 def West Coast Fever 65


The Vixens win sees them maintain second place on the ladder. Image Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography




Briony Akle (Swifts) – 100 National League Games as Head Coach

Sam Wallace-Joseph (Swifts) – 100 National League Games 

Latanya Wilson (Thunderbirds) – 50 National League Games


Helen Housby (Swifts) – scored 2000th Super Netball goal

Jo Harten (Giants) – scored 3000th Super Netball goal

Kiera Austin (Vixens) – scored 1000th Super Netball goal


Latty Wilson celebrated her 50th Suncorp Super Netball match with a win. Image: Hannah Howard/On the Ball media.


Kiera Austin sunk her 1000th Super Netball goal in an MVP performance. Image Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography




Jamie-Lee Price (Giants) left the court with a cramp, and didn’t return. 


Jamie-Lee Price contributed strongly for the Giants, but had to leave the game with cramp. Image Aliesha Vicars





News of the Week


First Nations Round 

The inclusion of Gabby Coffey in the Vixens match day 10 meant we saw the highest representation of Indigenous athletes in First Nations Round in Super Netball history. The Wiradjuri woman was raised in Alice Springs has been involved with the Vixens since 2021 and played for both the Vixens and Collingwood Magpies.

Donnell Wallam (Firebirds) is a proud Noongar woman from Western Australia, while Leesa Mi Mi (Lightning) comes from the Wakka Wakka tribe, with close links to the Goreng Goreng people. Mi Mi has also previously represented the Indigenous All Stars in Touch Football. 

In a special nod to Wallam, the Firebirds First Nations’ artist, Leah Cummins, included kangaroo tracks in their dress design. The kangaroo is Wallam’s family totem so its inclusion added a special connection to the dress.


Donnell Wallam is a Whadjuk Noongar woman from Harvey in Western Australia. The kangaroo – part of her family totem – was incorporated on the Firebirds uniform. Image: Kylie at CBK Photography


Leesa Mi Mi, who had a strong game at centre, is from the Wakka Wakka tribe, with close ties to the Goreng Goreng people. Image: Kylie at CBK Photography


Dame Noeline Taurua has joined the NSW Swifts coaching bench in a two-week ‘consultancy role’. Speaking with New Zealand media through the week, Taurua has likened the trip to a university visit as she hopes to learn from Briony Akle and Nat Avellino while also contributing to the coaching depths. 


Coaching icon Dame Noeline Taurua joins Briony Akle in the coaching box. Image: Hannah Howard/On the Ball media.


The Adelaide Thunderbirds no longer hold the record for the lowest-ever score in a full game in Suncorp Super Netball. They held the low score (of 37) since 2019 and earlier this year shared the title with the Melbourne Mavericks. However, on Saturday night they contained the NSW Swifts to just 33 goals in an impressive defence-heavy game.



The rookies


Ash Ervin has continued to impress, playing out a full game for Lightning at goal keeper, in Courtney Bruce’s absence. The match MVP finished with 11 gains, including 4 intercepts and 4 rebounds.

Leesa Mi Mi also starred during First Nations Round, finishing with 36 feeds for just 2 turnovers in a high paced game. 

Lili Gorman-Brown slotted nicely into the Swifts line-up at centre during the first half of her match, with 15 feeds, 1 intercept and just one turnover. Life became much tougher once she shifted into wing attack against Latanya Wilson. 


Ash Ervin and Leesa Mi Mi are two rookies who are consistently finding good form. Image: Kylie at CBK Photography



The shooting circle


The two most impressive shooting combinations in round seven came from Lightning and Vixens. And it should come as no surprise as they feature three current Diamonds and one only recently-retired. Cara Koenen is in tremendous form at the moment, and her combination with captain Steph Fretwell is crucial to Lightning’s chances. Fretwell was hampered by injury in the opening rounds, but is now looking in great shape. And Lightning has the bonus of being able to use Reilley Batcheldor to give Fretwell a rest.

The final game of the round saw a brilliant performance from the Vixens attacking line up, with Kiera Austin and Sophie Garbin starring in the circle. Austin was a deserved Player of the Match and her partnership with Garbin proved far too strong for the Fever defence. The pair combined for 71 goals from 84 attempts, 19 assists, and seven rebounds. Garbin put the finishing flourish on the win with a spectacular super shot goal scored right on the buzzer. 


In one of the few highlights for Fever, Kadie-Ann Dehaney rejected a Sophie Garbin shot. Image Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography



The midcourt


Zara Walters and Kate Eddy are missing from the Vixens lineup through injury, but that didn’t stop them putting in their most polished performance of the season in defeating Fever. Captain Kate Moloney steered the team beautifully at centre with 16 assists, two gains, and no turnovers. She was well supported by the ever-improving Hannah Mundy at wing attack, who finished with 25 assists. With the support of Jo Weston at wing defence, Vixens were in control to such a degree that there were no position changes throughout the match.  

Playing her first game for the year, Giants wing attack Maddie Hay played the first quarter as if she had never missed a game, racking up eight assists. She was eventually given a rest early in the last quarter with 18 assists, but she showed enough to suggest she will be a strong player for the Giants for the remainder of the season. 

The Lightning combination of wing attack Liz Watson, and centre Leesa Mi Mi, combined for 88 feeds and 47 goal assists in their victory over the Firebirds. This midcourt partnership is looking better each week. 


Maddie Hay made a welcome return for the Giants. Image Aliesha Vicars



The defenders


The Melbourne Vixens defenders appear to have cracked the code for beating the West Coast Fever. With Kate Eddy out with what appears to be a long term knee injury, they were forced to rejig the defensive end, opting for Rudi Ellis at goal keeper, Emily Mannix at goal defence and Jo Weston at wing defence. The height of all three meant there was strong hands over pressure for almost every pass into the circle, obstructing the vision of the feeders and putting them under pressure. Ellis’s two years of training against Fowler-Nembhard no doubt also came in handy, able to use her footwork to get around the body and confuse the space for the feeders looking in. 

The GIANTS defensive end finally seems to be clicking into gear, after some incohesive performances to start the year. The combination of Matilda McDonell and Jodi-Ann Ward collected nine gains and seven deflections between them as they were able to switch seamlessly between covering their own player, and working as a unit to win clean ball or create turnovers. This was aided by the defensive pressure built down court by the likes of Sam Winders and Jamie-Lee Price who had been averaging 8.5 penalties each per game but finished with a tidy five and four respectively. 

What more needs to be said about the Thunderbirds’ defence? It is relentless. Shamera Sterling-HumphreyMatilda Garrett, and Latanya Wilson combined for 21 possession gains in their demolition of Swifts. Included in that was nine defensive rebounds. The general pressure that the trio placed on the opposition, produced some chaotic passing in the Swifts attack end. 


Shimona Jok and Tilly McDonnell reach for the ball. Image Aliesha Vicars


Rudi Ellis had the game of her career, finishing with 4 gains in a tough match up against Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard. Image Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography





The NSW Swifts had a clear intention to try and limit the aerial impact of the Adelaide Thunderbirds defenders with a starting line up we are yet to have seen this season. Helen Housby was sitting back at goal shooter, with Sophie Fawns at goal attack, while in the midcourt they opted for the experience of Paige Hadley at wing attack to combat Latanya Wilson. It was working for them at the start of the game, with the Thunderbirds only recording three gains for the first quarter the wheels quickly started to fall off as the game progressed. The Swifts fatigued as they all had to work overtime getting the ball safely to circle edge for the shorter feed to the moving circle and the interplay between shooters was quickly figured out by the Thunderbirds defenders. 

Hadley was solid up against Wilson in the first half, with only one turnover while youngster Lili Gorman-Brown was able to dominate the feeds and goal assists. But the switch between the two in the third quarter, as well as the injection of Sam Wallace-Joseph was the Swifts undoing, committing 12 turnovers in that quarter as they were outscored 8-18. By that point no change Briony Akle could make was able to bring the team back together. 


Swifts started with Sophie Fawns at goal shooter, to make use of a mobile circle. Image: Hannah Howard/On the Ball media.



Stat of the week


In Thunderbirds’ big win over the Swifts in Adelaide, turnovers played a huge part. Swifts gave up 30 general play turnovers for the game, which is not good at all. But then, Thunderbirds weren’t much better with 28, so how come there was such a huge margin between the teams? A lot of that came down to missed shots and rebounds. 

The final rebound tally was an astonishing 12-1 in favour of Thunderbirds, and in the Swifts’ shooting circle, it was 9-0. Not one of Swifts’ four shooters could grab even one rebound for the game. An injury-hampered Sam Wallace-Joseph was probably a factor in this. As a result, the missed goal turnover count was 11-1 against Swifts, and when added to the general play turnovers, it meant the total number of turnovers was 41-29 against Swifts. 

41 total turnovers is the most recorded against any team this season, and well up on every other team in round seven.  

Total turnovers Round 7
41 – Swifts
29 – Thunderbirds
26 – Firebirds
25 – Fever
24 – Mavericks
23 – Giants
17 – Lightning
16 – Vixens


Georgie Horjus might be the shortest in the circle – by some way – but she’s happy to put the shot up. Image: Hannah Howard/On the Ball media.



Rolling stat of the season


As we’ve completed round seven, it’s time to look at how the teams are travelling at the halfway mark of the regular season. As we can see, attack is dominated by Fever, defence is dominated by Thunderbirds, while Vixens and Lightning are high up in both. The two NSW teams are taking the most super shots. 

Fever – 484/532 (91.0%)
Lightning – 439/531 (82.7%)
Vixens – 405/489 (82.8%)
Thunderbirds – 402/479 (83.9%)
Firebirds – 392/483 (81.2%)
Swifts – 367/438 (83.8%)
Mavericks – 359/425 (84.5%)
Giants – 357/441 (81.0%)

Super shots
Swifts – 67/110 (60.9%)
Giants – 67/118 (56.8%)
Mavericks – 50/83 (60.2%)
Firebirds – 48/89 (53.9%)
Vixens – 42/83 (50.6%)
Fever – 41/67 (61.2%)
Lightning – 36/69 (52.2%)
Thunderbirds – 16/32 (50.0%)

Possession gains
Thunderbirds – 133
Vixens – 101
Lightning – 94
Fever – 93
Firebirds – 83
Giants – 76
Swifts – 69
Mavericks – 63

Total turnovers
Fever – 124
Vixens – 160
Lightning – 161
Mavericks – 170
Swifts – 171
Thunderbirds – 173
Firebirds – 186
Giants – 202


Jo Harten demands the ball – with Giants and Swifts both equal highest in going to the supershot post, Harten is unafraid to put them up. Image Aliesha Vicars



The games


Lightning v Firebirds

Ball speed and precision were the aim of the game for the Lightning who used direct connections to keep the Firebirds in chase mode for most of the game. The final score was 76-65 in favour of Lightning. The Firebirds rang in the changes across the court but had no way to break the connection at the Lightning’s front end. Cara Koenen, Steph Fretwell, and Liz Watson combined superbly. Meanwhile, MVP Ash Ervin was integral in containing Donnell Wallam and she finished the match with 11 possession gains.


Welcome to Country on Kabi Kabi land. Image: Kylie at CBK Photography


Liz Watson on the drive. Image: Kylie at CBK Photography


Thunderbirds v Swifts

The wheels well and truly fell off for the Swifts in what was a brilliant defensive game for the Thunderbirds, the home team taking it out 58-33. There was concern for Sam Wallace-Joseph who didn’t take the court until the third term leaving the Swifts’ front end all the more disjointed, as they were already missing Maddy Proud. Swifts’ ball handling errors and missed shots saw them give away 41 total turnovers and only convert 36% of their centre passes. Once again, it was the Thunderbirds’ back three who controlled things and Latanya Wilson was named MVP after a tremendous match. 


Welcome to Country on Kaurna land. Image: Hannah Howard/On the Ball media.


Maddy Turner takes a fly, but can’t stop Romelda Aiken-George from gathering the pass into the circle. Image: Hannah Howard/On the Ball media.


Mavericks v Giants

Giants have finally found some consistency with a near complete 60-minute performance to welcome Maddie Hay back. In their second win of the season, they won all four quarters, although only narrowly against a spirited Mavericks team, and took out the match 66-59Jamie-Lee Price was back to her best and was rewarded with the nod as MVP. She finished with an incredible nine pickups. 


Welcome to Country on Wurundjeri land. Image Aliesha Vicars


Jo Harten pulls in a high ball against Kim Jenner. Image Aliesha Vicars


Fever v Vixens

Despite missing two of their contracted 10, including starting wing defence Kate Eddy, the Vixens were able to topple the Fever 76-65 in Perth. The towering trio of Rudi Ellis, Emily Mannix and Jo Weston in defence caused havoc for the Fever attackers, forcing them into an uncharacteristically high number of turnovers, 22, and limited Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard to her lowest output for 2024 with 43/47. At the other end of the court, Vixens’ attack was on song for the majority of the game. Kiera Austin in particular was a deserving MVP. 


Hannah Mundy was part of an attack line that purred for the Vixens. Image Clinton Bradbury/Bradbury Photography




Team / Pld / Pts / %
1 . FEVER . 7 . 24 . 121.5
2 . VIXENS . 7 . 24 . 111.5
3 . THUNDERBIRDS . 7 . 20 . 120.1
4 . LIGHTNING . 7 . 12 . 99.6

5 . SWIFTS . 7 . 12 . 95.6
6 . MAVERICKS . 7 . 8 . 89.9
7 . GIANTS . 7 . 8 . 85.5
8 . FIREBIRDS . 7 . 4 . 86.4 

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