NS Scoreboard: SSN Round 9, 2024

Giants bench and fans celebrate their third win of the season. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography via Netball Scoop

Giants celebrate their third win of the season. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography via Netball Scoop


Sunshine Coast Lightning 66 def NSW Swifts 64

Adelaide Thunderbirds 68 def West Coast Fever 50

GIANTS Netball 71 def Queensland Firebirds 67

Melbourne Vixens 77 def Melbourne Mavericks 58




Allie Smith (Swifts) – played her 50th game national league game

Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds) – played her 100th national league game

Ali Miller debuted for the Firebirds

Charli Fidler debuted for the Giants




Tilly McDonell (GIANTS) – ankle

Eleanor Cardwell (Mavericks) – thigh

Donnell Wallam (Firebirds) – knee, left the court following a scuffle in the circle, but returned later in the match

Rudi Ellis (Vixens) – Went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury late in the game

Amy Parmenter (Mavericks) – Dislocated a finger, but was back on court not long after.



Recently named Diamonds teammates but SSN rivals Sarah Klau and Cara Koenen, share a cuddle before the game starts. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography via Netball Scoop

Recently named Diamonds teammates but SSN rivals Sarah Klau and Cara Koenen. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography via Netball Scoop



News of the Week


The 2024/2025 Diamonds Squad was announced on Friday morning, headlined by the first time inclusion of youngsters Ash ErvinGeorgie Horjus and Hannah Mundy. Of the 19 players in last year’s squad, 15 return with Steph Fretwell and Ash Brazill having retired from international duties while Maddy Proud and Ruby Bakewell-Doran were unlucky omissions courtesy of the depth of Australian netball. 

The Diamonds are also trialing a revamped invitee program for this squad, rather than selecting different invitees for each camp they have selected up and comer Lucy Austin and defensive veteran Emily Mannix who will attend all camps to get more consistent exposure in the Diamonds environment. 

For an in depth analysis of the squad selection, and plans for the upcoming international season here is Jenny Sinclair’s exclusive chat with Stacey Marinkovich.

Origin Australian Diamonds 2024-25 squad
Sunday Aryang (West Coast Fever/Western Australia) 
Kiera Austin (Melbourne Vixens/New South Wales) 
Courtney Bruce (Sunshine Coast Lightning/Western Australia) 
Sophie Dwyer (GIANTS Netball/New South Wales) 
Ash Ervin (Sunshine Coast Lightning/Queensland) 
Sophie Garbin (Melbourne Vixens/Western Australia) 
Matilda Garrett (Adelaide Thunderbirds/Victoria) 
Paige Hadley (NSW Swifts/New South Wales) 
Georgie Horjus (Adelaide Thunderbirds/South Australia) 
Sarah Klau (NSW Swifts/South Australia) 
Cara Koenen (Sunshine Coast Lightning/Queensland) 
Kate Moloney (Melbourne Vixens/Victoria) 
Hannah Mundy (Melbourne Vixens/Victoria) 
Amy Parmenter (Melbourne Mavericks/New South Wales) 
Jamie-Lee Price (GIANTS Netball/New South Wales) 
Donnell Wallam (Queensland Firebirds/Western Australia) 
Liz Watson (Sunshine Coast Lightning/Victoria) 
Joanna Weston (Melbourne Vixens/Victoria) 

Origin Australian Diamonds invitees 
Lucy Austin (Adelaide Thunderbirds/South Australia) 
Emily Mannix (Melbourne Vixens/Victoria)


On the back of her first Diamonds squad call-up, Ash Ervin finished with 7 gains against the Swifts. Image – May Bailey/Clusterpix


The NSW Swifts have remained tight lipped about their shooter Samantha Wallace-Joseph who was unavailable for the second week running due to a “private matter.” The Swifts released a statement that read, “The Club is currently working with Wallace-Joseph and her management team on the matter and no further comment will be made at this time.”  

While the Swifts have had little to say about Sam Wallace-Joseph’s current absence from the team, it’s not the first time the star has been embroiled in controversy this year. In April, her tweets about the timing of the International Transgender Day of Visibility were seen by fans as inflammatory and subsequently investigated by the Super Netball league under the Social Media Code of Conduct. Wallace-Joseph needed to complete the Proud2Play programme afterwards and commit to encouraging inclusion in sport. Despite this previous controversy, it is said to be unrelated to this.


The GIANTS celebrated the recent retirement of Chelsea Pitman on Sunday. Image – May Bailey/Clusterpix


At their round nine game against Firebirds, Giants celebrated the career of the newly-retired Chelsea Pitman. As well as representing both Australia and England with success, she played 174 games for the following nine clubs over 17 years.

AUS – Sydney Swifts (3 matches)
NZ – Canterbury Tactix (5 matches)
AUS – Queensland Firebirds (41 matches)
AUS – West Coast Fever (16 matches)
ENG – Manchester Thunder (16 matches)
NZ – Central Pulse (13 matches)
AUS – Adelaide Thunderbirds (55 matches)
ENG – London Pulse (18 matches)
AUS – GIANTS Netball (7 matches)


Super Netball Reserves
(Week Two)

GIANTS 57 def Firebirds 50
Swifts 56 def Lightning 42
Fever 52 def Thunderbirds 51
Swifts 54 def Firebirds 49
GIANTS 68 def Lightning 51

Giants and Swifts both have 3 wins from 3 matches.



Donnell Wallam and Erin O'Brien eye the incoming pass. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography via Netball Scoop

Erin O’Brien had her first start of the season, against Diamond Donnell Wallam. Image: May Bailey/Clusterpix Sports Photography via Netball Scoop

The rookies


With Matilda McDonell being a late withdrawal, Erin O’Brien was called up for her first start of the season for Giants, and she performed creditably. Up against Donnell Wallam, the stats say she didn’t finish the game with any possession gains, but that’s a bit misleading. She was able to get her hand to a lot of ball, racking up five deflections, and she unsettled Wallam and the Firebirds attack on several occasions.

Olivia Wilkinson got her first start for the Fever after Shanice Beckford has had some below par performances over the last few weeks. Up against the most menacing defensive team in the league, she was strong in centre pass receives and accurate to post but struggled to connect with Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard under the post, with only four goal assists for her 22 minutes on court. 

Lauren Frew is improving every week at the Thunderbirds. It’s noticeable that she is not being given full games. Coach Tania Obst is easing her into things, giving her usually two or three quarters at the most, as she rotates through her whole squad. Against Fever, Frew shot 8/12 including a super shot, she had eight assists, zero general play turnovers, and combined well with Romelda Aiken-George.




Steph Fretwell earned MVP honours and finished with 6/7 supershots. Image – May Bailey/Clusterpix


The shooting circle


Having shown a reluctance to use the super shot in the first half of the season, Lightning took a different approach into their game against the Swifts. Steph Fretwell (27/29) and Cara Koenen (27/30) shared the shooting load equally, but it was Fretwell’s willingness to go to the post from range that proved the ultimate difference between the two sides. Fretwell finished with 6/7 supershots and an MVP, while coach Belinda Reynolds also gave long range specialist Reilley Batcheldor court time across three of the four quarters. Batcheldor found it hard to find room to breathe however, and finished with just 5/5, of which just one was a super shot.

In Thunderbirds’ win over Fever, it was just like old times, Romelda Aiken-George starring in the shooting circle. She scored 50 goals and outshone her fellow Jamaican shooter at the other end. Like many of her Thunderbirds teammates, Aiken-George had a disappointing match against the Firebirds last week, but she rebounded with almost certainly her best game of the season, even bringing out the lay up on occasions. 

The Vixens shooting combination of Kiera Austin and Sophie Garbin goes from strength to strength. They dominated the circle against Mavericks, with Austin earning MVP honours for an almost flawless game at goal attack, topping it all off by sinking seven super shots from as many attempts. Meanwhile, Garbin continued on her relentless scoring of recent weeks. In their past three games, Vixens have scored 76, 74, and 77, and it is largely down to the potency of the Austin/Garbin combination.



Tayla Williams in action for the Adelaide Thunderbirds. Image: Hannah Howard | On the Ball Media

Tayla Williams looks down court. Image: Hannah Howard | On the Ball Media

The midcourt


The Thunderbirds midcourt was on fire in their comprehensive win over Fever. Led by Tayla Williams (32 feeds, two intercepts, 2 turnovers) and Latty Wilson (9 gains), their defensive pressure forced Fever into numerous errors, drying up ball supply to Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard. In attack, the court nous of Georgie Horjus (35 feeds), supported by Laura Scherian and Hannah Petty, combined with blistering speed on the pass gave the Fever defence little opportunity to come up with gains. 

The Giants combination between Jamie-Lee Price and Maddie Hay was back to something approaching its best against Firebirds. Hay was in just her third game back from injury while Price was returning after being out the previous week. Both players finished the game with 21 goal assists, while Hay had 26 centre-pass receives and Price picked up three possession gains.



Shamera Strling-Humphrey and Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard battle it out. Image: Hannah Howard | On the Ball Media

An aerial battle between two of the best in the business. Image: Hannah Howard | On the Ball Media

The defenders


The Thunderbirds defenders were in incredible form against West Coast Fever, and aided by their midcourt, dried up supply of ball to Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard. The Jamaican only scored 41/46, including just eight in each of the 2nd and 4th quarters when the Thunderbirds went on scoring blitzes. Shamera Sterling-Humphrey finished with 7 gains, of which six were rebounds as she was able to box out Fowler-Nembhard. While Tilly Garrett finished without any gains, she did an incredible job of shutting down her three opposing goal attacks and keeping them away from the post, as they finished with a combined total of just 5/12 at 42%. While some of the misses were supershots in an attempt to narrow the deficit, it was an outstanding effort from Garrett. 

The Lightning defenders were also in beast mode, finishing with a total of 13 gains. Newly minted Diamond squad member Ash Ervin finished with 7 of her own, while Tara Hinchliffe had her hand on everything at goal defence. Courtney Bruce had just 17 minutes as she recovers from a calf injury, but still finished with two gains to her name.

The Vixens’ defence has been reshuffled in recent weeks, with great success. With Kate Eddy unavailable through injury, the lineup now consists of Rudi Ellis at goal keeper, Emily Mannix at goal defence, and Jo Weston at wing defence. And this has worked beautifully. It was the case again in their match against Mavericks. After getting limited opportunities in recent seasons, Ellis has shone in the past two matches against strong opponents. Unfortunately however, she suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury late in the match. It is to be hoped that it’s not as serious as it looked, but if it is, Vixens will be forced into another reshuffle.





Thunderbirds coaches Tania Obst and Cathy Fellows have been extremely clever with their squad. Having lost two of their three shooters during the off season, they snapped up the legendary Romelda Aiken-George, and set about giving their newcomers, including Lauren Frew and Laura Scherian, plenty of court time to build connections and confidence. While that has come at the expense of minutes for rising star Lucy Austin, Obst and Fellowes now have a squad that can throw out multiple combinations to tackle a range of opposition. Obst remains the only coach to play her entire squad in every match, in stark contrast to those who stick with just 7 to 8 players out on court. Come finals, the ability to change their line and add fresh legs should hold the Thunderbirds in good stead.  


How best to play down the clock with a slim lead? What about a “comfortable” nine-goal lead with three minutes remaining? Sunshine Coast had such an advantage – they did press forward in attack, but a Sarah Klau deflection sparked an impressive revival for the Swifts. Sophie Fawns duly sank a supershot, but even an eight-goal lead with 1:15 to go is enough, surely? Helen Housby – supershot. Lightning started passing the ball around to wind down the clock, and the enormous home crowd created extra pressure. When Ash Ervin fumbled a simple pass in the midcourt, a snappy response from the Swifts allowed Sophie Fawns two more extremely quick supershots, and Swifts almost took the match to extra time. Teams need to consider whether they should play the ball around, or just keep attacking as normal in such clutch moments.



Latty Wilson flies for the ball. Image: Hannah Howard | On the Ball Media

Latanya Wilson was a star in Thunderbirds’ record breaking win over Fever. Image: Hannah Howard | On the Ball Media

Stat of the week


Thunderbirds’ 68-50 win over Fever broke some records. It was Thunderbirds’ highest score and Fever’s lowest score in the 16 clashes between the two teams in Super Netball. It was also Thunderbirds’ biggest winning margin against Fever in SSN. Before Saturday’s game, Thunderbirds had beaten Fever just five times in SSN, and the winning margins had been five, one, one, one, and one!



Rolling stat of the season


Some interesting stats around the super shot. It is often reported which teams put up the most super shots and which teams have the greatest accuracy with them. But what if we look at the other side of things? How good are teams at preventing super shots being scored or affecting the accuracy of the attempts? There are numerous factors at play here, like the match situation for example, but these are the teams which have conceded the fewest super shots and at the lowest percentage.

Fewest super shots conceded
Giants 50/100 (50.0%)
Thunderbirds 51/99 (51.5%)
Firebirds 54/95 (56.8%)
Mavericks 58/91(63.7%)
Swifts 58/86 (67.4%)
Vixens 62/118 (52.5%)
Fever 63/112 (56.3%)
Lightning 66/114 (57.9%)


What about where super shots are taken from? Stats show that in general, shooters overwhelmingly prefer to shoot from in front or just slightly off centre, rather than on the left or right side of the two point arc. And the stats tell us that this is the best place to be, accuracy wise at least. In round nine, seven of Lightning’s eight super shot attempts came from in front and they scored with six of them. Steph Fretwell shot 6/7. Likewise, Vixens had eight shots from in front and they didn’t miss. Kiera Austin was a perfect 7/7. Over the course of the season so far, shooting from the right side of the circle however is not so good!

Super shots taken where:
In front – 289/488 (59.2%)
Left side – 82/152 (53.9%)
Right side – 73/188 (38.8%)



The games


Swifts v Lightning

Lightning scored a much-needed victory when they edged out Swifts in Sydney by 66-64. Celebrating coach Briony Akle’s recent achievement of 100 matches in charge, a packed, highly vocal crowd was treated to a thrilling, uncompromising showdown. Both teams welcomed back key players – Courtney Bruce had two gains in her 17 minutes, while dynamo Maddy Proud was especially dominant in attack with 29 goal assists. Lightning’s defensive pairing of Ash Ervin and Tara Hinchliffe were on fire, alert and energised throughout, combining for 11 gains and keeping Helen Housby fairly quiet. The third quarter was again a worry for Swifts, slumping to a nine-goal deficit, as their centre pass conversion fell to just 52%, and their high shooting accuracy deserted them in the power five. The last quarter saw exciting heroics from Sophie Fawns, who almost dragged the home side over the line with three supershots, converting 100% of possession won by the Swifts defence. MVP was Steph Fretwell who finished the game with six super shots of her own and delivered inspirational captain’s plays at clutch moments.


Courtney Bruce returned to the court for the first time since Round 4. Image – May Bailey/Clusterpix


Thunderbirds v Fever

Defending Super Netball champions, the Thunderbirds set the competition alight with a 68-50 win over Fever in Adelaide. After starting the season with five big wins, Fever has now had two defeats and two rather fortunate wins in its past four matches against other teams in the top four. Thunderbirds were on song, right from the start in this game. Their relentless defence, led by an extraordinary performance by Latanya Wilson,  lived up to their reputation, but on this occasion, they were backed up in attack. Romelda Aiken-George turned back the clock with a great game, and along with MVP Tayla Williams and Georgie Horjus, they dominated the first half, putting on 39 goals to Fever’s 24 and the game was as good as over. Tania Obst made changes in the second half, which slowed the momentum somewhat, but the result wasn’t really in doubt. 


Latanya Wilson once again showcasing her skills to finish with 4 intercepts against the Fever. Image – Hannah Howard/On the Ball


Giants v Firebirds

Sydney witnessed an intense and rousing victory for Giants71-67 over the Firebirds. The home side came out of the blocks the better, at one stage leading 10-5. Firebirds took risks in feeding from off the circle, with mixed results, while Giants made excellent use of a fully fit and classically crafty Jo Harten. Queensland kept fighting back tenaciously, with scores level at 37-all at half time. A decisive moment came when star goaler Donnell Wallam jarred her knee and was replaced for 10 minutes by debutant Alison Miller – even though Firebirds drifted behind by three goals, they kept up their strong defensive effort but found it hard to close the gap. Solid commitment from the midcourters from both sides saw players hitting the deck regularly. Giants kept their opponents at arms length with the help of eight super shots from Sophie Dwyer, and they move to 7th on the ladder. Centre Jamie-Lee Price was strong throughout the game and claimed MVP honours.


Sophie Dwyer finished with an impressive 8/11 from the super shot zone. Image – May Bailey/Clusterpix


Vixens v Mavericks 

Vixens took over top spot on the ladder with a comfortable 77-58 victory over Mavericks. In front of a record Vixens regular season crowd of 9,022, it was an even start with Mavericks taking it right up to their higher ranked rivals. But gradually, as the match wore on, Vixens got on top and took full toll of Mavericks’ growing number of turnovers. For Mavericks, Molly Jovic tried her heart out, but to no avail. For Vixens, MVP Kiera Austin was a total standout with 16 goals including 7/7 from super shot territory, to go with 21 assists, two gains, and four deflections. Her combination with Sophie Garbin (51/56) continues to shine. Rudi Ellis also had a tremendous game at goal keeper, but unfortunately she went down late with what appeared to be an ankle injury. Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it looked. 




Team / Pld / Pts / %

1 . VIXENS . 9 . 32 . 115.2
2 . FEVER . 9 . 28 . 113.7
3 . THUNDERBIRDS . 9 . 24 . 117.3
4 . LIGHTNING . 9 . 16 . 99.5

5 . SWIFTS . 9 . 12 . 95.2
6 . MAVERICKS . 9 . 12 . 90.0
7 . GIANTS . 9 . 12 . 87.1
8 . FIREBIRDS . 9 . 8 . 89.9



Next Round

Sat, Jun 15 – 5:00 pm – GIANTS v THUNDERBIRDS
Sat, Jun 15 – 7:00 pm – LIGHTNING v VIXENS
Sun, Jun 16 – 2:00 pm – MAVERICKS v FIREBIRDS
Sun, Jun 16 – 4:00 pm – FEVER v SWIFTS (2pm local time)


Allie Smith celebrated her 50th National league game against the Lightning. Image – May Bailey/Clusterpix

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