Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball League: Round 12 International Player Watch

Round 12 of the Suncorp Super Netball League was a round of upsets with Thunderbirds and Vixen’s being dealt shock defeats.

Many Jamaican Sunshine Girls shone for their domestic teams, and we have written about just a few of them in this week’s International Player Watch: 

Magpies 53 – 50 Thunderbirds

Table toppers Thunderbirds were dealt their biggest upset of the season this weekend, when bottom of the table Magpies beat them 53-50.

Magpies Jamaican Sunshine Girl, Jodi-Ann Ward, set the tempo for the game early on when she made an interception that her fellow international and domestic teammate, Shimona Nelson was able to convert at the other end.

The home-side were rewarded for their strong start, as they went into the first break with a with a four-goal lead, which at one stage in the second quarter they did manage to extend to seven.

Midway through the second quarter, the Thunderbirds began to respond with their own Jamaican Sunshine Girl Shamera Sterling stepping up, however Thunderbirds still struggled to find their shooters with Ward dangerous in defence.

Four goals remained the difference at the main break, and Magpies showed no sign of slowing down as Kelsey Browne dominated their attacking third at wing attack continuing to find her teams shooters with ease.

Browne was awarded Most Valuable Player for her performance, as she racked up 40 feeds and 17 goal assists.

Magpies won the third quarter by four goals, taking the score line to 43 -35 in their favour, which proved to be just enough for them to survive a last quarter Thunderbirds come-back. 

Fever 69 – 65 Lightning

The second match of the day was a match of two halves, with Fever’s first half eventually securing them a win over Lightning.

For the first 10 minutes the match went goal-for-goal, until a Jess Ansitss interception sent Fever into their first Power Five of the match flying.

Keeping with the theme of Jamaican Sunshine Girls stepping up, Fever’s Jhaniele Fowler did not miss a beat in the shooting circle as she score all 19 of her shots in the opening 15-minutes, allowing Fever to take an early 20-13 lead.

Taking their momentum from the end of the first quarter with them, Fever started the second period strong as Verity Simmons continued to find Fowler under the post to extend the home-sides lead to 37-27.

Fowler and Fever continued to celebrate at the start of the second half, as the shooter hit a record-breaking Suncorp Super Netball League milestone of scoring 5000 goals.

However, Lightning never showed any sign of giving up as they won the final two quarters and very nearly edged past Fever, if it was not for their Australian Diamond Cara Koenen missing her Super Shot.

Swifts 68 – 63 Giants

Next up, was the New South Wales derby with Swifts taking on Giants for the chance of claiming the bragging rights.

Following Thunderbirds shock defeat against Magpies, Swifts were already top of the table going into this clash but it was clear from the first whistle that wasn’t going to stop them fighting for their own victory.

Throughout the court individual battles took place for the duration of this match, notably in the first quarter between Swifts Romelda Aiken-George and Giants April Brandley.

Jamaican Sunshine Girl Aiken-George was a force to be reckoned with under the post, and Giants were finding it very hard to keep her under control as Swifts edged in front, 25-19.

It was not until the third quarter that Giants really began to stamp their authority on the match and show just how much a win would mean to them.

The visitors seemed to be first to every ball in this quarter, with their defensive unit persistent and their shooter, Matisse Letherbarrow, rewarding their hard work as she put up her Super Shots to bring the game back to a draw leaving it all still to play for in the final 15.

Despite Giants best efforts it just wasn’t to be as Swifts showed just why they are the league leaders making a final quarter come-back to win 68-63.

Firebirds 76 – 71 Vixens

Fittingly, in the First Nations Round, it was Indigenous players, Lessa Mi Mi and Donnell Wallam that stole in the stage in Firebirds shock win over Vixens.

Things went the way you would expect in the first quarter, with Vixen’s taking an early 19-21 lead however Firebirds were not about to give up without a fight.

Mi Mi was far from phased as she lined-up against Australian Diamond Liz Watson at centre, and instead controlled the centre court leading her Firebirds team.

Whilst further down the court in attack for Firebirds Australian Diamond Wallam dominated the shooting circle, scoring 6/8 of her Super Shots and 59/62 of her shots, showing absolutely no weakness as she would shoot from any position.

Firebirds were rewarded for their efforts in the second quarter, as they edged in front by three and this really fired them up to keep going in the second half.

The match went down to the final seconds in the fourth quarter, with none other than a Wallam Super Shot eventually winning the game.

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