CAITLIN BASSETT: Sunday Aryang is leading the Fever’s charge at top of the Super Netball table

Caitlin Bassett
The Nightly
5 Min Read
Caitlin Bassett breaks down every Super Netball team at the halfway mark of the season.
Caitlin Bassett breaks down every Super Netball team at the halfway mark of the season. Credit: Getty Images

A player sent off, a full time score controversy and a cameo from a world champion.

We’re already halfway through a drama-filled Super Netball Season, so here’s a good chance to check in on the league’s teams from the top of the ladder down

Fever

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They entered this season as an unknown quantity and already they’re leading the pack after a blistering six-game unbeaten start which was ended by the Melbourne Vixens on Sunday.

Sunday Aryang has come into her own — in the absence of premiership-winning former captain Courtney Bruce — and is leading the defence as Dan Ryan tests his full squad depth.

The addition of Jamaican’s Shanice Beckford and Kadie-Ann Dehaney has bolstered the confidence of Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard who is leading the Fever attack.

Fran Williams is thriving and is equal-second for defensive rebounds. The English international is learning as much as she can in a new high-performance environment and has made a real impact through the first two months.

It’s crazy to think Kelsey Browne was unsigned just months ago. Her work at centre has been an important link between the Fever’s attack and defence and helped the Fever enjoy the least turnovers of any team. Netball is a lot easier when you’ve got the ball.

Vixens

Despite a host of injuries the Vixens have only dropped one game for the season and toppled top-of-the-table Fever on their home court in the biggest scalp of the season so far.

Defender Emily Mannix is in career best form, made even more impressive by the fact she is playing out of position and Sophie Garbin is not looking like a new player, slotting into their clinical attack line.

The test for the Vixens is how long they can cope for without key pieces Kate Eddie (knee) and Zara Walters (back), who are both out injured and with no set return dates.

Their start to the season proves just how well oiled the Victorian club is regardless of personnel on court

Thunderbirds

The reigning premiers have surprisingly picked up where they left off last season, despite losing English duo Tracey Neville and Eleanor Cardwell.

Romelda Aiken George has proved her worth in the shooting circle after her stint as a replacement player at the Swifts finished and Latanya Wilson is the league’s best wing defence.

She leads the league for intercepts — ahead of teammate and reigning league MVP Shamera Stirling-Humphrey — and is in the mix to win the accolade herself.

Georgie Horjus is putting her hand up for a spot in the Diamonds squad and Lauren Frew in her first season has proven to be the perfect addition to the Thunderbirds attack line.

Lightning

Star recruit Courtney Bruce has missed the past two weeks with a calf injury, but Sunshine Coast have finally come good after a sluggish start to the season.

Many, including myself, had them pegged as minor premiers, but they have just struggled to fire, as despite the number of national team players they just haven’t gelled.

Lisa Mi Mi and Ash Ervin have been impressive and Diamonds captain Liz Watson is unstoppable, dominating centre-pass receives this season and leading all the key mid-court stats charts.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 18: Liz Watson of the Lightning zlpduring the round six Super Netball match between Melbourne Vixens and Sunshine Coast Lightning at John Cain Arena, on May 18, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Liz Watson of the Lightning. Credit: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Swifts

After winning the pre-season Team Girls Cup, many expected the Swifts to continue that form when premiership points were up for grabs.

But they look a shadow of the team that played in the grand final last year, despite a steady list and minimal changes.

Captain Maddy Proud has missed the past three weeks with a knee injury, but perhaps the biggest loss of all is Aiken-George, who was replaced by Samantha Wallace when she returned from her ACL injury.

Wallace just doesn’t look 100 per cent comfortable on her knee, despite the long recovery.

They have brought in Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua for two weeks. What they learn from her about winning the ball back could shape the rest of their season.

Mavericks

They’re the new kids on the block, and Melbourne’s latest franchise clearly still have some work to do before they can be serious finals contentions.

But they will be out to cause a stir and could be the team that knocks off some giants late in the season.

Their biggest concern at the moment is their shooting. They still haven’t named a replacement for high-profile recruit Sasha Glasgow and called on Natalie Butler during their loss to the Thunderbirds.

They started of with South African Rolene Streutker, then they tried Jamaican Shimona Jok and Butler — but still haven’t turned to training partner Uneeq Palavi.

Former GIANT Kristiana Manu’a has joined the side to replace Lauren Moore in defence.

Giants

The Giants just always seem to attract the drama.

They were apart of the game against the Lightning where there was a score-bench discrepancy and the teams were forced to return to the court after what we all thought was a draw. And they ended up winning, controversially though.

Then the following week Jamie Lee-Price became the first player to be sent off the court under harsh new rough play rules.

They rely heavily on the super shot and have taken more than any team in the league. They refuse to change up their attacking mix, despite Matisse Letherbarrow sitting on the bench while Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer struggle

With just two wins to their name they will be desperate to see the return of wing attack Maddy Hay to improve their fortunes.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 19:  Jamie-Lee Price of the Giants catches the ball during the round six Super Netball match between NSW Swifts and Giants Netball at Ken Rosewall Arena, on May 19, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Jamie-Lee Price was sensationally sent off under netball’s tough new rules. Credit: Matt King/Getty Images

Firebirds

The Firebirds are languishing at the bottom of the ladder with just one win at the halfway mark.

Coach Bec Bulley is struggling to find the best combinations in her inconsistent side and Tippah Dawn is failing to bring the form that won a premiership with the Thunderbirds just last year.

Captain Kim Ravaillion sent a scare through the league earlier in the year when back surgery delayed her start to the season and is still playing off the bench.

Tonga Tala captain Hulita Veve has been consistent and Donelle Wallam has been the anchor in attack, but they’re receiving little support.

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