2023 SSN | Round 10 preview: Time to focus on court

AFTER a chaotic week in Australian netball, fans would love nothing more than an exciting round of Suncorp Super Netball action this weekend.

Said round begins in Sydney with the GIANTS returning home to host the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

Last time these two sides met was back in Round 1 and it was a big win to the Lightning that really made the rest of the competition stand up and take notice.

Although the Lightning have not always lived up to that Round 1 hype this season, there is still plenty of time for them to get back to that level, and after last week, they now know better than ever that they can recover from a bad start and that Steph Wood and Cara Koenen can shoot them back into a game. They just need to leave more time for the comeback than they did last week.

Jo Harten is still out for the GIANTS which is a big loss, so Matisse Letherbarrow is going to really have to step up again because coming up against Kadie-Ann Dehaney is quite a different challenge as compared to Geva Mentor who she faced last week.

The second of Saturday’s games is in Melbourne with the Vixens hosting the Thunderbirds.

The Vixens may be at home and on a three match winning streak, but they cannot afford to repeat last week’s fourth quarter if they want to defeat the Thunderbirds.

The Thunderbirds are on a five-match winning streak and are in some scintillating form after ripping apart the Firebirds last week, but do have a number of injury concerns coming into this week.

Tippah Dwan is likely to be out with an ankle injury while Hannah Petty is also under an injury cloud.

Dwan being out is particularly bad for the Thunderbirds, because their most successful shooting partnership this season has arguably been her and Eleanor Cardwell. Cardwell will have to work with Lucy Austin this week and they will have to quickly try and make their combination more mobile and work together better to counter Dwan’s absence.

They face a defensive partnership in Jo Weston and Olivia Lewis who both have a strong aerial game, so the Thunderbirds midcourters are going to have to be smart and creative to get around those two and into Austin and Cardwell.

Sunday’s action begins in Sydney with the Swifts hosting the Magpies.

It has been a week the Magpies would rather forget, so no doubt this game cannot come around soon enough but time will tell how much of a mental toll this week has taken on the team and how that will affect them come game day.

They come up against a Swifts side though that will be brimming with confidence after they held on for an epic win against the Fever last week.

In saying that, they are a little bit lighter on defensively this week, so their defence may be a little bit stretched with both Teigan O’Shannassy and Allie Smith missing this clash.

This may not prove disastrous though because Collingwood’s shooting combination Shimona Nelson and Sophie Garbin are a little down on confidence at the moment, so this will either be perfect timing for the Swifts or perfect timing for Collingwood’s shooters to gain back some confidence. It will also be interesting to see if they decide to give Kelly Singleton more game time than usual because she can make quite an impact on games, but just is not given enough game time to truly shine.

The last game of the round is across the country in Perth as the Fever host the Firebirds and after last week’s clashes this could be a potentially very dangerous game for the Firebirds. After being well beaten by an under-strength Thunderbirds side last week, and combine that with a Fever side at home coming off two one goal losses, and things do not look pretty for the Firebirds. However, they surprised everyone by matching it really well with the Fever the last time the two sides played, so time will tell which version of the Firebirds comes to play.

The two battles between the goal shooters and goal keepers are sure to be an intriguing pair of battles. Up one end Remi Kamo will have one of the toughest challenges of her young Super Netball career taking on the might of Jhaniele Fowler, while up the other end Donnell Wallam is going to have to pull plenty of tricks out of her kit bag to beat Courtney Bruce.

SSN Round 10 Fixture (All times local)

GIANTS Netball vs Sunshine Coast Lightning – Saturday at 5pm – Ken Rosewall Arena

Melbourne Vixens vs Adelaide Thunderbirds – Saturday at 7pm – John Cain Arena

NSW Swifts vs Collingwood Magpies – Sunday at 2pm – Ken Rosewall Arena

West Coast Fever vs Queensland Firebirds – Sunday at 2pm – RAC Arena

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