This week in netball – International tests announced as SSN grand final looms

A LOT happened both on and off the netball court this week, with plenty of international news gracing the netball world as the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) league looks to its biggest day of the year in the 2021 SSN Grand Final. A huge result was had in the SSN preliminary final, with the GIANTS well and truly shaking the West Coast Fever to the core with an impressive three-goal 64-61 victory. Sam Poolman starred for the GIANTS, denying Jhaniele Fowler her typical presence or scoring ability, while Amy Parmenter wreaked havoc in wing defence and Jo Harten well and truly won the captains battle against Courtney Bruce. This result also marked Stacey Marinkovich‘s final match in Fever colours, having completed her time as head coach at the club to focus on her Australian Diamonds coaching duties. The GIANTS will now suit up in an all-NSW battle on Saturday afternoon, taking on the NSW Swifts for the fourth time this season in what is expected to be a phenomenal match as both teams head into their second SSN grand final – though with differing success. Watch out for the clash between Harten and Sarah Klau, while Poolman will have her work cut out for her against Sam Wallace, who plays a very different role to Fowler. Meanwhile, Maddy Proud will take the court in her maiden SSN grand final with her 2019 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury keeping her out of the Swifts premiership win. To make things all the more intriguing, GIANTS head coach Julie Fitzgerald coached NSW Swifts head coach Briony Akle in the formerly known Sydney Swifts’ maiden Commonwealth Bank Trophy premiership in 2001. Outside of the SSN, a number of test matches have been confirmed this week, with the Australian Diamonds and England Roses set to go head-to-head for the first time in close to three years, and the Roses also set to play a series with the New Zealand Silver Ferns. The Diamonds and Roses will play the three-match series in early October, pending restrictions, with date and times to be confirmed. “This is important preparation for the Origin Australian Diamonds ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games and we thank both Netball England and Netball New Zealand for their commitment and efforts to make it possible,” Netball Australia CEO Kelly Ryan said in a press release. “It will be particularly exciting to watch a number of the Australian-based Roses, who play in the Suncorp Super Netball League, to go up against their teammates at the international level. “We are working closely with state and federal governments to ensure these series go ahead in a covid-safe way and we will provide an update on dates, venues and ticketing as soon as possible.” Meanwhile, the 2021 Australian Netball Championships (ANC) – formerly Australian Netball League (ANL) – is still set to go ahead but in a different format to what was initially intended, set to go ahead in a decentralised setting due to ongoing COVID-19 limitations. The 2021 Victorian Netball League (VNL) is also still on pause due to Victoria’s current restrictions. Across the ditch in New Zealand, a plethora of player signings were made ahead of the 2022 ANZ Premiership season, with reigning premiers Northern Mystics cementing their backline following confirmation of Phoenix Karaka and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson joining Sulu Fitzpatrick, while Australian Claire O’Brien has been elevated to the main group following a season as a training partner. Mystics have also signed former Stars goaler Monica Falkner, while the Stars have picked up Holly Fowler and Kayla Johnson (nee Cullen), who most recently played for the Swifts in 2019 and signed on for 2020 before taking a break from netball due to pregnancy. Temalisi Fakahokotau heads to the Central Pulse following an interrupted couple of seasons with injury, looking to cement her place at her third club in as many seasons. The Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic has made a flurry of changes, seeing Fowler and Fakahokotau depart, while managing to lure a couple of Silver Ferns – and a couple of former Pulse premiership players – in Ameliaranne EkenasioClaire Kersten and Bailey MesOceane Maihi joins the Magic backline, while Caitlin Bassett looks set to return home to Australia following a season at the club.  


GIANTS squash Fever for all-NSW grand final berth // SSN: Player analysis – Sam Poolman Australian Netball Championships replaced by hub-based model 2021 VNL deep dive: In the mix 2021 SSN preview: Grand final // 2021 SSN Head to head: Grand final

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