This week in netball: SSN coaches extend contracts as ANZ signings continue

THIS week in netball, the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) finals series got off to a raring start, as ANZ Premiership player signings began and a number of SSN coaches extended their current contracts. The SSN finals produced some intriguing outcomes, as NSW Swifts earned a free ride to the 2021 grand final in a week’s time, not taking the court this weekend as the preliminary final plays out between GIANTS Netball and West Coast Fever in an intriguing rematch of their Round 14 matchup. GIANTS were just pipped at the post by one goal in their matchup with the Swifts, as the Fever weathered a Sunshine Coast Lightning comeback to ensure they made it to the second round of finals action. With a win split either way during the season, whichever team takes the win here will be a deserving recipient of a grand final berth. With the 2021 season over and done for five of the eight teams, two announced coaching extensions over the past week. Collingwood Magpies were quick to re-sign Nicole Richardson, who has led the squad up the ladder this season to finish with six wins as they continue their rebuild. Magpies goal shooter Shimona Nelson had only good things to say about ‘Richo’, telling the Centre Pass Podcast about the bond and connection she has with the coaching team which has contributed to her success this season. Lightning head coach Kylee Byrne has also re-signed for seasons 2022 and 2023, as the Lightning celebrated its five year anniversary on Tuesday. Across the ditch, a number of player signings have already shaken up the upcoming 2022 season, as Central Pulse confirmed as Katrina Rore and Ameliaranne Ekenasio would not be returning to the fray – with the goal attack later announcing her signing with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic – Tiana Metuarau returned to the Pulse colours after a year with the Steel. An exciting young combination awaits between Metuarau and Pulse returnee Aliyah Dunn, with the goal shooter signing on for her fifth season. Taking Metuarau’s place at the Southern Steel is Northern Mystics goaler Saviour Tui, who did not achieve much court time this season but is sure to slot in well alongside George Fisher, while Kate Burley joins the Steel defensive unit following Taneisha Fifita‘s decision to take a break from netball. The Mystics defensive end has been confirmed, with Sulu FitzpatrickPhoenix Karaka and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson all signing on in a huge grab by the 2021 premiers, while Mainland Tactix released their entire 2022 squad list on Friday morning, with Kelera Nawai the biggest fresh face to the squad following a season with the Pulse, as Erikana Pedersen and Sophia Fenwick both called time on their respective careers. The Tactix front and back ends have seen little changes, with back-to-back grand final appearances proving their connections. In other news, GIANTS goal attack Kiera Austin has reached the running stage of her ongoing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rehabilitation suffered during Round 1, while former Australian Diamond and Melbourne Vixens assistant coach Sharelle McMahon has announced her departure from the role and netball overall, heading to Cricket Victoria as their new Head of Female Cricket.


Connections key for Nelson’s continued success Lightning celebrates five years as Kylee Byrne signs on for 2022/23 SSN semi-finals wraps: Swifts clinch nail-biting win to book a grand final date // Fever weather Lightning storm to earn preliminary final chance 2021 Stats wrap: SSN Semi-finals

New Zealand

COUNTDOWN – ANZ Premiership quiet achievers: #10 Samon Nathan // #9 Claire Kersten // #8 Filda Vui // #7 Sam Winders // #6 Whitney Souness ANZ Premiership season reviews: WBOP Magic // Central Pulse // Northern Stars // Southern Steel // Mainland Tactix // Northern Mystics


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Picture credit: Steve Bell/Getty Images
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