Three Questions With: Super Netball Commentators
ON the eve of yet another huge Suncorp Super Netball Season, it is time to hear some season predictions from some of the people who know the game best.
At the recent league Season Launch, questions were posed to three of the most familiar faces in Australian commentary circles – Bianca Chatfield, Sue Gaudion and Cath Cox.
The trio were all asked the same questions; who they thought would make the Grand Final, who they thought would be the most improved side this year, and which player they thought would have a breakout year. Read on to see what their answers were.
When asked who she thought would make the Grand Final, Chatfield produced a slight surprise in her prediction.
“I think the Grand Final will be West Coast Fever and Adelaide Thunderbirds. I really feel Fever are going to be an incredible force who now have now shown they world they can be on the big stage so I think they’ll be really hard to stop and I really like what I’m seeing from the Thunderbirds so I think it could be they could be the surprise packet.”
Chatfield believes last year’s wooden spooners will not end up there again this season.
“I actually think the Sunshine Coast Lightning will be the most improved because they’ve brought in Charlie Bell now at shooter which gives them another option. Karla Pretorius is back. Where they sat last year at the bottom of the ladder I don’t think really is a very good indication of where they’re going to be this season and I expect them to finish in the top four.”
When asked who she thought was going to have a breakout year, a young shooter in orange came to mind.
“I’m going to say Matisse Letherbarrow for the GIANTS. I think we’re going to see her out on court more and I think she’s just been waiting for court time to really show everyone what she can do, and we saw a little bit of it in preseason but I expect her to be the shooting force for the GIANTS.”
When asked who would make the Grand Final, Gaudion was a little bit less certain than Chatfield.
“At the end of the day it’s anyone’s game but if you go based on lists, I genuinely think Fever can be up there, and you never (underestimate) the Melbourne Vixens just through sheer club pride and history. I think it’s a really interesting one with the Swifts because you know you won’t see Sam Wallace for a period of time, but we saw very quickly at the Team Girls Cup what Romelda Aiken can do for them so I just think they’re a really young, well they’ve been a young group that have formed together over time. But I could make a case for any team in the league to be honest.”
One thing Gaudion was certain on was her prediction of who the most improved side in 2023 will be.
“I’m going to go to the Sunshine Coast Lightning, and I know that’s easy to say because they finished eighth but I like the way they went about their business at the Team Girls Cup. New coach, bit of vibrance, bit of freshness into the team, Karla Pretorius comes back and she is only going to get better as the season goes on and they’ve got some really exciting youth in their training partners in Charlie Bell, obviously coming in in the absence of Reilley Batcheldor, so I actually think they’re going to be the big improvers without a doubt.”
She nominated Tayla Williams from the Adelaide Thunderbirds to be the one to have a breakout year, noting that Williams “has had intermittent court time” but also saying “I just like the way she’s not fancy, she’s just a settled player. I like the way she sees the circle, feeds the circle so I think I don’t know if it’ll be a breakout year because it’s relevant to her court time but I certainly think she’s a star of the future.”
Cox was a touch more straightforward with her predictions than her fellow commentators.
She believes the 2023 Grand Final will be a repeat of the 2022 decider, with the Fever and Vixens to again make the final game of the year.
She believes the Thunderbirds will be the most improved side in 2023, and predicted their star recruit Eleanor Cardwell to have a breakout season.