With the 2022 Super Netball season just around the corner, Elly McNerney took a look at each Super Netball teams biggest ever signing and the impact they’ve made.
There have been a lot of comings and goings throughout the six seasons of Suncorp Super Netball. Some players have arrived from other leagues around the world and taken the game by storm, others have moved from other Super Netball clubs and taken their games to a whole new level and others have risen through their states pathway to dominate the competition.
Adelaide Thunderbirds: Shamera Sterling
When Shamera Sterling joined the Thunderbirds for the 2019 season, her impact was immediate. Sterling has become a key piece to that Thunderbirds defensive end and has been a lock in that goal keeper position from the get go with the Thunderbirds building combinations with Sterling in goal keeper. Both combinations of Sterling and Latayna Wilson or Sterling and Matilda Garrett worked really well.
In her first season of Suncorp Super Netball in 2019, Sterling pretty much had the goal keeper position in the leagues’ weekly team of the week cemented as her own. There were only four occasions throughout the season that she wasn’t selected in that position.
In her first season in the pink dress, Sterling had 68 intercepts and 120 deflections which quickly cemented herself as one of the best goalkeepers in the competition. In 2021, she was still just as dominant, leading the league with intercepts with 48 across the season as well as having 86 deflections.
Giants Netball: Amy Parmenter
Amy Parmenter was elevated into the main squad in 2019 after being a training partner and has since become one of the most influential wing defences in the competition.
Parmenter stepped up in her first season, when teammate Jamie-Lee Price moved into the centre to fill the void left by Serena Guthrie who went back to England. Her impact in the Giants midcourt was immediate. In her first season she had 25 intercepts and 57 deflections and was able to put that bit of doubt in the minds of the wing attacks she played against because if players gave her an inch, she’d just run with it.
Parmenter has now become a real leader in that Giants and with some young players starting to come into the side, she remains calm and just gets the job done and really gets around those young players.
Parmenter played a key role in the Giants success last season, where the side were minor premiers and made the grand final. She had 31 intercepts and 71 deflections, so she’s gone to a whole new level in 2021 and she’s no doubt prepared to improve once again in 2022.
Collingwood Magpies: Geva Mentor
Geva Mentor first signed with the Collingwood Magpies for the 2019 season, after making the move from the Sunshine Coast Lightning off the back of the Lightning’s two premierships.
Since joining the Magpies her impact has been immediate, not just on the court but off it as well. Mentor has captained the Magpies in every season she’s been at the club, alongside Madi Browne and now Ash Brazill.
It’s been a wild ride for the Magpies since Mentor came to the club, from making finals in 2019 to only winning one match in 2020. Mentor went from being in a team full of stars, to a real leader with a Magpies line-up filled with emerging talent after injuries to Brazill and the Browne sisters.
Mentor’s leadership went to a whole new level in 2020, with those injuries and players leaving she was forced to be that mentor (no pun intended) for the likes of Molly Jovic and Mel Bragg who had their first season at Super Netball level.
Mentor has created a formidable partnership with Jamaican defender Jodi-Ann Ward, having another dominant season in 2021. Although the numbers don’t show it, with only 11 intercepts, she provided that calmness at the back.
Melbourne Vixens: Caitlin Thwaites
After being not offered a contract by the Magpies for the 2019 season, Caitlin Thwaites went back to where it all began and signed with the Vixens. Thwaites was recruited to fill the void left by Mwai Kumwenda who was ruled out for most of the 2019 season due to an ACL injury towards the end of 2018 season.
Thwaites, who for all of her career was traditionally a holding goal shooter, was sensationally trained up as a goal attack where she created a strong combination with Mwai Kumwenda when she returned from injury.
The rotating goal circle for the Vixens in 2020 caused plenty of headaches for the opposition with Thwaites having strong combinations with both Kumwenda and Tegan Philip. Thwaites also played a key role in the Vixens championship season, scoring 290 goals throughout the season, scoring at an 86 percent accuracy.
Thwaites retired at the end of the 2020 season, along with Philip, leaving a huge void for the Vixens to fill.
Queensland Firebirds: Kim Ravaillion
Kim Ravaillion left the Queensland Firebirds to start with foundation club, Collingwood Magpies. Prior to leaving the Firebirds she was a two time championship player and played in the clubs four grand final appearances between 2013-2016.
After five years away, she returned to the Firebirds in 2021 and made a big impact. In her comeback season she put her name back on the map as one of the premier centres in the world.
While struggling at the Magpies, she flourished back in the Firebirds environment with her 258 goal assists for the 2021 season, putting her in fourth overall.
Having her back in the Firebirds midcourt allowed the players to flourish around her, with the wing attack the only exception, it was the same attacking end as those four grand finals. Although the wing attack position may be different, Ravaillion has created a great connection with both Lara Dunkley and Jemma Mi Mi who both spend time in those positions.
In 2022, after a year back in the purple dress Ravaillion was named the Captain of the Queensland Firebirds with previous captain Gabi Simpson choosing to step down.
New South Wales Swifts: Helen Housby
The year 2017 was a huge one for the Swifts, with many of the team’s key players making the move to expansion clubs and the Swifts bringing in the next generation of New South Wales Swifts players. One of those players was Helen Housby who signed with the Swifts that season, making an immediate impact.
Housby is a big game player, who stands tall in the big matches and the big moments which we have seen time and time again at English Roses level. Because of that Housby brings that element of calmness to the Swifts’ goal circle.
No matter how big the moment is, no matter how far away from the post she is, she’ll just sink the shot. Which is what has made her such a great super shot shooter, since the rule came in back in 2020.
Housby played a key role in the Swifts premierships in 2019 and 2021 and still remains a key piece in that New South Wales Swifts puzzle.
Sunshine Coast Lightning: Laura Langman
Laura Langman returned to the Sunshine Coast Lightning in 2019, after taking a season off. With Kelsey Browne returning home to Victoria, she was able to fill that void and Langman captained the side in 2019. It took the Lightning a few games in that season to get their groove, but once they did, led by Langman, the side was at their best.
When the Lightning needed to lift, Langman was one of the players that would do that, which may be from turning the ball over for her team or creating a really strong play or goal assist that gets the ball into the goalers—anything to just turn the momentum back the way of the Lightning.
Langman played a key role in getting the Lightning back into a third consecutive grand final, having 242 assists and 16 intercepts in 2019.
Langman called time on an illustrious netball career at the end of 2020, and although the Lightning were knocked out early on in the 2020 finals series, she left her all out on that court and the game hasn’t been the same without her.
West Coast Fever: Jhaniele Fowler
Jhaniele Fowler first signed with the West Coast Fever back in 2018 and she’s absolutely dominated ever since. Arguably the best shooter in the world, she helped the West Coast Fever to the Grand Final in her first season at the club.
Fowler takes the West Coast Fever side to a whole new level. Her body positioning and the midcourters feeding it to her highest point, makes it incredibly hard for defenders to stop her once the ball has entered that goal circle.
Since joining the West Coast Fever, her goal accuracy hasn’t dropped below 90 percent. Since signing with the Fever she’s won four consecutive player of the year awards.
Her impact can be seen just by the rise of the Fever since she joined the side. They finished 7th in the 2017 season, then made the grand final in her first season at the Fever in 2018.