Flow's Super Netball preview
Updated: Apr 29
Thunderbirds to finish bottom of Super Netball 2021
With the Super Netball season set to begin this weekend, there is much to be excited about for netball fans.
After a testing 2020 season - where it was quite extraordinary that a season got going at all - a Queensland hub made the limited season possible.
The Melbourne Vixens reigned victorious at the conclusion of it all, defeating the West Coast Fever in a thrilling grand final.
The 2021 season is set to be exciting, with interesting offseason moves, the competition is set to be closer than ever before.
Unfortunately for the West Coast Fever, their grand final loss is not the only thing they will recover from coming into this season. The Fever also has to deal with a 12-point salary cap penalty for breaches in 2018 and 2019.
With four points awarded per victory in a 14-game season, the Fever is essentially beginning the season three games behind the rest.
It will be very difficult for the Fever to play finals as a result.
The dawn of season 2021 comes as the International Netball Federation (INF) announced that the Netball World Cup will return to Australian shores in 2027.
In addition to a prospective post-pandemic tourism boost, the World Cup will inspire current and future netballers competing in the Super Netball league to earn a spot in their respective country’s test team.
Sydney will host the Netball World Cup for the third time, with Australia winning the two previous times the tournament was hosted in the NSW capital. The Diamonds national team will be aiming for a record 12th title when South Africa hosts the preceding tournament in 2023.
International Netball Federation (INF) President Liz Nicholl said;
"Australia put in a strong bid and we are confident they will deliver an excellent event in the city of Sydney, as we have seen Netball Australia do so in the past.”
The Adelaide Thunderbirds will be hoping to turn around a poor showing in recent seasons.
Spearheaded by captain and former Wudinna junior player Hannah Petty, and coached by Tania Obst, Thunderbirds will be hoping to avoid a finish at the bottom of the ladder.
Speaking at the Thunderbirds' 2021 season launch, Petty spoke of her excitement leading the team:
"The group this year is different from every other year I've been a part of, there's something really special."
However, their task to be competitive will be further hampered by the absences of Layla Guscoth (English Superleague) and Chelsea Pitman (delisted).
After finishing bottom in 2020, the Collingwood Magpies will be hoping for more promising performances in 2021.
Coached by Nicole Richardson, and led by skipper and defensive stonewall Geva Mentor, the Magpies will be hoping to stay injury-free.
The signing of Kalifa McCollin from Trinidad and Tobago provides some much needed attacking prowess.
In 2020, the absence of Caitlin Bassett really hampered greater western Sydney's Giants.
Coached by Julie Fitzgerald, the Giants will be one of the big improvers after a disappointing last season.
With Bassett off the books, and additions in the form of Sophie Dwyer and April Brandley (both elevated from training partners), the Giants should play finals.
In sport, teams and reigns at the top often come and go quickly - and super netball is no different.
The Vixens will have a tough task winning the premiership once more after tasting the ultimate success in 2020.
With retirements to key pillars Tegan Phillips and Caitlin Thwaites, Simone McKinnis will coach a different looking side than in recent years in 2021.
Melbourne will be hoping for big returns in goal from Edenhope product from Horsham Districts netball, up and coming goaler Sacha McDonald - sister AFL players Tom and Oscar McDonald.
The Swifts have been a consistent outfit in recent years, and it will be no different this year.
With a stable roster and limited off-season movement, a premiership is around the corner for this side co-captained by centre/wing-attacks Maddy Proud and Paige Hadley.
The Swifts' incentive for success will be increased by the season marking the Swifts' 25th anniversary year.
The signing of Kim Ravaillion will only bolster an improving Firebirds outfit.
With a star-studded forward duo in new mum Gretel Bueta and her attacking partner Romelda Aiken, the Firebirds are set to play finals and possibly make a grand final appearance.
Sunshine Coast Lighting
With Laura Langman’s retirement a massive loss, the Lightning is a little short in the mid-court this year as a result.
Key ins include cross-town raids from the Firebirds bringing in Mahalia Cassidy and Kate Shimmin.
Jacqui Russel has also retired.
West Coast Fever
With a 12-point disadvantage, it will be very, very hard for the Fever to make up-ground.
Despite having the best goal-shooter by a country-mile in Jhaniele Fowler at their disposal, the Fever will be competitive every week.
They may just fall short of a finals appearance because of their penalty.