Super Netball Super Shot: Vixens make title statement

Sunday Aryang of the Fever and Kiera Austin of the Vixens contest for the ball Paul Kane/Getty Images

We're officially halfway through the Super Netball season with round seven drawing to a close.

The round started with the Sunshine Coast Lightning coming back into the top four after winning the Battle of the Bruce against the Queensland Firebirds, while the Adelaide Thunderbirds and the Melbourne Vixens have come away with big wins against two of the league's finals contenders.

Round seven also saw two milestones, with Thunderbirds defender Latanya Wilson appearing in her 50th national league match, while NSW coach Briony Akle coached her 100th League match. Wilson first joined the Thunderbirds back in 2021 after a stint in the Netball Super League in the UK, while Akle joined the Swifts in 2018.

ESPN takes a look at the four biggest talking points from round seven.


One of the hardest tasks in Super Netball in 2024 is to go over to RAC Arena to play the Fever. Not only are the Fever playing a strong brand of netball, but a packed RAC Arena serves as an 11th player for the Fever. For the Vixens to win by 11 goals without Kate Eddy or Zara Walters is a mammoth performance by the visitors.

The absences meant that the Vixens had to change around their defensive end, pushing Jo Weston out to wing defence with Rudi Ellis set with the task of stopping Jhaniele Fowler- Nembhard. Ellis put out one of her best performances to date for the Vixens, working with Emily Mannix to disrupt the flow of the Fever attack end. Ellis finished the game with three intercepts and one deflection.

Then it was the usual suspects in attack, with Kiera Austin leading the charge. A lot of the Vixens strong passages of play had Austin involved, whether it was up the court or feeding the ball into Sophie Garbin. Austin finished the match with 25 goals in regular time, shooting at 90 percent efficiency as well as four Supershots. The Diamonds goaler also added 22 feeds, 16 goal assists, one intercept and one deflection, in what was a player of the match performance. Garbin was also strong under the post, outscoring Fowler-Nembhard with 46 goals at 88 percent accuracy.

Vixens coach Simone McKinnis was pleased with her side's performance.

"I'm obviously pleased to go back to Naarm with the win," McKinnis said.

"We had set some targets for ourselves in terms of conversion centre pass and gained ball but one of the areas that we wanted to improve on was those ball skills and execution, working the depths and the width and the punch down in that attack end.

"I just thought our ball skills and ball movement was excellent which we had focused on this week. It's important when you're playing Fever you can't afford to give them too many opportunities. I'm just super proud of the defence and it's one of the biggest tasks there is and they just threw themselves at it every step of the way."


Sunday marked the first Super Netball game for Maddie Hay since Round 14 last year, after missing the opening seven rounds of the season due to major hip surgery over the off-season. The injection of Hay into the Giants lineup worked wonders, setting up more of a free flowing attack line for the Giants with the 28-year-old looking like she never left.

In rounds gone by, the Giants had struggled to get the ball past the centre and into the attacking third but with Hay back in the lineup, the Giants were able to transition the ball from their defensive end to attack easier with Hay providing a steady hand, refusing to get flustered. Hay finished the match with 35 feeds and 18 goal assists.

"It's great for us to have her back," Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald said when asked about Hay's return.

"I think we're not only thrilled to have her back because she does have that control down the attack end, but to see what she's been through and it was a horrible operation and how hard she's worked in rehab and kept a smile on her face the whole time."


When you think of the Adelaide Thunderbirds midcourt, the focus normally goes to Laura Scherian and Georgie Horjus. However, over the last couple of weeks it's been Tayla Williams who has stepped up for the Thunderbirds.

Williams can do it all. She can rack up the feeds and goal assists in attack with her combinations with both Horjus and Scherian respectively a key part of the Thunderbirds midcourt, while in defence she's able to get deflections and gains in the midcourt which is what makes her one of the best defensive centres in the competition.

The match against the Swifts was no different, racking up 30 feeds and 17 goal assists to go with one intercept, two gains and three deflections. The emergence in her game adds more flexibility to the Thunderbird's attack line, which gives Tania Obst the freedom to move Georgie Horjus into goal attack without taking away from the midcourt.

For the last few seasons, there has been that sense of overreliance on Horjus, often needing the 22-year-old in two places at once but the rise of Williams and the introduction of Scherian has proved that's no longer the case.


As a fresh cycle starts Stacey Marinkovich and the Diamonds selectors will potentially be looking to introduce some new faces to take the Diamonds through to the World Cup in 2027.

Ash Ervin and Georgie Horjus have been in impressive form this season, which will make a strong case for the pair to be either added to the Diamonds' wider squad or invited into the training environment.

Ervin is getting better by the game and this weekend was no different, going head-to-head with Firebirds star Donnell Wallam. While it took her a bit of time to get into the game, once she got her first deflection she quickly became a key part in the Lightning's win. As Ervin started to get more deflections and gain, the more the Firebirds attack line struggled to get the ball into Wallam.

Ervin finished the match with four intercepts, 11 gains and nine deflections as she continued her strong start to 2024.

We all know that Marinkovich loves versatility in her players and Horjus has that in spades as she is able to swing between goal attack and wing attack with ease. Horjus injects speed into the front line and isn't afraid to let the ball go into the goalers or sink a long-range shot while in the goal circle.

Horjus played a key role in the Thunderbird's win over the Swifts over the weekend, finishing the match with 11 feeds, 10 goal assists and nine goals, shooting at 90 percent.