The Suncorp Super Netball Signing Period has finished, with all 80 players signed for 2022. The Inner Sanctum now looks at what the additions will bring to each team. For all the Suncorp Super Netball signing news, stay up to date with our Off-Season Hub and follow The Inner Sanctum’s netball podcast, Over a Third, on Twitter and Instagram to get the news when it breaks.
The Adelaide Thunderbirds made just two changes this off-season, retaining eight out of 10 players for the first time in the Super Netball and the lowest number of changes since the 2013 off-season. It is clear the Thunderbirds believe they are building something and wanted to keep the young group together.
Headlining Adelaide’s additions is former Firebird goaler Tippah Dwan, who makes the move to South Australia in search of more opportunities. Her signing meant that long range shooter Samantha Gooden was not offered a contract for the 2022 season.
Dwan is a dynamic goal attack, who can also play as a goal shooter, and will add another layer to the Adelaide attacking end. Her experience playing among the internationally experienced line-up at the Firebirds will be crucial to her helping this young group continue to strive for its first Super Netball Finals series.
A combination of Dwan in goal shooter and Georgie Horjus in goal attack may be one coach Tania Obst looks to experiment with during the Super Shot periods. However, the Adelaide 2021 Club Champion has also hinted at an opportunity to push up the court, potentially playing in wing attack, with Dwan in goal attack and Lenize Potgieter at goal shooter.
The other departure, Shadine van der Merwe (Vitality Netball Superleague), left a space for a defensive midcourter. Latanya Wilson, who has signed on for a second season at the club, will likely fill the starting wing defence hole left by van der Merwe.
In filling this place, Obst and her high performance team have rewarded South Australian training partner Tayla Williams with a full-time contract. Williams played for the Thunderbirds in 2020 as a part of the extended 12 player team in the Covid hub and, with Obst’s love for rotating substitutions, she will certainly get court-time in 2022.
The Collingwood Magpies have made two changes for the 2022 season, elevating midcourter Maggie Lind from her training partner role and signing two-time premiership player Sophie Garbin.
The shake up in attack means Trinidad and Tobago goaler Kalifa McCollin and defensive midcourter Melissa Bragg were not offered contracts.
Lind, a City West Falcons player in the Victorian Netball League, was a training partner in 2021 and her competitive drive earned her a full-time contract for next year. The wing attack made her debut in Round 2 against the Giants and immediately impressed with her strength on the circle edge, feeding 10 balls in for attempts in just 20 minutes on court in a 12 goal loss.
The other new addition is West Australian Garbin who, after 49 games at the Swifts, makes the move to Melbourne to join Gabby Sinclair and Shimona Nelson in the Magpies’ goal circle. How this trio will combine, only time will tell.
Garbin is a goal shooter, but a versatile one. She can hold her own in the circle and matches up very well against some goal keepers. The addition of another strong, holding shooter will mean coach Nicole Richardson has options when things aren’t working smoothly in the front end. Garbin can also move out into the goal attack position if Collingwood is after a tall goal circle.
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The Giants added a player in each third of the court ahead of Season 2022. After losing the Grand Final in 2021, the Giants will be hoping that their additions take the team over the top for their first premiership in 2022.
The addition of Lauren Moore shapes as the biggest addition. With the departures of Sam Poolman (retirement) and Kristiana Manu’a (ANZ Premiership), the versatile defender will be called on to play a significant role in the defensive circle, alongside Tilly McDonell and April Brandley.
Amy Sligar will give the Giants some much needed midcourt depth for 2022, after Amy Parmenter, Jamie-Lee Price and Maddie Hay had little midcourt relief last season. Sligar, who has appeared at wing defence and wing attack at Super Netball level as a replacement player, will be key in providing a changeup for Julie Fitzgerald in 2022.
Matisse Letherbarrow feels less like an addition, after being a replacement player from Round 2 onwards in 2021, after Kiera Austin went down injured. Letherbarrow had limited opportunities last season, playing just 13 minutes. Despite that, she will be hoping to follow in the steps of fellow NSW pathway shooter Sophie Dwyer, who stepped seamlessly into a bigger, full-time role in 2021, playing goal attack once Austin went down.
With so much added versatility, the midcourt and the defence of the Giants are improved and will be itching for 2022. Letherbarrow’s full-time addition gives the Giants extra flexibility and planning for the shooting circle. With the changes, the Giants will be hoping to finally break through for the Club’s inaugural premiership.
After finishing last in 2021, the Melbourne Vixens went big in the off-season, looking both internally and externally to add to the squad.
The highly criticised shooting end needed a change up, particularly in goal attack. Kaylia Stanton looked more comfortable in goal shooter, a spot well-occupied by MVP runner-up Mwai Kumwenda, while youngster Ruby Barkmeyer was still learning the ropes at the level.
After the departure of Caitlin Bassett from Giants Netball to New Zealand, Austin was set for a full year of operating the circle alongside captain Jo Harten and young star Sophie Dwyer. A cruel ACL injury just 19 minutes into the season put a halt on those plans for good.
While a strong shooter in her own right, she also possesses the versatility to play in the midcourt, finding the balance between the two and winning the Giants’ most valuable player award in 2020. Not only does Austin provide a proven goal attack option, but she could also act as a wing attack rotation with Kate Moloney and Hannah Mundy.
This gives the connection between the midcourt and the circle a dynamism that it hasn’t seen in the Super Netball era.
Mundy and Rahni Samason have been elevated to the main squad from within. Mundy slotted seamlessly into the Vixens mid-court in 2021 as a replacement player for Liz Watson, playing every game and forming a strong partnership with Moloney in both wing attack and centre.
Samason meanwhile showed how much of a threat she can be in the Power Five, a deadly range shooter with a penchant for standing up in clutch moments. If the 2022 season begins earlier as has been reported due to the Commonwealth Games, Samason could be the starting goal attack while Austin completes her recovery.
Olivia Lewis then comes in as Kadie-Ann Dehaney’s replacement. A specialist goal keeper, she’s slowly building her resume after 19 games with the West Coast Fever.
While the 22-year-old struggled for court time amongst a Diamonds-studded defensive end, she was named in the national development squad in August. Lewis will likely act as an impact rotation, coming on off the bench to give Emily Mannix a chop out as she continues to grow her game.
And of course, Diamonds captain Liz Watson is basically a whole new recruit after sitting the year out after foot surgery. One of the best players in the world, Watson will add another dimension to the Vixens’ midcourt.
After winning the premiership in 2021, the Swifts priority was replacing the talent lost. The Swifts lost Natalie Haythornthwaite (to the UK), Sophie Garbin (to Collingwood) and Lauren Moore (to cross-town rivals, the Giants).
The Swifts lost a premiership midcourter, and added a replacement premiership midcourter in Allie Smith. Smith made her name in the 2020 season, as the Vixens stormed to a premiership. Starved of opportunity in 2021, Smith will relish the increased opportunity on court.
Smith has traditionally been a wing defence, while spending some time in centre for the Vixens in 2021. Her addition to the Swifts midcourt will allow Briony Akle to maximise the versatility of all the players in her midcourt rotation, as Tayla Fraser, Paige Hadley, Maddy Proud and now Smith can all play multiple positions.
The ability to change lineups depending on the matchups has been a favoured tactic of Akle’s over recent years and showed up throughout the 2021 season, and particularly the finals series.
At the ends of the Court, the Swifts have opted for youth, bringing up Kelly Singleton and Teigan O’Shannassy to the full time roster. Singleton made two appearances for the Swifts in 2020, before returning to the role of training partner in 2021, and will fill the hole left by Sophie Garbin’s departure.
She will have the opportunity to grow her game alongside the likes of Helen Housby and Sam Wallace, the international superstars who have been so effective for the Swifts over the last few seasons. As a NSW pathway athlete, Singleton has played under Akle previously, who will be sure to utilise her effectively.
O’Shannassy has been in the NSW pathway for five years, but played most of that time with the Giants, before being part of the Swifts environment in 2021. O’Shannassy gives credit to her time under Akle as a junior, and more recently under Bec Bulley at both the Giants and the Swifts for her development.
She will replace Lauren Moore, who covered all three defensive positions at different times for the Swifts over the past few seasons. Working with the likes of Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner in the defensive circle will give O’Shannassy the chance to grow quickly.
O’Shannassy and Singleton will need to adjust quickly, as the Swifts look to defend their premiership, as the rest of the Super Netball competition tries to take the premiership crown.
The Firebirds have had three new additions to the purple for 2022, with Mia Stower, Ruby Bakewell Doran and Eboni Usoro-Brown joining the Firebirds line up.
Stower came in to replace sharpshooter Tippah Dwan who made the move to the Adelaide Thunderbirds, Stower was a part of the Firebirds extended bench for 2020 but wasn’t able to see much court time, but after having a season in the training environment expect her to be ready to go and not afraid to take the super shot.
Ruby Bakewell-Doran was another player elevated to the Firebirds side after defender Rudi Ellis made the move out west to the Fever for 2022. Bakewell-Doran played three games in 2021, making her debut in round nine against the Giants. Bakewell-Doran brings a spark to the Firebirds defensive line and isn’t afraid to go for the intercept.
She’s also versatile, being able to play both goal defence and goalkeeper. In the final game against the Vixens the combination of Bakewell-Doran in GD and Kim Jenner in GK worked well and to have a preseason to develop that combination even more, expect to see that Bakewell-Doran/Jenner combination a lot more over the next few years.
The final addition to the Queensland Firebirds is none other than former Roses captain Eboni Usoro-Brown who is no stranger to the big stage, having won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and was a part of the Team Bath side who made it to the Grand Final in the Vitality Netball Super League in 2021.
Her biggest strength is her ability to flip a game on its head and allow for the momentum to swing back in favour of her side. Introducing an experienced head in the Firebirds defence end like Usoro-Brown could be the addition that takes the Firebirds into the finals come 2022.
Sunshine Coast Lightning
The Lightning made four new additions to their squad for 2022, bringing in two experienced defenders and two bright young talents. The team from the Sunshine Coast finds itself a lot younger, with experienced bookends Phumza Maweni and Peace Proscovia departing.
Tara Hinchliffe is the headliner of the group, helping to forge a brutally tough defensive group. The asterisk on the end of it is Hinchliffe’s late season ACL rupture which will likely see the defender miss a significant chunk of the season.
The Firebirds struggled without her, giving up 79 and 66 goals in successive matches after she went down as injuries took their toll.
Sunshine Coast will miss her positioning and strong intercepting as she recovers, but the recruitment of Kadie-Ann Dehaney should help to alleviate that.
With the star Sunshine Girl defender onboard, the Lightning will have a powerful defensive presence across the court. A starting line-up of Dehaney, Karla Pretorious, and Kate Shimmin will have opposition shooters on edge.
Dehaney’s speed and long reach in the back third will help to complement the Lightning’s best play, with Mahalia Cassidy utilising her own pace to feed into the safe hands of Cara Koenen and Steph Wood.
Giants training partner Annie Miller will add another offensive midcourter into the mix, capable of playing across wing attack and centre. She’s only played four minutes at SSN level, but her strongest attributes of pace and endurance indicate a specific 2022 game plan from head coach Kylee Byrne; out-pacing and out-lasting every opponent.
Local talent Reilley Batcheldor earned a contract off the back of a strong Born to Shine series with the Queensland Sapphires. She demonstrated strong movement both inside and out of the circle, while showing off her long range shooting in some dominant victories.
She seems to be a natural successor to Steph Wood, and will hone her craft well under the Diamonds superstar.
West Coast Fever
The Fever have had minimal changes during the off-season, only adding exciting defender Rudi Ellis into the mix, with defender Olivia Lewis departing the club to go to the Melbourne Vixens.
Ellis provides depth defensively, being able to play both goal defence and goal keeper, while only making 17 appearances in the purple, there is plenty to come from Ellis. She’s a proven ball winner, claiming eight intercepts and 24 deflections in 2021.
Being able to have that fourth option in the defensive circle and second option for goal keeper means that new coach Dan Ryan has the flexibility to shake up the defensive end if need be.
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