01/03/2024

Sophie Fawns is one of the feel good stories of the SSN signing period. (Photo: NSW Swifts)

Another SSN offseason brings many new opportunities for a new crop of players with full-time contracts in 2023.

During the Suncorp Super Netball offseason, there are many hard-luck stories and many opportunities that are presented to players who have been striving for more.

These are those stories of the new crop of SSN players with full-time contracts in 2023 and what difference they will make to their teams.

Nyah Allen

The Collingwood Magpies have signed former training partner Nyah Allen to her first senior contract after three seasons.

The 20-year-old goal attack and goal shooter joined the Magpies after a stint with her home club in the Adelaide Thunderbirds, which commenced during her two years with the South Australian state team.

Hailing from Mount Gambier in South Australia, she moved to Victoria when the possibility of making an SSN team was closer at the Magpies.

Recognised in the 2022 Magpies MVP Awards, Allen was awarded the Fly Higher Award as the side’s rising star.

In 2023, she realises her dream after a breakout year in 2020, where she started to really showcase her Super Shot scoring as well as her overall composure and accuracy.

Allen joins a young shooting circle at the Magpies with Sophie Garbin and Shimona Nelson both in the infancy of their international netball careers for Jamaica and Australia respectively.

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Sophie Fawns

Hailing from Wagga Wagga, Sophie Fawns looms as one of the brightest prospects in Australian netball after dominating the NSW pathway. This form transferred relatively well to the SSN stage with many eyes on her ahead of next season’s Diamonds development squad.

For Fawns, playing alongside Helen Housby and Kelly Singleton this season was unexpected, considering she was not contracted to the Swifts until Round 2.

She was one of the highlights for keen netball watchers, as Fawns grew in stature and confidence each week and in the absence of Sam Wallace, she played her role for the team to perfection.

The 18-year-old shooter was called into the team as a temporary replacement player after star shooter Sam Wallace tore her ACL. She was then elevated a few rounds later to a permanent replacement player, playing out the season in goal shooter.

She scored 153 goals for the season with seven Super Shots and 11 rebounds. Fawns provided a great partnership with Housby in the circle, ensuring she troubled opposition just as much as her teammate.

In the next season her role will be coming off the bench to cover Housby or Wallace, with the young shooter now able to learn from the veterans of the team. She will also be more confident on the court with the security of a contract for the whole season and backing of the club.

Lucy Austin

Lucy Austin is another South Australian given a full time contract in 2023, although she is given the start at her home club. After just over two years as a training partner at the Adelaide Thunderbirds, she picked up the fan-voted MVP award in her debut game.

Making her debut this season in the absence of Lenize Potgeiter, Austin showed up with a strong performance shooting 17/18 goals with one Super Shot. She followed this up with 49/53 goals in Round 11 to really tempt the Thunderbirds into promoting her.

In a handful of games, she shot at 89 per cent for 103 goals with three Super Shots and seven rebounds. She looms as a large threat next season, seemingly competing with Tippah Dwan for the second bib inside the goal circle, with star English Rose Eleanor Cardwell tipped to get the first.

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