Home Australia Super Netball quick hits: Mavericks find a loophole, youngsters to watch out for and who’s the team to beat?

Super Netball quick hits: Mavericks find a loophole, youngsters to watch out for and who’s the team to beat?

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Shimona Nelson raises her hand for the ball in the shooting circle

Ahead of the eighth season of Super Netball, the league has taken a turn with the introduction of an 11th player rule that allows teams to sign an athlete on a six-month full-time contract outside the salary cap.

Incoming team Melbourne Mavericks have already targeted them this year as the shiny new addition competing in Collingwood’s place and the loophole they have found to sign an experienced Jamaican marksman as their 11th player has amplified even more so. .

Of course, there is much more to talk about in such an exciting time, when all possibilities remain on the table for each team. Who are the favorites? Which players should you pay attention to? And where do opposition captains realistically think the Mavericks will be in their inaugural year?

We’ve got you covered with our Super Netball quick hits for 2024.

Look out for lots of new conversation topics every Monday afternoon as we finish each round.

1. Is it fair that the Mavericks signed Jok?

Let’s start with the biggest news in the league right now, as fans try to understand how an experienced Jamaican shooter like Shimona Jok (née Nelson) can be eligible to sign as an 11th player.

The parameters around this new rule tell the player:

1. Must be contracted by 2024 as a nominated athlete.

2. Must be eligible to represent Australia in accordance with World Netball regulations.

3. You must be 26 years of age or younger OR have not taken the court in more than five Super Netball or Trans-Tasman Championship matches.

Jok calls for the ball while on the court during the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.(Getty: Mark Kolbe)

The first requirement is an easy tic. Jok will also turn 26 in December, so she meets the third requirement, despite having played more than 70 Super Netball matches during her time with the Adelaide Thunderbirds and Collingwood Magpies since moving to Australia in 2018.

It’s the second requirement where things get complicated. Jok made her debut for Jamaica in 2017 and over the past two years she has been on the podium with the Sunshine Girls at both the Commonwealth Games (silver) and the Netball World Cup (bronze). Jok also represented Jamaica on two recent international tours to New Zealand in 2022 and England in 2023.

So how would he be eligible to play for Australia?


Well, World Netball’s regulations seem to depend entirely on what happens at the World Cup, with no other limits taken into account when considering whether a player can change allegiance and play for another country. Although Jok received a medal in the big tournament, she was included in the broader team as a reserve and did not actually take the court.

Jok has also been granted residency in Australia to work, so by the letter of the law, those two factors give him the green light.

The news comes at a desperate time for the Mavericks, after the team lost two of its full-time contract stars in the offseason: Sasha Glasgow (compound leg fracture) and Lauren Moore (ACL). Therefore, news of Jok signing alongside 23-year-old South African Roelene Struetker as a replacement for Glasgow has been much-needed for a club that has already faced so much turbulence.

But the whole situation seems a little ridiculous; some would even go so far as to argue that it goes against the spirit by which the rule was introduced.

Since the criteria gives the impression that the No. 11 spot is supposed to go to an emerging local player and the Firebirds (Ali Miller), Vixens (Emily Andrew), Thunderbirds (Tyler Orr) and Fever (Ruth Aryang) have treated him as such, signing young Australian talents outside their teams.

2. Some teams choose not to include the number 11 player

However, not all teams have been interested in signing an 11th player, and some teams have so far opted out entirely. Super Netball clubs have until the third round to submit a number 11 player for league approval, but the Lightning, Giants and Swifts are yet to accept the offer.


The Swifts also have the most stable roster, with no new combinations this year.(Getty: Mark Metcalfe)

The latter two are owned by Netball NSW and are believed to have scrapped the idea entirely, so it could be a directive from their member organisation. What most would not know is that it has not been a clear decision for any club.

His comments have been that the new rule was not mentioned until quite late in the article, after an already long salary dispute last year that forced teams to scramble just before Christmas to be able to sign their 10 contracts.

It was just another thing to think about and clubs also had to find the money to pay this extra player themselves, so for a team like the Swifts who committed to seven training partners this year, it probably felt like an exaggeration.

These 11th players will not automatically get a seat on the bench on match day, as only 10 can still be named for each match. They would have to get the nod before one of the full-time contracted players, so it will be interesting to see if we see one of the 11 players on the court this year and, if so, how each team rotates the rest of their players. team tactically to fit them in.

3. Who is the team to beat and why?

ABC Sport caught up with each of the Super Netball captains on launch day in Sydney a few weeks ago, where they were asked which team was their biggest threat for the premiership this season.

The Lightning were the most common response, as the big winners of the transfer period, attracting two of the world’s best players, Liz Watson and Courtney Bruce, to the Sunshine Coast to join Aussie Diamonds teammates Steph Fretwell and Cara Koenen.

Liz Watson chases a ball while playing on the wings

Fans are still getting used to seeing Watson on the Lightning after a decade with the Vixens.(Getty: Jenny Evans)

Only Thunderbirds captain Hannah Petty mentioned the NSW Swifts, who she believes will be “tough to beat again this year”, after the team in red took the 2023 minor premiership and finished runners-up trailing the Thunderbirds in the grand final by a single goal. The Swifts declared themselves one of the true favorites for this year when they won the Team Girls Cup just days after Petty gave her prediction.

Hannah Petty – Swifts and lightning

Kim Ravaillion – Lightning and Mavericks

Paige Hadley – Lightning

Jess Anstiss – Lightning

Jo Harten – Lightning

Steph Fretwell – thunder birds

Kate Moloney – Lightning

Amy Parmenter – Lightning

4. Where will the ‘best dressed’ Mavericks realistically end up?

While all of the captains agreed that the Mavericks have the best uniform this season, and love the powder blues and pinks in their attire, they had a hard time giving a prediction on where they would place in their inaugural year.

Even Fretwell, who acknowledged that he knows exactly what it’s like to be part of a start-up club that finds success in its early years, was hesitant.


Can Amy Parmenter’s team overcome their injuries to fight for a place in the final?(Getty: Mark Metcalfe)

In the end, most players predicted they would finish mid-table after putting pressure on other teams for a place in the finals, before ultimately missing out.

Hadley of the Swifts and Firebird Ravaillion were the only two who thought the Mavs could actually make the top four. But that was before they lost Moore in the Team Girls Cup.

5. Young people to pay attention to

With so many international superstars in Super Netball, along with our best Australian talent, you could really include almost every one of the 80 full-time athletes as players to watch.

But if we focus on this season’s ‘rising star’ contenders (awarded annually to a player who plays at least five games in his first year in the league), there are some obvious names to recommend.

Streutker stretches his arms while holding the ball to shoot.

Streutker dazzled in her short time on the Mavericks court in the Team Girls Cup.(Getty: Jenny Evans)

At the preseason Team Girls Cup, several of these players had the opportunity to put their best foot forward and perform in front of the fans.

In the shooting portion, West Coast Fever’s 20-year-old Olivia Wilkinson entertained the crowd with 72 percent accuracy and five massive super shots, while Thunderbirds newcomer Lauren Frew showed off a style of mature game beyond his 23 years.

The Mavericks’ latest signing, Streutker, is another who is keen to challenge herself after shining on her international debut last year for the Proteas.

Midfielders Zara Walters (Vixens) and Ava Black (Lightning) also caught our eye for their hard work in the on-pitch engine room, as did Giants defender Erin O’Brien with her long, outstretched limbs.

6. Mixed reception to rule changes

Beyond the 11th player, which only exists in Super Netball, governing body World Netball also revised some of its rules on January 1.

The controversial short pass change made in 2020 has been fixed, expanding the space required between teammates for a one-handed pass to now allowing enough space for an opposing player to contest the ball for an interception.

Most have welcomed this adaptation, but Anstiss and Harten were still baffled by the ruling on the matter, which they felt without definitive measurement could vary greatly in their interpretation.

Jo Harten looks down and holds the ball in her left hand as the sun floods half of her face in a dark stadium.

Jo Harten has been at the top for many years and is still unsure about the short pass rule.(AAP: James Gourley)

“It’s interesting, because some of our preseason games it’s been called a little bit differently, so I think it’s going to be a learning curve this year,” Anstiss said.

It’s also a little worrying that Harten believes she’s “never really been sure what constitutes a short pass,” given she’s spent nearly 20 years playing at the highest level in England, New Zealand and Australia. Something to think about for officials.

Other rule revisions you will see during this year’s games include that the player will no longer have to wait for the opponent to return to the court to take a throw-in, goals now count if they have left the shooter’s hand before the the bell rings. and the elimination of warnings.

Referees will now have more license to crack down on “dangerous play” and have been encouraged to give players detailed feedback before moving on to a warning, suspension of play for two minutes and then a sending off for the rest of the match. .

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