Jamaica's Sterling-Humphrey et al on the losing end of two thrilling Suncorp Super Netball encounters

By Sports Desk April 20, 2024
Jamaican Shamera Sterling-Humphrey (GK) defends against Melbourne Vixens. Jamaican Shamera Sterling-Humphrey (GK) defends against Melbourne Vixens. (Photos: Getty Images)

Despite spirited efforts, Jamaica’s players Latanya Wilson, Shamera Sterling-Humphrey, Romelda Aiken-George and Jodi-Ann Ward were on the losing end in second round action of the Suncorp Super Netball League at John Cain Arena, on Saturday.

Aiken-George scored 28 goals from 30 attempts, while Wilson and Sterling-Humphrey were resolute in defence, but it wasn’t enough to stop Adelaide Thunderbirds going down 53-54 to Melbourne Vixens in a nail-biting encounter.

Georgie Horjus, with 16 goals from 17 attempts was the next best scorer for the Thunderbirds, while Keira Austin (31 goals from 33 attempts) and Sophie Garbin (23 goals from 24 attempts) got the job done for the Vixens.

It was an intense battle from the opening whistle, with both teams gunning for their second win of the season. The Adelaide Thunderbirds’ defence caused havoc for the Vixens, as Wilson forced the first turnover of the match with her quick closing speed. Alongside compatriot Sterling-Humphrey, the defensive duo brought immense pressure early into the Vixens’ attacking front. 

However, Austin signalled fearlessness to take aim from anywhere, as she scored two consecutive super shots to put Vixens 14-11 up at the end of the first quarter.

Thunderbirds used the full prowess of their bench in the second quarter, with wing attack Laura Scherian and goal attack Horjus adding impetus to their charge, but the Vixens kept their noses in front at 27-25 at the half-time break. 

Both sides showed more urgency in the third quarter where they matched each other goal-for-goal, before the electrifying Sterling-Humphrey made some crucial interceptions that saw Thunderbirds opening a three-goal lead at 34-34. But a string of super shots off the hot hands of Garbin and Austin, ensured the teams headed into the final quarter locked at 40-40.

From there, the Vixens displayed their clinical experience to not only surge ahead, but also expertly ran down the clock before handing off the ball to Austin who sunk the winning goal in the final seconds of the hard-fought match.

Meanwhile, Ward and her GIANTS team suffered a 62-65 loss to Queensland Firebirds in another thrilling contest at Ken Rosewall Arena.

Donnell Wallam, with 55 goals from 60 attempts, and Tippah Dwan, with 10 goals from 12 attempts, led the way for the Firebirds. GIANTS got their goals from Jo Harten (33 goals from 35 attempts) and Sophie Dwyer (29 goals from 29 attempts).

From the opening whistle, the Firebirds displayed masterful finesse, leaving the GIANTS struggling to keep pace with their savvy and patient play. Firebirds came out firing on all cylinders, as Wallam's prolific scoring spree put them firmly in control 21-11 at the end of the first quarter.

Ward came out worse in a collision with Lara Dunkley, which caused more problems for the GIANTS as they struggled to regain their stride in the match.

Though the GIANTS clawed their way back with the introduction of Sam Winders into the fray, they were still four goals down at 36-32 at half-time.

However, a fired-up GIANTS took the game to the Firebirds, some crucial defensive efforts from Winders and Ward brought the team to life with flashes of brilliance, but consistency eluded them and, as such, Firebirds, ended the third quarter seven points ahead at 51-44.

Despite the GIANTS' resilience and Ward's pivotal turnover and subsequent conversion by Harten, the Firebirds remained composed under pressure and secured their maiden triumph in the 2024 campaign.

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    The Suncorp Super Netball league has no shortage of international superstars, but the clash between the West Coast Fever and Adelaide Thunderbirds well and truly showcased the Jamaican excellence the competition hosts.

    With six Jamaican Sunshine Girls split evenly between the two teams, the battle was fierce and full of flair, as it eventually ended 57-56 in favour of the Fever.

    Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard is no easybeat, and with the likes of Shanice Beckford serving her the ball on a silver platter, the Fever had no issue with scoring.

    However, Shamera Sterling-Humphrey and Latanya Wilson would not let it all go the Fever’s way, picking off deflections left, right and centre.

    At the other end, Romelda Aiken-George and Kadie-Ann Dehaney went head-to-head in another enormous battle, which well and truly highlighted the impressive agility and elevation of the Jamaican superstars.

    All close friends off the court, the six players united after the match for a brilliant Jamaican team moment, sharing a dance for the remaining crowd.

    Shimona Jok (left) was one of many high-performing Jamaicans this week.

    Elsewhere, Jamaican Shimona Jok won the player of the match award for her impressive 50-goal game in the Maverick’s 69-62 win against the Firebirds, while another Jamaican Jodi-Ann Ward worked in overdrive in the Sydney derby. However, her GIANTS team went down 52-76 to New South Wales Swift, led by Trinidad and Tobago’s Samantha Wallace-Joseph.

    After another week of intense battles, it comes as no surprise that Fowler-Nembhard remains atop the Nissan Net Points leaderboard with 690.5 points to her name, with Sterling-Humphrey (539.5 points) fourth on that list.

    With 355 goals to her name from 363 attempts, Fowler-Nembhard has scored over 100 goals more than Donnell Wallam (253 goals from 297 attempts), who sits second on both the goals and attempts leaderboard, while Aiken-George (214 goals from 245 attempts) occupies fourth on the attempts chart and fifth on the goals side.

    Trinidad and Tobago's Samantha Wallace-Joseph (right) did some damage for NSW Swifts.

    On the flip side, Aiken-George (30) leads the offensive rebound stats, with Fowler-Nembhard (16) in fifth. Fever’s Fran Williams (13) head the defensive rebound standing.

    Sterling-Humphrey leads the pack for deflections with 43, while Wilson (32 deflections) is in fourth position, but both Jamaicans are locked on 20 apiece in first and second on the intercept leaderboard.

    Beckford (124) sit fourth for centre pass receives, as Liz Watson (155) heads that chart, along with the goal assists chart where she has 154.

    Meanwhile, Helen Housby continues to reign supreme on the Suncorp Super Shot with 39 to her name for the season from 55 attempts, ahead of Sophie Dwyer (31 from 48).

  • Shamera Sterling-Humphrey honoured with Suncorp Super Netball fan-voted MVP award Shamera Sterling-Humphrey honoured with Suncorp Super Netball fan-voted MVP award

    Shamera Sterling-Humphrey, the formidable goal keeper for the Adelaide Thunderbirds, has been celebrated as the Round 6 fan-voted MVP in the Suncorp Super Netball League. This recognition follows a stellar performance of eight deflections, two interceptions and two gains, in her team's narrow 56-57 loss to the West Coast Fever over the weekend. Sterling-Humphrey showcased her defensive prowess with eight deflections, two intercepts, and two gains in a closely contested match.

    The accolade comes on the heels of a poignant revelation by Sterling-Humphrey about her challenging journey in the Suncorp Super Netball League. In a recent interview with Fox Netball's Off the Court, the 28-year-old Jamaican star disclosed her initial struggles with homesickness upon moving to Australia in 2019.

     "When I just moved here, I struggled a lot. Leaving Jamaica, coming into this environment, the hard training – I wanted to go back home," Sterling-Humphrey candidly shared. "I remember texting my friend back home like 'I can’t do this. This is too hard for me'. I remember crying that I wanted to go home. But I said to myself, this is something I always wanted as a netball player … You just have to embrace it."

     Despite these early challenges, Sterling-Humphrey has emerged as one of the league's standout players, leading the Adelaide Thunderbirds to their inaugural Super Netball crown in 2023 and continuing to excel in subsequent seasons.

     Reflecting on her journey, which began amidst personal hardship in Jamaica, Sterling-Humphrey expressed how netball became her lifeline during difficult times. "Netball was my only escape to make it better for me and my family," she revealed. "It was that or nothing, and you know you’re going to choose that because you want better for your family."

     Her dedication and resilience have not gone unnoticed, with Sterling-Humphrey becoming a role model both on and off the court. As she remains committed to her career, she credits her father, her "biggest fan," for his unwavering support and encouragement throughout her journey.

     

  • Fowler-Nembhard, Dehaney, Beckford outshine compatriots as Fever edges Thunderbirds by one goal Fowler-Nembhard, Dehaney, Beckford outshine compatriots as Fever edges Thunderbirds by one goal

    In a mouthwatering clash where speed, flair, defensive and shooting abilities were put to the test, Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard, Shanice Beckford, and Kadie-Ann Dehaney toppled compatriots Romelda-Aiken-George, Shamera Sterling-Humphrey, and Latanya Wilson as West Coast Fever extended their unbeaten run with an epic 57-56 win over Adelaide Thunderbirds.

    Saturday’s clash at the RAC Arena, was always expected to be a spicy affair, and it didn’t disappoint as the mettle of West Coast Fever was tested against their Adelaide Thunderbirds counterparts, in what was their most formidable challenge this season.

    The Fever overcame a sluggish start, as their tenacious defensive pressure and remarkable athleticism ensured they stayed in the game, and they maintained composure when it mattered most to make it six from six at the top of the table.

    Dehaney delivered a standout performance for the Fever, as she amassed an impressive total of 68.5 Nissan Net Points. Her dominance was particularly evident in the first and third quarters, where she showcased exceptional skill and contributed significantly with 10 deflections and two crucial intercepts.

    “We were below standard, especially at the start with our work-rate. We decided at half time that this is the line; when we get back out there, we need to apply the pressure and lift the standard of work-rate,” Dehaney said in a post-match interview, after she shared a dance with her compatriots.

    At the other end of the court, Fever’s ace shooter Fowler-Nembhard stood tall with 51 goals from 51 attempts, including an uncharacteristic two-point Super Shot effort. Beckford got the other six goals from 10 attempts, as she was charged with tackling the Super Shot line, but never really found rhythm