The Adelaide Thunderbirds proudly announce the acquisition of Jamaican netball sensation Romelda Aiken-George for the upcoming 2024 Suncorp Super Netball League season. The seasoned shooter, who recently concluded a season with the New South Wales Swifts, where she was temporary replacement for the injured Samantha Wallace.

Aiken-George, a stalwart in the netball arena, brings an impressive track record, having participated in 214 national league games and contributing significantly to Jamaica's national team for over a decade.

Her illustrious career commenced in 2008 with the Queensland Firebirds, where she played a pivotal role in securing three premierships and clinching consecutive MVP trophies. Aiken-George, known for her dominance on the court, joined the New South Wales Swifts in 2023, filling in for the injured Samantha Wallace and showcasing her prowess with a notable 847.5 Nissan Net Points.

The prolific goal shooter boasts an array of accomplishments, including holding the record for the highest number of goals in a grand final with an impressive tally of 63. Additionally, she etched her name in Suncorp Super Netball history by becoming the first player to score 3500 goals.

Joining Jamaican teammates Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson on the Thunderbirds roster, Aiken-George's arrival is anticipated to fortify the team's attacking prowess for the upcoming season. Thunderbirds High Performance Manager Pitre Bourdon expressed enthusiasm about the newest addition, highlighting Aiken-George's experience and scoring consistency.

"Romelda has been a shooting force in the game for over a decade, as evidenced by her stellar performance in the 2023 season," Bourdon commented. "Her wealth of experience will be invaluable to our relatively young attack end, and we eagerly look forward to welcoming Romelda into the Thunderbirds family for the 2024 season."

The Adelaide Thunderbirds have locked in Jamaican star defender Latanya Wilson on a three-year deal that will secure her at the Suncorp Super Netball League club until the end of 2026.

Wilson, who has been with the Thunderbirds since 2021, found her place among the best defenders in the league in 2023, starring across all three defensive positions.

Playing across wing defence, goal defence and occasionally goal keeper, she finished the season in fourth across the league for intercepts with 30 and fourth for deflections with 70.

She was named in the Suncorp Super Netball Team of the Round on four occasions in both wing defence and goal defence, and was named as the wing defence in the 2023 Suncorp Super Netball Team of the Year.

She was also voted by her peers as the 2023 Players’ Player for the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Thunderbirds High Performance Manager Pitre Bourdon said Wilson would play a key role in the club’s future success.

“Latanya made significant progress in her development in her first two seasons with us in 2021 and 22, and she found a new gear in 2023,” Bourdon said.

“Her combination of talent and commitment has seen her flourish into the versatile and relentless defender she is today.

“We look forward to working with her over the next three seasons.”

 

Sunshine Girls defender Shamera Sterling continued the legacy of Jamaicans being named Suncorp Super Netball Player of the year, as she copped this year’s top honours and again etched her name in the annals of the sport’s history.

After winning a maiden title with the Adelaide Thunderbirds and taking the club’s champion award, Sterling became just the second Jamaican player in the tournament’s history to win the coveted Player of the Year accolade, at Netball Australia’s Award ceremony on Saturday.

The ever-impressive goalkeeper joined ace shooter Jhaniele Fowler, who won the award for the last five years consecutively from 2018 to 2022, and in the process, ensured that it became six on the trot for Jamaican players.

Sterling, 27, has been pivotal to the Thunderbirds’ defensive end ever since she burst onto the scene in 2019, becoming an instant fan favorite.

In her fifth season in the league, the Sunshine Girl standout assisted the Thunderbirds to the club’s first premiership in a decade, when they defeated the NSW Swifts in an epic grand final where she recorded seven crucial gains, three intercepts and three rebounds.

For this year, sterling led the league with 118 deflections, a substantial 15 more than the second-highest ranked player, and she also topped the league with 46 interceptions, to underline her credentials as one of, if not, the world’s best.

Sterling was also named in the team of the year at goalkeeper, alongside compatriots Latanya Wilson, who parades her skills at wing-defence, as the two form a dynamic duo in the Adelaide Thunderbirds defence, while Jodi-Ann Ward, another defender, stood out for the Collingwood Magpies.

Netballers from the Caribbean continue to face uncertainty over their immediate future, as the pay dispute in the Super Netball League shows no signs of a quick resolution.

Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler and Romelda Aiken-George, as well as Samantha Wallace of the Trinidad and Tobago, are among players in the League who have not been paid since their current collective bargaining agreement between Netball Australia and the Australian Netball Players' Association (ANPA) ran out on September 30. To make matters worse, they cannot be paid until a new deal is put in place.

According to reports, the dispute is headed to mediation with Netball Australia and ANPA unable to arrive at an amicable settlement over a revenue share model, and several players have had to turn to family and friends for financial support.

"I've heard of players who've had to move home because they can't sign rental agreements or are struggling to pay their mortgages because there is a big stand-off between what Netball Australia want to put forward and what the players and players' association want," former Australia netballer Bianca Chatfield said in a TV interview.

The feud erupted after the ANPA rejected the latest offer from Netball Australia and the eight SNL clubs, which put forward a "profit share partnership", while the players are demanding a "revenue share partnership model".

Netball Australia said it offered a base wage increase of nine per cent over three years and a maximum salary cap increase of three per cent over the same term, as well as a share in the profits generated by the League for the first time.

Officials from Netball Australia and the clubs expressed disappointment at the rejection of the offer, which they have described as "a ground-breaking collective player agreement".

Netball Australia said any further increases to player wages beyond the current offer would be irresponsible because they would negatively impact funding for community and grass roots netball.

ANPA said the players believe they have bent over backwards in a bid to reach an agreement, and they are now appealing for mediation to achieve "meaningful and fair progress".

Australia international defender Maddy Turner said it was a "super stressful" time for all players left in limbo ahead of next season, and she also showed some compassion for non-Australian players.

"When you are relying on that money to pay for rent, groceries, everything… imagine your next pay cheque doesn't come in. You're looking for other ways to earn money. I think it's really disappointing. There's no pay coming in," she said in a TV interview.

Turner said she had turned to the "bank of Mum and Dad" to pay her mortgage, while picking up extra work where she can — but not every player was that fortunate.

"There are a lot of internationals in our league and without that money coming in, it's hard for them to come over here where they can't work a second job," she said. "I think it's probably the most frustrating for them."

ANPA Chief Executive Officer Kathryn Harby-Williams argued the players were not making extraordinary demands.

"Players will never take what the game can't afford," she said in a radio interview. "It's new money we are asking for and simply 20 per cent of sponsorship, and that is all. It ensures players receive a fair share of sponsorship revenue — it's a real partnership model."

The netballers have found support from the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) after their recent fight with Cricket Australia — with the organisation creating a "fighting fund for netballers to draw on during their period of unemployment".

ACA Chief Executive Officer Todd Greenberg said the netballers' requests were "modest and affordable for the sport", and the players must be given the same partnership opportunities that has seen women's cricket in Australia thrive.

"The ACA stands with the netballers and will do so until this campaign is successful," he said.

Shamera Sterling, Latanya Wilson, Jodi-Ann Ward, Shimona Nelson, and Kadian Dehaney are the other Caribbean players that played in the SNL last season.

 

A number of Caribbean players are now left in wait-and-see mode, as they could be affected by an ongoing pay dispute in the Australian Super Netball League.

Players such as Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler, Romelda Aiken-George, Shamera Sterling, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Samantha Wallace, are among those who will be watching with bated breaths, after Australia Netball Players’ Association rejected the latest offer from Netball Australia and the eight Super Netball League clubs.

Officials from Netball Australia and the clubs expressed disappointment at the ANPA’s dismissal of the offer that they described as a “ground-breaking” collective player agreement.

However, the ANPA in its response said, “the players believe they’ve bent over backwards” in a bid to reach an agreement, and they are now appealing for mediation “to achieve meaningful and fair progress.”

Netball Australia on Monday stated that an offer was made to improve its investment by AUS $1.275 million – a 20 per cent increase across a three-year deal.

Netball Australia explained that offer was on top of “the earning potential of a profit-share partnership model”, and this was without any forecast material increase in the sport’s revenue in the short term, given the current broadcast deal runs until 2026.

Netball Australia added that it offered a base wage increase of nine per cent over three years and a maximum salary cap increase of three per cent over the same term, in addition to increased potential commercial earnings, extra playing and earning opportunities with the introduction of rookies, and a share in the profits generated by the Super Netball League for the first time.

“Throughout negotiations, Netball Australia and the clubs have made significant concessions in good faith to finalise the deal and build a strong partnership model with the ANPA and Super Netball players. Netball Australia and the ANPA met again [this past] Saturday, and we continue to offer to meet to finalise a deal,” a statement from Netball Australia said.

“Netball Australia and the clubs are not opposed to mediation, but we are concerned beginning the process at this late stage would extend this already lengthy process and continue to delay the stability and certainty all parties seek.

“Netball Australia and the eight clubs have simply reached their capacity to make further concessions to the ANPA and players without jeopardising the health of the league and its teams, their respective stakeholders, and the entire netball eco-system in Australia,” the statement continued.

Netball Australia pointed out that any further increase to player wages beyond the current offer would be irresponsible, because they would negatively impact funding for community and grassroots netball.

It reiterated that the three-year deal would provide much-needed stability for the players, clubs and the league and would ensure all parties could focus on working together collectively to grow the sport.

“We appeal to the ANPA to re-consider our revised three-year offer and present it to all Super Netball players, so they can have their say,” the statement ended.

But the players’ association argued that Netball Australia had rejected a real partnership with the players.

“We cannot in good conscience lock players into an unfair three-year deal, which does not reflect their value and contribution,” the players’ association statement asserted.

“Adding to the players’ concern is a lack of clarity around the finances underpinning the game, and uncertainty around the strategic direction for netball.”

The schedule for the 2024 Super Netball League season is yet to be released because of the collective player agreement dispute.

Sterling and compatriot Latanya Wilson are members of The Adelaide Thunderbirds, while Wallace and Aiken-George represents New South Wales Swifts. Fowler is a member of West Coast Fever.

 

In times of adversity, true friendship shines brightest, and the bond between Jamaican netball player Adean Thomas and her teammate Latanya Wilson is a testament to the strength of their friendship. Adean Thomas, who plays center for Jamaica's Sunshine Girls, has been a pillar of support for Latanya Wilson in the aftermath of the devastating fire that consumed her home on Rum Lane in Kingston on August 17.

Adean and Latanya, who plays for Adelaide Thunderbirds, Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball League champions, became friends and teammates in 2019 when they joined forces on the netball court. While they were familiar with each other before, their friendship truly blossomed when they shared the same netball journey. Adean shares, "Since 2019, Latanya and I have been teammates. We kept in touch while she was in Australia, and our friendship grew stronger. We made the team for the Commonwealth Games, Taini Jamison, and World Cup, and ever since, our friendship has been even closer."

When tragedy struck on the night of August 17, Thomas, who had recently suffered the loss of her grandmother, knew she had to be there for her dear friend, Latanya. Adean reflected on that fateful day, saying, "When I heard the news, I was utterly devastated. Gezelle (Allison) and I immediately went to see her. I just bounced out of bed, cleaned my teeth, and headed right to Rum Lane without even taking a shower. Even in my pajamas, I conducted an interview to seek help for her. It didn't matter to me because she needed the support, and Jamaica needed to hear and see that."

Their initial conversations were not centered on the fire but rather on comforting each other through laughter, tears, and shared memories. Adean remembers those moments fondly, "The majority of our chats were unrelated to the fire and instead focused on topics like netball and school. We comforted each other, laughing, crying, and hugging each other."

The tragic circumstances of losing their homes and loved ones have indeed drawn Adean and Latanya closer together. Adean acknowledged that when he grandmother passed away, Wilson played a crucial role in supporting her during the Netball World Cup.

She adds, "We were closer even before the death of my nana. She gave me the support I needed during the World Cup. She never stopped being encouraging and motivating to me. She helped me stay upbeat and concentrated on the job at hand."

As Wilson received a new home on a lease-to-buy basis from the Jamaican government and generous support from entities like the Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation, Thomas, who was present once again in support, expressed her happiness and gratitude, saying, "I mean it's something good, you know, I mean with what she's been through and for the other persons that were involved in the fire, just for persons to come on board; it means so much to her and the team, and I'm just happy for her."

Latanya Wilson, the Jamaican netball star who recently received a new home from the Government of Jamaica following the tragic loss of her family's home to arsonists on August 17, has expressed her heartfelt gratitude for the steadfast support she has received from the Grace and Staff Community Foundation.

On Wednesday, September 6, the Government of Jamaica, in partnership with the National Housing Trust, provided Wilson with a new house in St Catherine on a lease-to-buy basis. This generous gesture came as a glimmer of hope for Wilson, who plays for the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super Netball League, where the Thunderbirds were crowned the 2023 Super League champions.

In addition to the housing assistance, the GraceKennedy Foundation extended their support by contributing bags of essential food items and a cheque for J$250,000 to assist Latanya and her family during this challenging time.

The Grace and Staff Community Foundation has been a pillar of support in Latanya Wilson's life, dating back to her high school years when they assisted with tuition expenses. Sandrina Davis, the CEO of the Grace and Staff Community Foundation, spoke about their ongoing involvement with Latanya and the decision to help her during her time of need.

Davis shared the foundation's commitment to downtown Kingston, saying, "Our Grace and Staff Foundation works with a lot of our students from the downtown area. In our 44th year, we've seen a lot of our young people grow up just like Latanya. Latanya through high school was on our tuition assistance program, studied in our homework centre, interacted with our social workers and our counsellor, and then she became an adult. We've been watching from the sidelines and cheering her on."

She continued, "And even as something unfortunate happened, it was our joy to be able to still come on board and, as I call it, continue to support her just as we have been in years before. So today (Wednesday) we wanted her to have all the good things to eat in that new space through the donation of some Grace products. And our group CEO, Mr. Don Wehby wanted to make sure that there was something else tangible. And so there's a cash donation to Latanya and her family today as well." 

Davis emphasized that the foundation's support extended beyond material assistance, stating, "I don't know how many people know about the foundation providing psychosocial support, so our beneficiaries, a lot of the children who have been impacted, have been coming into our office and having their own consultations in that way so that they can deal with the trauma."

In response to the generous contributions, Wilson expressed her deep gratitude, saying, "Yes, we definitely have a family with GraceKennedy in the sense that I used to go to their youth development program back when I was in high school, and to see, you know, still keep the connection even while I'm still attending MICO University and to see the unfortunate situation present and they're coming on board to actually assist is heartwarming."

Wilson continued, "There are not enough words that I can really express how grateful I am to them because they have already given me goodies already, and for them to come back again and give me more goodies and cash, it's amazing, and it's only one step closer to getting this nightmare over."

The support and love from the Grace and Staff Community Foundation and the larger community have been a source of strength for Wilson and her family during this challenging period. Their unrelenting commitment to her well-being is a testament to the power of community and the spirit of unity in Jamaica.

 

 

 

 

Jamaican netball sensation Latanya Wilson, who represents her nation on the international stage and plays for the 2023 Suncorp Super Netball League champions, the Adelaide Thunderbirds, has been given a fresh start after a devastating fire destroyed her family's home on Rum Lane in Kingston.

On August 17, tragedy struck as Wilson's home fell victim to arson in the heart of downtown Kingston. The family home, shared with her mother and sisters, was firebombed by thugs in the Central Kingston community. Since then, an overwhelming wave of support and solidarity has poured in for the 22-year-old athlete.

In a heartwarming gesture, the Jamaican government, in collaboration with the National Housing Trust and West Indies Home Contractors (WIHCON), has provided Wilson and her family with a new home located in St Catherine. The house, offered under a special lease-to-buy agreement, was formally presented to Wilson at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Sports, and Entertainment on Trafalgar Road in Kingston.

Corporate giant GraceKennedy Ltd also stepped up, donating essential food items and J$250,000 in cash to assist the Wilson family during these challenging times.

Minister Olivia Grange, who represents the government and was overseas at the World Championships in Budapest when she learned of the tragedy, spoke emotionally about the support Wilson received. She shared, "It was like 3 or 4 in the morning in Budapest when I got the message, and I called and when I spoke to Latanya and asked where she was, she said she was sitting in Pastor Brown’s car, and I was really touched by that because in a moment like that, you need somebody there to make you feel like you are being taken care of."

Minister Grange emphasized the government's commitment to support not only Wilson but also other affected families by the attack the razed the dwelling. She stated, "Because Latanya is one of our star players and there is some urgency to having her settled because she is going off to greater heights very soon, we are doing this exercise this morning."

Janet Hartley-Millwood, Branch Manager of the NHT St Catherine office, expressed her delight in welcoming Latanya into the NHT family, saying, "We just want to welcome you to the NHT family and into home ownership at the National Housing Trust. We can assure you that we will guide you. We will do what we can to help you through this period of transition."

In response to the overwhelming support, Latanya Wilson shared her gratitude, telling Sportsmax.TV, "No, I didn’t expect this. Everything has come as a surprise. It’s a lot to process but it's very good that everybody is coming on board and supporting wherever they can."

Regarding the opportunity to own a home at her age, she added, "At my age of 22, it is quite an exciting journey for me to turn (the lease) over into a mortgage so I am grateful and happy at this moment."

When asked if this new home gives her peace of mind as she prepares to return to Australia to play in the Suncorp Super Netball League, Wilson replied, "To some extent, it does. It will definitely put my mind at ease in some ways given the fact that your family is somewhere safe."

 

Minister of sports Olivia Grange and Netball Jamaica are leading the charge to assist Sunshine Girls defender Latanya Wilson and her family to get back on their feet, following the loss of their home in an early morning fire at Rum Lane in Downtown Kingston on Thursday.

Details surrounding the incident is unclear, but it is understood that Wilson’s house was one of three that went up in the blaze.

Wilson, an exciting player with a wealth of potential, was among the Sunshine Girls team that secured bronze at the Vitality Netball World Cup in South Africa, recently.

Grange, who is currently at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, revealed that she has already made contacts to secure help for Wilson and family.

“It is particularly painful that Latanya, who was a member of the bronze medal Jamaica team at the recent Netball World Cup in South Africa should suffer this devastating loss,” Grange said in post on social media site X, formerly Twitter.

“From Budapest where I am right now, I am making contacts to get immediate assistance for Latanya and her family,” the post added.

The 22-year-old Wilson, who plies her trade in the Suncorp Netball League in Australia, is currently in the island on break.

Leonie Phinn, a member of Netball Jamaica’s board, expressed the effects of the situation on Wilson and her wider netball family.

“They lost everything and so it is devastating to the entire NJ family. As you know our girls are closely knit, so we are all grieving with Latanya and everyone has reached out and offer their love,” Phinn told Sportsmax.tv.

“We have reached out to her and are rallying support through some channels we have, in addition to working with the minister, whom we are in dialogue with. So, we are doing everything possible to get Latanya the support needed,” she noted.

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls expectedly opened their Vitality Netball World Cup campaign with a bang, as they hammered Sri Lanka 105-25 in Cape Town, South Africa on Friday.

The number four-ranked Jamaicans were dominant from the start and didn’t relent against their number 15-ranked opponents for a minute with the towering combination of Romelda Aiken-George and captain Jhaniele Fowler sharing goal shooting duties across two quarters apiece.

Though the Sunshine Girls usual bad habit of making unforced errors kicked in at one point, Aiken-George with 33 goals from 34 attempts and Fowler with 42 goals from 43 attempts, spared their blushes, as goal attacks Rebekah Robinson and Shanice Beckford, contributed 17 and 13 goals respectively.

With the win, the Jamaicans assume pole position in Pool C, ahead of host South Africa, who were 61-50 winners over Wales.

Jamaica’s Head coach Connie Francis started with two debutants in Latanya Wilson at goal defence and wing defence Crystal Plummer, as Robinson and Aiken-George got the starting goal attack and shooter roles ahead of Beckford and Fowler.

The potent attack of the Sunshine Girls saw them open a brisk five-goal lead inside the first 30 seconds, as they displayed their usual speed and flair that delighted crowd, especially when Aiken-George scored a lay-up shot.

In fact, the Jamaicans were so dominant that Sri Lanka’s first goal came almost seven minutes into the opening quarter, which eventually ended 26-5.

Jodi-Ann Ward joined Kadie-Ann Dehaney and the dynamic Plummer in defence for the second quarter and the trio proved too formidable for Sri Lanka’s attackers, as their consistent deflections resulted in the Jamaicans firing in 14 unanswered goals, before the opponents belated got their first almost nine minutes in.

From there, they went on to register a 52-11 half time lead, which all but signalled the writing on the wall for Sri Lanka.

The Jamaicans signalled their intent to hit the century mark with the introduction of Fowler at the start of the third quarter and she flawlessly scored her first 14 attempts, with Beckford providing the necessary support to again outscore Sri Lanka 23-7 for a 75-18 lead heading into the final quarter.

That final quarter represented the best display from Sri Lanka in the shooting circle as the matched the Jamaicans goal for goal in the early exchanges.

However, once the defence lead by Shamera Sterling and player of the game Wilson, found back their rhythm, they forced a number of turnovers and orchestrated some quick transitions for Fowler and Robinson to finish off and propel Jamaica to the 14th 100-plus goal scoreline in the tournament's history.

It was also the first 100-plus score by a team at the World Cup since 2015, when Malawi achieved the feat ironically, also against Sri Lanka.

While the Sunshine Girls scored at 89 percent, they also had 17 turnovers, an issue that Francis is hoping to correct going forward.

“From the first day when we assembled here, I saw the hunger and the will to execute well, and I am very impressed with my team. We made a number of changes just to work on combinations and also to manage the workload because the thing that we are trying to work on mostly is our turnovers.

“We know we have players that can hunt and win balls which makes them dangerous, so it is just to minimize the turnovers some more and we will be good,” Francis said.

For Fowler, the execution was on par for the most parts.

“We wanted to come out and practice some of our strategies and make sure we are cementing some of our plays. Romelda and I are both amazing shooters so either one starting a game is fine, we are just more focused on gelling as best as we can and just going one game at a time,” the captain shared.

The Sunshine Girls will next face Wales on Saturday at 4:00 am Jamaica time.

Either way, a Jamaican player would have become 2023 Suncorp Super Netball League champion but at the end of an intensely grand-final at the John Cain Arena on Saturday, it was the Jamaican defensive pair of Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson that sealed the deal as Adelaide Thunderbirds defeated New South Wales Swifts 60-59 in overtime.

Three-time champion Romelda Aiken-George who led the Swifts’ scoring with 27 goals had to settle for the position of runner-up in a match-up that will be remembered for ages.

Sterling was the first to make her mark on the match battling Aiken-George for the ball and drawing the offensive contact to put the Thunderbirds ahead.

Following suite, her teammate Wilson controlled the ball for another gain and the Thunderbirds then blitzed out to a five-goal lead.

Swift Helen Housby had her eyes firmly locked on the goal when she entered the Suncorp Super Shot zone during the Power Five to confidently narrow the Thunderbirds’ lead.

However, Sterling prevented the Swifts from getting too close with an intercept before the end of the quarter allowing the Thunderbirds to head into the break in front 16-12.

Eleanor Cardwell led the scoring for Adelaide with 31 goals and Lucy Austin had nine goals as Adelaide extended their advantage to eight points at half time after outscoring their opponents 19-15 in the second stanza to take a 35-27 led into the break.

The break proved to be a welcome one for New South Wales, who had eliminated last year’s champions West Coast Fever in last week’s preliminary final.

They emerged from the break with renewed focus and cut decisively into Adelaide’s lead after outscoring them 13-8 in the third quarter and was only down by three heading into the final stanza.

They used that momentum to outscore Adelaide 14-11 in the final quarter as the final whistle sounded with the scores locked at 54-54.

Overtime proved just as intense both Helen Housby and Cardwell stepping up to the challenge early slotting Super Shots for their respective teams.

However, the Thunderbirds’ defensive pressure forced the Swifts into a held ball and Cardwell capitalized again but then an offensive contact had the Swifts charging.

Fawns levelled the scores for the Swifts but Sterling showed why she’s the best interceptor in the league burying the Swifts dreams as her teammates made the intercept count.

The Swifts tried their hardest, however, were unable to halt the pink tide with the Thunderbirds winning by one goal.

 

 

Adelaide Thunderbirds suffered their third loss of the season and have fallen to second place when they went down 53-50 to bottom-placed Collingwood Magpies on Saturday.

Shimona Nelson scored 44 goals and Sophie Garbin nine, in a 100 per cent shooting effort as the Magpies in their final season in the Suncorp Super Netball league overcame the defensive efforts of Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson.

Collingwood led 16-12 after the first quarter and held a 27-23 lead at half time.

Collingwood widened their lead with another 16-12 effort in the third quarter and held on for the win despite a fourth-quarter rally from Thunderbirds who outscored Collinwood 15-10.

Eleanor Cardwell scored 27 goals from 29 attempts in the loss that saw Thunderbirds’ record fall to second place in the league table with eight wins, one draw and three losses this season.

The new league leaders are the New South Wales Swifts who defeated GIANTS 68-63 thanks in part to Romelda Aikens-George’s 32 goals from 39 attempts and Helen Housby’s 100 percent shooting for 18 goals.

Matisse Leatherbarrow and Jo Harten each scored 13 goals while Sophie Dwyer had 11 from 13 in the losing cause.

The Swifts now boast a record of nine wins, one draw and two losses after 12 rounds.

In the other game on Saturday, Queensland Firebirds defeated Melboune Vixens 76-71.

Key defensive plays from Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson overcame another high-percentage shooting performance from Jhaniele Fowler as the Adelaide Thunderbirds pulled off another thrilling one-goal win 54-53 over the West Coast Fever at the Netball SA Stadium on Saturday.

Fowler, the Suncorp Super Netball League’s leading scorer, converted 42 of 43 attempts but it was not enough to prevent the reigning champions from falling to their fourth defeat of the season.

Wilson earned 74.5 Nissan Net Points and Sterling 63 for defensive play that held off the defending champions who led 20-12 after the first quarter. However, the league leaders managed to close the gap by the half-time interval after outscoring Fever 14-11 in the second.

The low-scoring encounter saw the Thunderbirds win the third and fourth quarters, 13-10 and 15-12, respectively to snatch another close win. Eleanor Cardwell converted 26 of her 30 shots and Lucy Austin scored six from six in the hard-fought victory.

Adelaide Thunderbirds now have eight wins and just two losses from their 11 games this season while Fever dropped to seven wins and four losses and are only third on goal difference over Melbourne Vixens who also have a record of seven wins and four losses.

The Vixens suffered their fourth loss of the season going down 70-62 to New South Wales Swifts, who got 29 goals from Romelda Aiken-George from 34 attempts and a perfect 16 from 16 from Helen Housby.

Mwai Kumwenda scored 33 of her 35 attempts for the Vixens.

Meanwhile, Shimona Nelson scored 53 goals from 56 attempts for the Collingwood Magpies, whose miserable season will be their last in the Suncorp Super Netball League, as they suffered yet another defeat.

The Magpies were outscored 66-62 by the Sunshine Coast Lightning in what was their ninth loss of the season.

Cara Koenen scored 34 from 35 and Steph Wood 20/24 for the Lightning who were picking up their fourth win of the season and are current fifth in the league standings.

Defending Suncorp Super League champions West Coast Fever suffered their first loss of the season, going down 64-63 to the Adelaide Thunderbirds at the RAC Arena on Saturday.

Led by the league’s leading scorer Jhaniele Fowler, who scored 51 goals from 53 attempts, the Fever outscored the Thunderbirds 20-17 and 15-14 over the first two quarters, respectively, to take a 35-31 lead into the half-time break.

Fowler has now scored 331 goals this season.

However, despite winning the third quarter 15-14, the Fever were unable to hold off the Thunderbirds, who stormed back to outscore the champions 19-13 in the final stanza to snatch victory. Eleanor Cardwell led the Thunderbirds scoring with 33 goals from 34 attempts but key to their victory was that she hit eight of her 14 super shots.

Wing Defence Latanya Wilson and Goal Keeper Shamera Sterling played key roles on the defensive side with nine intercepts between them. The much-anticipated battle between Jamaican teammates Fowler and Shamera Sterling proved decisive as the Goal Keeper, who had six deflections, made it difficult for Fever to connect into the circle and suffered their first loss of the season on home court.

Sunshine Girls Captain Jhaniele Fowler was named the Suncorp Super Netball Player of the Year for the fifth year in a row at the Australian Netball Awards Ceremony on Thursday.

The 33-year-old goal shooter led all players 1668.5 total points, 929 goals and 55 offensive rebounds on her way to helping the West Coast Fever to second place in the league table with 32 points from their twelve games, eight behind champions the Melbourne Vixens.

Fowler was also named to the Suncorp Super Netball Team of the Year. The team also included Fowler's Sunshine Girls teammates Shamera Sterling at Goal Keeper and Latanya Wilson at Goal Defence. Sterling and Wilson, both members of the Adelaide Thunderbirds, finished first and third in interceptions with 52 and 31, respectively. Sterling was also fourth in total points with 1177.5.

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