Second versus third with the winner making history by being the first ever Suncorp Super Netball Champions.
It only seems like yesterday we were preparing ourselves for Round 1. Now 17 weeks later, the season has flown by with two of the new franchises playing in the decider.
The organisations may be new, but the experience of the players and coaches are far from it. Both teams boast players and coaching staff that are the very best at what they do and have been for many years.
Round 4 on the Sunshine Coast – Giants won by one (55-54)
Round 14 in Sydney – Lightning won by one (56-55)
- Average age is 28 years and 7 months (starting seven)
- 611 National League games (starting seven)
- Five players are Internationals (381 caps) – Bassett (Australia – 66 caps), Langman (New Zealand – 141 caps), Mentor (England – 119 caps), Mostert (South Africa – 53 caps), Wood (Australia – 2 caps)
- Four players have played in all 15 games (Bassett, Scherian, Mostert, Mentor)
- Have used ten players across the season
- 37 on-court positional changes this season (2.5 per game)
- The Lighting have a goal differential of +83 for the season (12 wins, 1 draw, 2 loses)
- Q1 +18 (8 wins, 2 draws, 5 loses) – Win 53%
- Q2 +47 (11 wins, 2 draws, 2 loses) – Win 73%
- Q3 -15 (5 wins, 1 draw, 9 loses) – Win 33%
- Q4 +33 (10 wins, 2 draws, 3 loses) – Win 67%
- Have scored 864 goals from 969 attempts (89.2%)
- 57.6 / 64.6 (Average goals and attempts)
- Goal Source
- 587 from Centre Passes (3rd)
- 145 from Gains (1st)
- 132 from Opposition Turnovers (5th)
- Intercepts – 118 (2nd)
- Deflections – 238 (2nd)
- Offensive Rebounds – 44 (eq 3rd)
- Defensive Rebounds – 53 (1st)
- Penalties – 997 (2nd most)
- Turnovers – 389 (2nd best)
- Average age is 27 years and 9 months (starting seven)
- 681 National League games (starting seven)
- Four players are Internationals (239 caps) – Bulley (Australia – 42 caps), Guthrie (England – 62 caps), Harten (England – 81 caps), Pettitt (Australia – 54 games). Their injured captain Kimberlee Green has 74 Australian caps.
- Six players have played in all 16 games (Harten, Pettitt, Guthrie, Price, Bulley, Poolman)
- Have used 11 players across the season
- 42 on-court positional changes this season (2.6 per game)
- The Giants have a goal differential of +54 for the season (12 wins, 0 draws, 4 loses)
- Q1 +11 (9 wins, 0 draws, 7 loses) – Win 56%
- Q2 +9 (8 wins, 3 draws, 5 loses) – Win 50%
- Q3 +20 (9 wins, 2 draws, 5 loses) – Win 56%
- Q4 +14 (8 wins, 2 draws, 6 loses) – Win 50%
- Have scored 890 goals from 1027 attempts – 86.6%
- 55.6 / 64.2 (Average goals and attempts)
- Goals Source
- 612 from Centre Passes (2nd)
- 129 from Gains (4th)
- 149 from Opposition Turnovers (2nd)
- Intercepts – 109 (5th)
- Deflections – 265 (1st)
- Offensive Rebounds – 44 (eq 3rd)
- Defensive Rebounds – 52 (2nd)
- Penalties – 902 (3rd best)
- Turnovers – 389 (4th most)
Both playing captains are English Internationals (Lightning – Geva Mentor, Giants – Jo Harten).
Stats of Note
- The Lightning’s second quarter are far superior to the Giants, but their third quarter is very worrying. They have a win percentage of only 33% and have a goal differential of minus 15. The Giants on the other hand are fairly consistent across all quarters but their third quarter is the best with 56% winning percentage with a goal difference of +20.
- Lightning are the best at converting their own gains (intercepts, defensive rebounds, deflection followed by pickups) but Giants are experts at converting opposition turnovers.
- Both are extremely strong at pulling down a defensive rebound so if a goaler misses a goal there will be four opposition hands ready to pounce.
- The Lightning will need to be mindful of giving away too many penalties. Whilst it can be a good sign of aggressive defending, it can also give their opposition free passage down the court.
THE PLAYERS (PREDICTED STARTING SEVEN)
SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING
GS – Caitlin Bassett – Could attempt her 700th goal for the season, as she currently has 673 attempts for 633 goals. Is averaging 42.2 goals from 44.9 per game for a shooting percentage of 94.1% (highest in league).
GA – Stephanie Wood – Needs three goals to score 200 goals for season. Needs four feeds to have 250 for the season. Needs to receive the centre pass four times for 200 for the season.
WA – Kelsey Browne – Shortest player in Suncorp Super Netball at 164cm. Browne has received the centre pass 255 times and fed (passed the ball) inside the shooting circle 404 times. But she has only thrown 10 bad passes.
C – Laura Scherian – Will play her 16th game of Suncorp Super Netball which will only be one short of her combined National League career games before this season (3 in CBT & 14 in ANZC). In Round 14 against the Giants, Scherian feed the shooters 33 times which is her season’s best.
WD – Laura Langman – Will play her 194th National League game (in New Zealand and Australia) and she has 141 Silver Ferns caps (consecutive). So Saturday’s Grand Final will be Langman’s 334th senior game.
GD – Karla Mostert – Only one of two South Africans playing in Suncorp Super Netball. Going into the Grand Final Mostert has 81 centre pass receives, 34 intercepts and 49 deflections.
GK – Geva Mentor – Only 5 deflections away from 100 for the season. She will be the only player to achieve that if she gets four. Mentor averages 6.3 deflections per game. Is second for defensive rebounds with 39.
GS – Kristina Brice – Giants have won 57-49 against the Lightning when Brice has been on court. Scored 42 from 44 last week against the Vixens. Her highest total for the season.
GA – Jo Harten – Attempted her 500th goal for the season last game. She currently is shooting at 87.1% (437 from 502). Has 80 goal assists, 143 feeds and 23 offensive rebounds.
WA – Susan Pettitt – Will finish the season with 216 National League career games (the most by any player). Is averaging 32 feeds in the last three games at Wing Attack.
C – Serena Guthrie – Currently has 190 goal assists and 470 feeds. She averages 11.9 goal assists and 29.4 feeds per game so anything above her average will see her crack 200 feeds and 500 feeds for the season.
WD – Jamie-Lee Price – Has played all but three minutes this season (was subbed off way back in Round Five at the 12th minute mark in the fourth quarter). Deflected the ball five times in the Preliminary Final which was her second highest game tally for the season.
GD – Bec Bulley – Only Giants player to have played every minute of every game. What makes this more impressive is she is the oldest player in the league. She debut at National Level in 2000 and turns 35 in August.
GK – Sam Poolman – Has taken an Intercept in all but two games this season. Took four against the Lightning in Round Four. Has taken 40 Defensive Rebounds which is the league’s best.
Players of influence
For the Lightning I have gone for two superstars of not only the Suncorp Super Netball but world netball. If Caitlin Bassett and Laura Langman find their groove, stopping them will be near impossible. Experience is often difficult to measure but it counts for so much in big games. These two have played in many big games over their careers but are both gunning for their first Australian National League title. I think it is very simple – if Bassett and Langman fire – Lightning win.
For the Giants their English captain and defensive rock are the keys. If Jo Harten can control the Giants attacking third and assist their young shooter, the Giants will gain strength across the court. Harten has 81 Test caps to her name so is no stranger to the big stage. Then at the other end of the court if Sam Poolman can at the very least restrict the juggernaut that is Bassett, her team will take enormous strength from that. I think it is very simple – if Harten and Poolman fire – Giants win.
Big games bring out the best in big game players so with both teams littered with superstars, this game is too close to call. The Lightning have had a very measured and controlled path to the Grand Final whereas the Giants have been forced to play finals netball the last four weeks in a row. No matter what happens we are in for an absolute cracker in front of a full Queensland pro crowd.
So strap yourselves in folks and enjoy the Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final.
Sunshine Coast Lightning will host GIANTS Netball on Saturday June 17 at 7.00pm AEST. Get your tickets, or if you can’t make it to the game, tune in live on Channel 9 (9Gem in WA, NT and SA) or the Netball Live mobile app.
By Christian Eshman, Sports Manager Champion Data
All stats provided by Champion Data
(Official Data Provider to Netball Australia and Suncorp Super Netball)