Suncorp Super Netball Captains’ Predictions

On the eve of the opening round of Suncorp Super Netball, the eight club captains have submitted their predictions for the 2017 season.

Three of eight captains identified new club GIANTS Netball as the team to watch in 2017.

Captains were divided in predicting the league’s Most Valuable Player, with the Firebirds’ Romelda Aiken, Magpies’ Sharni Layton and Vixens’ Mwai Kumwenda all named twice.

In naming their own team’s Most Valuable Player, there was a strong international presence put forward by the eight captains.

Six of the eight predicted team Most Valuable Players were import players, with English internationals Serena Guthrie, Jade Clarke and Stacey Francis named, alongside New Zealand’s Laura Langman and Jamaica’s Romelda Aiken.

A sense of the unknown, excitement around the new rivalries in the league and new player combinations were aspects the leaders were looking forward to.

According to inaugural Sunshine Coast Lightning captain Geva Mentor, players and fans alike can look forward to the rivalries that will unfold. Mentor said she was excited about “seeing how all the new and old teams fair, particularly with all the player movement. I believe the rivalries created will provide an exciting challenge for us as players and a greater spectacle for supporters.”

Experienced West Coast Fever captain Nat Medhurst said she was eager to witness “the changes across the board and how well teams combine across the season. I always love the competitive nature of our game, so that is a given,” Nat Medhurst.

Captains recognised Suncorp Super Netball as a new era for the sport, reaching more audiences than ever before. NSW Swifts captain Abbey McCulloch was enthused by “the ability for netball to be in lounge rooms across Australia, and the opportunity it is afforded the next generation of elite netballers.”

Round one of Suncorp Super Netball commences at 5pm AEDT on Saturday 18 February with three back-to-back games. Watch them live on 9Gem, Telstra TV and the Netball Live app.

Read the captains’ responses:

Gabi Simpson – Queensland Firebirds
Who do you think is the team to watch?
The Firebirds defense is an unknown quantity, we will continue to grow across the season and have tricks up our sleeves.

Pick for team B&F?
Romelda Aiken.

Pick for Suncorp Super Netball B&F?
Sharni Layton.

What are you most excited about with new Suncorp Super Netball league?
The unknown of it all. It’s all very exciting having a fresh start.

What is the area of your game you most want to focus on?
Staying cool, calm and collected under pressure.

Kimberlee Green – GIANTS Netball
Who do you think is the team to watch?
Melbourne Vixens. Flying under the radar, solid core group who been together for few years now.

Pick for team B&F?
Serena Guthrie. Improved heaps over pre-season, has the x factor, and having not played Centre very much is really making the bib her own.

Pick for Suncorp Super Netball B&F?
Jo Harten – she is a superstar.

What are you most excited about with new Suncorp Super Netball league?
Getting it underway this weekend. Lots of old and new faces, and everyone will be looking to have an impact in Year 1.

What is the area of your game you most want to focus on?
Passing to the team in Orange.

Abbey McCulloch – NSW Swifts
Who do you think is the team to watch?
The NSW Swifts and Melbourne Vixens.

Both have young lists, but chockers full of talent and I think play an attractive style of netball that Fans will love.

Pick for team B&F?
Maddy Turner or Paige Hadley. Maddy had such a massive impact in her debut season last year, and looks even better this time round. She’s ready to step up. Paige because she’s just a quality player and I have no doubt will dominate the Swifts’ attacking third.

Pick for Suncorp Super Netball B&F?
Love to see it be a midcourter, but with so many new faces this year it’s hard to pick. I think it might be a fresh face who alights the competition.

What are you most excited about with new Suncorp Super Netball league?
The ability for netball to be in lounge rooms across Australia, and the opportunity it is afforded the next generation of elite netballers.

What is the area of your game you most want to focus on?
Contesting more first ball.

Madi Robinson – Magpies Netball Club
Who do you think is the team to watch?
GIANTS Netball.

Pick your team B&F?
Kim Ravaillion.

Pick your Suncorp Super Netball B&F?
Romelda Aiken.

What are you most excited about with new Suncorp Super Netball league?
Seeing the cross-town rivalries build between teams.

What is the area of your game you most want to focus on?
Building a netball legacy for the Magpies.

Nat Medhurst – West Coast Fever
Who do you think is the team to watch?
West Coast Fever. No one externally is optimistic for us as a Club this season so I look forward to proving a lot of people wrong and surprising the opposition with the depth, flexibility & competitiveness that we will bring.

Pick your team B&F?
Stacey Francis.

Pick your Suncorp Super Netball B&F?
Romelda Aiken.

What are you most excited about with new Suncorp Super Netball league?
The changes across the board and how well teams combine across the season. I always love the competitive nature of our game so that is a given. I am also really looking forward to seeing how our younger West Coast Fever players really step up and take on the challenge of being a part of netball at this elite level.

What is the area of your game you most want to focus on?
Unpredictability. It is always nice to keep people guessing and all I want to do is continue to improve & develop as a player. Would like to think that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

Kate Moloney – Melbourne Vixens
Who do you think is the team to watch?
GIANTS Netball.

Pick for team B&F?
Tegan Philip.

Pick for Suncorp Super Netball B&F?
Mwai Kumwenda.

What are you most excited about with new Suncorp Super Netball league?
With the introduction of the three new teams, I am excited to seeing the new rivalries build.

What is the area of your game you most want to focus on?
With only 10 players per team now, it is even more important for a player to be able to cover several positions. Therefore, I am focusing on my versatility and being able to cover all three positions in the mid court.

Erin Bell – Adelaide Thunderbirds
Who do you think is the team to watch?
GIANTS Netball.

Pick for team B&F?
Jade Clarke.

Pick for Suncorp Super Netball B&F?
Sharni Layton.

What are you most excited about with new Suncorp Super Netball league?
Great opportunity to play against the best week in and week out.

What is the area of your game you most want to focus on?
Consistency.

Geva Mentor – Sunshine Coast Lightning
Who do you think is the team to watch?
Until the first couple of rounds, it is hard to say. Looking at team lists, you cannot go past the Magpies, but overall I believe every team has recruited well, it will just be about how quickly combinations are establish.

Pick for team B&F?
I’d love for all 10 of us to be up there, that way we know everyone has done their job successfully this season. However, with the sacrifice that Laura Langman has made, it would be bitter sweet to see her walk away with such an accolade.

Pick for Suncorp Super Netball B&F?
If I wasn’t to be bias and say someone from our team, I believe MJ from Vixens could take out that title with her flare and uniqueness.

What are you most excited about with new Suncorp Super Netball league?
Seeing how all the new and old teams fair, particularly with all the player movement. I believe the rivalries created will provide an exciting challenge for us as players and a greater spectacle for supporters.

What is the area of your game you most want to focus on?
Consistently being able to turn over ball and providing as much possession as I can for my team. However, primarily cementing new defensive combinations.