Suncorp Super Netball

Legends share their grand final predictions

Off the back of an amazing preview by Diamonds legend Sharon Finnan-White, we asked some more legends of netball about who they thought would win the biggest game of the year.

Everyone’s got something a little different, but there’s one thing we do know – the game is going to be an epic.

World Cup and Commonwealth Games winning Australian Diamonds coach and netball analyst Lisa Alexander
Lisa Alexander. Picture: Twitter

Defence wins Grand Finals and it will be a battle royale between the Swifts full-court swarming defence and the GIANTS’ determined and tight full court press.

My tip is in double extra time Swifts by 3, according to the SSN rules.

It is going to be a cracking Grand Final – I cannot wait!

Tip: Swifts by 3 after two periods of extra-time

NSW Swifts legend, retired netballer, coach and co-host of The Goal Circle Podcast Abbey McCulloch
Abbey McCulloch (right). Picture: Twitter

An all-NSW Grand Final is just what NSW needs after weeks of lockdown and I’m putting my money on the Swifts but by a very small margin.

With one goal between them in their semi-final and four goals in round 11, it wouldn’t surprise me if this one goes into extra time.

The Swifts have perfected the possession game over the last few years, and it has proven to be near unbeatable and if they want to win their second SSN championship, they will need to draw on this, particularly during the Suncorp Super Shot period. 

While both teams have the capacity to nail the 2-points, GIANTS shooters Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer top the stats for super shot attempts and goals. 

The combination of Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner will need to work double-time to minimise the damage caused during this super shot period – expect to see both at hands over with big, long leans over whoever is shooting.

If the GIANTS are a chance, Sam Poolman needs to repeat her form from their Preliminary Final win last weekend, and she needs to be able to adjust her game quickly if changes come. 

The Swifts roster is extremely versatile and all three of their goalers are comfortable back in GS. 

Expect Sam Wallace to start, but don’t be surprised to see Sophie Garbin or even Helen Housby rolled on to keep Sam on her toes. 

With April Brandley containing her GA out in front, there is no reason why Sam cannot get the job done back at GK.

I think the game will be won through the middle. 

Amy Parmenter and Paige Hadley match each other for speed and athleticism, who wins the battle of the brains? 

The Swifts need Maddy Proud on her feet and in the game, can she compete with the physicality of Jamie-Lee Price for 60minutes? 

Is the tag team of Taylor Fraser and Lauren Moore the right move to keep the league’s most elusive WA, Maddie Hay under control?

Only time will tell.

Tip: Swifts win by 2 as long as they settle quickly and minimise their changes throughout the game

London Pulse CEO and Director of Netball Sam Bird
Sam Bird. picture: London Pulse.

As a VNSL Coach for London Pulse and England Roses selector and of course netball obsessive – there are lots of reasons to be excited about the SSN Final between the GIANTS and the Swifts.

Firstly, what an achievement for NSW having both teams in the Grand Final. 

I feel that the two teams most deserving of being in the final are in it, and both play a great brand of exciting highly skillful netball, with the ability to keep possession when it counts and the ability to score SSN “Super Shots” when it matters.

It’s very good news for England fans to have three England Roses playing in this final and brings another dimension to the match for me to watch and see how Jo, Helen and Nat stand up to their Aussie positional counterparts – especially with a Commonwealth Games looming.

Jo, for me, has had an outstanding season and showed great leadership in her role as captain for the GIANTS.

I also had the privilege of coaching Sammy Wallace here in the UK before she joined the Swifts, and so I feel genuinely drawn to the Swifts line up which includes her, Helen and Nat.

As for match ups – there are so many interesting battles to watch, but with both teams having outstanding shooting circles for me the game will be won in the mid court.

Proud has been impressive this season, and the battle between her and Jamie-Lee Price will be critical.

Maddie Hay was outstanding in the preliminary final and connected with Jo and Sophie in the shooting circle so clinically.

I also thought we saw the best of April Brandley this week working with Sam Poolman and I’m excited to see how Helen and April go against each other.

I’ve enjoyed watching and listening to the coaches this season, and both coaches have developed their teams through the season to be peaking at the right time. I wonder whether GIANTS having the extra match has given them some momentum for the Final, but equally the Swifts will have had a good look at them versus Fever this week and have time to make those last steps to neutralise their opponents’ strengths.

In short, I’m very much looking forward to a classic SSN battle to decide who becomes the Ultimate Champion – and either way an England Rose will be on the winning side.

Tip: Either way – A Rose will win!

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