Netball 2023: Super Netball voting system will change; Beck Bully praises the Firebirds

This season’s Super Netball MVP selection will operate in a new environment that could break the dominance of West Coast Fever champion Jamaican shooter Janiele Fowler.

Previously, Nissan Net Points, the netball equivalent of super coaches, were used to determine the gong.

But on the eve of the competitionOfficials have said that this season, votes will be collected on a 3-2-1 basis from an independent voting panel of three for each match.

This change will also determine the team of the year after it was previously determined by Net Points.

West Coast Fever Champion Goaltender Janiele Fowler has won the Super Netball Player of the Year award for the past five seasons, largely due to the fact that a dominant shooter of her caliber will rack up an incredible score in every Net Points game.

With two points for every goal scored, a player like Fowler, who regularly scores 50 goals in a game and holds the league record for points in the regular season (70) and in the Finals (67), scores an incredible amount of points compared to those who is in positions such as defending on the flank, where the ability to take the opponent out of the game is a winning but unquantifiable goal.

However, this change would not necessarily result in Fowler’s removal from the list.

The cunning shooter often doesn’t get the recognition she deserves for her efforts, and many point to her height advantage rather than her strength, agility, and accuracy.

News Corp’s own 3-2-1 system resulted in Shamera Sterling being crowned Player of the Year for the 2022 season.

But she won the tally with only one vote from Fowler, Diamonds captain Liz Watson trailing behind her and her Fowler’s Fever teammate Courtney Bruce in fourth place, another vote behind.


Firebirds coach Beck Bulli paid tribute to the professionalism of her players for putting the disappointment and disappointment of last week ahead of their first Super Netball match against Adelaide behind them.

Bulli came into the spotlight last week after the Firebirds announced they had parted ways with assistant coach Sarah Francis-Beyman just days before the start of the season.

With the club refusing to discuss the details of the split “in order to respect the privacy of all involved”, this has left an information vacuum into which many theories have flowed.

While it has become clear that the sharply contrasting styles of Bulli and Francis-Beyman led to the split, details are scarce, although both sides have since acted with great professionalism, as have the players.

“Look, it’s been a really tough start to the week,” Bulli said after the Firebirds withered after an impressive debut against the highly ranked Thunderbirds, eventually losing 59-44.

“Obviously, these decisions are never easy, mainly because Sarah is a great coach and in the week before our first game, the players had a great connection with her.

“Although the credit for the girls is yes, they were upset, they were disappointed, they were a little upset, but they moved on and really got along well.

“Our last couple of practices were really great and the first three quarters (against the Thunderbirds) were amazing.

“We just ran out of legs at the end.”

Francis-Beyman remained silent from the split until he took to social media ahead of the Firebirds game.

But she also hinted that the split was anything but her choice.

“If I had a choice, I would go into battle every day with this group of amazing women (sic). It’s been a tough week (the toughest) but I hope you all come out and play for each other because the world deserves your prosperity. I will be your biggest fan,” wrote Francis-Beiman on Twitter and Instagram.

The post quickly received comments from many Firebirds, including Donnell Wallam, who said her first target would be for Francis-Beyman, and Captain Kim Ravalion was another who voiced his support.

Several England Roses players, including Helen Houseby, Joe Harten, Layla Gascot and Chelsea Pitman, responded by calling Francis-Bayman “pure class” and “the first face of the team” and Scotland Thistles head coach Tamsin Greenway, whom Francis-Bayman played role of international assistant, said the post reflects the reason “why I want you to be on my team. Every. Lonely. Time.”

Greenway also posted on social media early last week when news of the split first broke.

“Good leaders are self-aware and honest with themselves—they don’t point fingers at

“Good culture and environment allow their colleagues to thrive

“Good leadership takes responsibility, sees the big picture, rather than picking the easiest option.”

It was Bully’s baptism of fire, but she has complete faith in her team.

“I’m really confident that in the future this group has what it takes to be successful,” she said.

“It’s going to take a little time for this group to come together, it’s a new team, a lot of new players… Moving forward, I think it’s going to be a great year.”


Vixens defenseman Emily Mannix was banned from the court during Saturday’s game against Fever, which was a great sign for the game.

During a week when concussion dominated national sports headlines, especially men’s football codes, it’s important to remember that women often endure concussions more easily and take longer to recover from headbutts.

Head protection is of paramount importance, and there can be no undue caution here.

Mannix lowered her head, trying to retrieve the lost ball, and collapsed onto the court after an accidental collision with Fever’s Verity Simmons.

Rising slowly, the referee ordered her to leave the area, and a few minutes after the score she returned.

Netball has some of the toughest concussion protocols in the sport, with players facing a mandatory 12-day absence from the field if they sustain a concussion during a game.

Getting sent off the court in the middle of a match can be somewhat frustrating. But the decision was common sense in action and good to see.

Grand finalists on fire

Judging by the replay of Saturday’s finale, Fever and Vixens will reappear at the end of the season.

There is no lost love between the two clubs, who over the past three seasons have met in two grand finals and won one win each, as well as the infamous Vixens no-show in 2021 when they refused to travel to Perth after several members of their The team has been affected by Covid.

This creates the type of theater and rivalry that netball desperately needs, and given that the two clubs boast huge fan bases, this is a really good situation to play in.

The rivalry itself is useless without skill and form, and the level that both teams showed in the first round was extraordinary.

For the Vixens in particular, that they were able to take down Fever – despite ultimately losing by a goal margin – after a poor start was a strong sign given that they lacked experienced defender Joe Weston and a key shooter. Rani Samason.

Samason, in particular, will be out for a while, while Weston’s calf injury has been bothering her for longer than expected, and she may play a smaller role than expected at the start of the year with peak fitness for the finals and the World Cup, the main goals.


The Magpies went into the first round of the weekend underestimated by opposing captains and are the only team in the league not to win votes in a poll of Super Netball leaders who were asked to rank likely finalists.

But they showed against the Swifts that they would again be among the contenders.

After failing in the final on goal difference last season, the Pais are determined not to leave everything to chance this year.

The performance of international athletes Jodi-Anne Ward and Shimona Nelson was outstanding, while Sophie Garbin showed off her bow strings with strong long-range shooting.

Their performance, along with that of the Lightning – another team not well liked by many – showed just how intense the league is going to be this season and how highly prized wins are.

The return of South African team Carla Pretorius to the Lightning and the absence of Giants captain Joe Harten showed just how powerful one player can be in Super Netball.

The lineball’s decision to leave Harten on the sidelines was wrenching for the Giants, and it was the first Super Netball match the shooter missed.


Stacey Marinkovic was an interested spectator at the Firebirds-Thunderbirds match on Sunday and would have been impressed with what she saw from Donnell Wallam.

Wallam, who made her Diamond debut against England late last year, was a standout in the first half of Queensland’s 59-44 loss, though she sagged a bit in the heat in Brisbane, reflecting her team’s own slowdown.

The shooter scared both the Firebirds and the Diamonds in the second half when she looked at the bench and appeared to be limping slightly.

But she was able to play the match and finished with 36 points on 35 of 42 shots (including one super shot), despite her accuracy dwindling slightly as the game progressed.

However, the national team coach was pleased not only with her return.

Thunderbirds goaltender Shamera Sterling is arguably the best in the world at the moment, and for Wallam to dominate as she did in the opening stages would be a welcome sight considering Marinkovic will be without a pregnant Gretel Bueta at the World Championships.

The performance of Collingwood’s Sophie Garbin and Fever’s Sasha Glasgow ensured that Marinkovic and her selectors would have something to think about before naming their definitive team at the end of the season.


The good news continued on the commercial front of Netball Australia this week with fast food chain Guzman y Gomez (GYG) joining the governing body as an associate partner.

The announcement on the eve of the Super Netball season that GYG will partner with Netball Australia, Suncorp Super Netball and Diamonds in the company’s first sports sponsorship is another boost to the sport’s once-ailing finances.

“This is an important announcement for Guzmán and Gomez and we are delighted to be entering into this new partnership,” said Netball Australia CEO Kelly Ryan.

Stephen Marks, founder and CEO of Guzman y Gomez, said the partnership was a natural step for the company.

“We are delighted to announce the first professional sports partnership between Guzmán and Gomez,” Marks said.

The news comes amid a postponement and update of deals with the HCF healthcare fund and the addition of Flight Center to the list of sports sponsors.

Originally published as Column “Net Profit”: Shake on award criteria; Beck Bulli praises the Firebirds after his baptism of fire