The 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season is set to begin next month and a number of Vitality Roses will be involved in the restart.
Australia’s elite netball competition is home to England internationals Stacey Francis, Layla Guscoth, Jo Harten, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Helen Housby, Geva Mentor, Chelsea Pitman and Kate Shimmin.
Five of the eight teams have at least one Vitality Rose in their ranks while NSW Swifts (Housby, Haythornthwaite) and Adelaide Thunderbirds (Guscoth, Pitman, Shimmin) have several Englishwomen in their squad.
Harten will captain GIANTS Netball for the first time this season and Mentor is co-captaining Collingwood Magpies. Francis, meanwhile, represents West Coast Fever.
The majority of matches during the 2020 season, including the entire finals series, will be played across Nissan Arena in Brisbane, the University of the Sunshine Coast Stadium and regional Queensland due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fixtures for the first six rounds of the competition have been announced and will see 24 matches played in 23 days from 1 August – 23 August. You can see the full fixture list as it stands here.
The first round will see Harten’s GIANTS take on Francis’ Fever while several Roses will feature in Swifts’ meeting with Thunderbirds a day later. Mentor’s Magpies kick-start their campaign against Melbourne Vixens in the final meeting of the round.
We’ve taken a look at when the Roses will face off in the opening six rounds below:
|GIANTS – West Coast Fever||Sat 1 August||1||Harten & Francis|
|NSW Swifts – Thunderbirds||Sun 2 August||1||Housby, Haythornthwaite, Guscoth, Shimmin, Pitman|
|NSW Swifts – GIANTS||Wed 5 August||2||Housby, Haythornthwaite, Harten|
|GIANTS – Thunderbirds||Sat 8 August||2||Harten, Guscoth, Shimmin, Pitman|
|NSW Swifts – West Coast Fever||Sun 9 August||2||Housby, Haythornthwaite, Francis|
|West Coast Fever – Thunderbirds||Wed 12 August||3||Francis, Guscoth, Shimmin, Pitman|
|Magpies – West Coast Fever||Sun 16 August||4||Mentor & Francis|
|Magpies – Thunderbirds||Tue 18 August||5||Mentor, Guscoth, Shimmin, Pitman|
|Magpies – NSW Swifts||Sat 22 August||6||Mentor, Housby, Haythornthwaite|
Roses have proven pivotal in SSN outcomes
Several Roses have played key roles in SSN seasons of late with some even proving pivotal in deciding the destination of the trophy.
Geva Mentor was the first of the current group to make the switch from the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) when she joined Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2008. The goal keeper has since won several titles in Oz and is currently with her fourth Australian side.
Joining Mentor and, at the time, Jade Clarke in the division, Stacey Francis joined West Coast Fever in 2016 having previously had a spell in New Zealand with Canterbury Tactix. She has been with the club ever since and made the Grand Final in 2018 with the Perth outfit.
A year later, Jo Harten and Helen Housby joined GIANTS and Swifts respectively. Harten starred in her debut season and went onto the 2017 Grand Final but just missed out despite shooting 20 from 25. Housby, meanwhile, won the title last year with a convincing 64–47 win.
Another member of Swifts’ title-winning squad was Housby’s international teammate Nat Haythornthwaite who joined the New South Wales outfit after VNSL glory with Wasps Netball and Commonwealth Games success with the Roses in 2018. After missing the first half of her full debut season due to injury, Haythornthwaite went onto win the SSN title last year.
Layla Guscoth was the latest Rose to join a Super Netball side when she signed for Thunderbirds in 2019. The defender will form part of her side’s leadership group for the new season.
The two Australian-born players in the Roses squad – Kate Shimmin and Chelsea Pitman – both started their careers in Oceania. Shimmin signed for Thunderbirds in 2011 and won the ANZ Championship with Thunderbirds in 2013. After a short stint with Queensland Firebirds, the defender returned to Adelaide in 2017.
After a spell in New Zealand and with West Coast Fever, Pitman joined Manchester Thunder in 2015 before returning down under with Central Pulse. Signing with Thunderbirds for the 2017 season, Pitman starred during the 2017 campaign and was ultimately named the 2017 Club Champion. She has recently been announced as co-captain of her side for 2020.
You can watch our Vitality Roses compete in all of their fixtures on the Netball Live app.