Super Netball captains
The Super Netball title is up for grabs, with the captains launching the 2024 season in Sydney. Image by Esther Linder/AAP PHOTOS
  • netball

Thunderbirds on offensive for Super Netball season

Esther Linder March 21, 2024

The prospect of winning back-to-back premiership titles means the Adelaide Thunderbirds are “hunting for more” as they prepare for the start of the 2024 Super Netball season.

Captain Hannah Petty called it a “super exciting year” as the league’s captains gathered in Sydney ahead of the pre-season Team Girls Cup, with the season proper kicking off on April 13.

Hannah Petty
 Thunderbirds centre Hannah Petty wants to win back-to-back Super Netball titles. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS 

“We’ve got some new girls coming in, we’ve got a new flavour of netball as well as sticking to what worked well for us last year,” she told AAP.

“But we’re hunting for more, we’ve got the grand final in Adelaide so what a great opportunity to hopefully be there on the biggest day of the year.”

New signings such as Jamaican Romelda Aiken-George, a previous three-time premiership winner with the Firebirds, soften the blow of some crucial departures from the Thunderbirds’ coaching and offensive sides.

Assisant coach and English export Tracey Neville left the club last year to join the newest team in the competition, the Melbourne Mavericks, as head coach.

She was joined by superstar England shooter Eleanor Cardwell in the move south to the Mavericks, with Petty saying both had had a “massive impact” on the team’s run last year.

“There’s always going to be a hole when people leave,” Petty said.

“But we’ve also got new people that have come in to the group and they’re really exciting.

“They’re performing on the training track and we can’t wait for that to follow through into games.”

Petty called the three-month deadlock of Netball Australia’s collective bargaining fallout, when players were not paid from September 2023 until December when a new deal was signed, “something pretty heavy”.

“But I think everyone’s bounced back really well. We love netball. We want to grow netball. And that’s been the main focus of the group and the team,” she said.

Under the new deal, players will receive an immediate 11 per cent wage rise, back-dated to October 1, with the average salary rising to $89,221.

Netball Australia and the players will also enter into a landmark sponsorship revenue sharing partnership as part of the deal.

This weekend Sydney hosts the pre-season tournament Team Girls Cup from March 22-24, where each of the eight squads will have the opportunity to flex their muscle before the 2024 campaign gets underway.

The SSN season begins with the Giants taking on West Coast Fever, before Petty’s Thunderbirds begin their title defence against the Queensland Firebirds.