Suncorp Super Netball X-Factors: Nat Medhurst Names Shamera Sterling, Helen Housby, Jo Harten, Kim Ravaillion

From desperate passion to the vital cogs that steady the ship, NAT MEDHURST names her most important player on any team battling for the 2023 Super Netball Championship.

As the saying goes, “There is no me in a team,” but let’s face it. On every team there is always one person who plays a huge role in whether they win or lose.

The x factor.

They become a huge barometer for the rest of the team and their performances, good or bad, can be incredibly insightful.

As we near the start of the 2023 Super Netball season, here are the players I believe will have the fortunes of their team in their hands.

Adelaide Thunderbirds

Shamera Sterling

It would be almost rude of me not to have Shamera as an X-factor player for the Thunderbirds. She has it in abundance. Even outside of her on-pitch appearances, her ability to entertain fans is hard to miss.

But it matters in court. In 2022, her game reached a new level and she was the key component that almost gave the Thunderbirds their first finals appearance since 2013. Also evident was their maturity and leadership on the pitch, making them harder to predict.

She’s been more concerned about which balls to attack or leave and raised the standards for her teammates. If the Thunderbirds are to take another step forward in 2023, their understanding of the game, their timing and their ability to take down the toughest shooters in the league will again be relied on.

Collingwood Magpies

Sophie Garbin

How Garbin is deployed by the Magpies in 2023 will go a long way towards her ability to have the impact and impact we all know she is capable of delivering.

While Garbin doesn’t have the physical presence of some other shooters in the league, he is one of the most difficult to defend shooters on hold, causing headaches not only on the home scene but in green and gold as well.

When she’s on the pitch and in the right position, she’s almost unstoppable. Her confidence in being a longer range goalscorer is an additional weapon for her. From the touchline her confidence as a goalscorer is evident and she has the ability to create many winning chances for the Magpies this season.

GWS giants

Jo Harten

Passionate, proud and fearless is how I would describe English importer Jo Harten. She’s the Giants’ barometer of success, and she wears that title well.

At times she won games on her own in 2022, but was also worryingly quiet at times when she was needed to improve. It’s that expectation that makes them so important to this Giants team. So many times they’re in the Finale mix but heartbreakingly miss it (which was also the case in 2022).

Harten isn’t afraid to show it off, and she has the “look”, body language, and skill to match it. Her ability to turn it on can completely rip an opponent apart, but she’s also easily read when they step on her. Regardless, Harten is the linchpin and has that cool way of pushing and delivering when it counts.

Melbourne Vixens

Kate Eddie

In a star-studded team, Vixen’s full-back Kate Eddy is the forgotten child. Goes about her business quietly in the corner while the focus is on the others.

Like expecting Jhaniele Fowler to deliver every week, so does Vixens players like Liz Watson, Kate Maloney and Jo Weston… to name a few. But it will be Eddy’s maturity and ability to keep her job at the highest level that will keep the Vixens going on a “free” day. The wing defense position in each team is crucial. They make the district defenders’ work easier.

Eddy has great attacking skills, along with a span and a shutdown game that can create chances for both herself and the likes of Weston, Emily Mannix and Liv Lewis. Her ability to maintain consistency and create opportunities at key moments is much needed for this Vixens team.

NSW Swifts

Helen Housby

Some might say it is the quintessential goal attack. The strut, the swing of her hair, the look. She’s heartbroken (especially the hearts of Aussies in 2018), but whatever the outside of it, Housby is a class act… and a very talented one at that.

In 2022, Housby was more than called up due to the injury to goalscorer Sam Wallace at the end of the season, and despite the inexperience that now joined her in the scoring circle, she kept delivering.

While the team is consistent across the board, Housby needs to step up and capitalize on the space she had in 2022. Factor the Swifts need if they want to get back on top.

Queensland Firebirds

Kim Ravaillon

The midfielder and Queensland Firebirds captain has one of the best engines in the competition and a superb defensive element in her game that plays a vital role in both the Firebirds’ forward and defensive structure.

With new coach Bec Bulley at the helm and uncertainty about the role (if any) star shooter Gretel Bueta will play in 2023, Bulley will surely be leaning on Ravaillion to use her experience to lead this team to lead. Ravaillion’s biggest challenge will be the ability to limit turnover at critical moments, but she’s just as strong at creating opportunities for her team when it counts.

The Firebirds have a very young front and back line, so Ravaillion’s influence will be crucial.

Sunshine Coastal Lightning

Charles Pretorius

A true champion of the game, Pretorius returns to Sunshine Coast Lighting after the birth of their first child. In previous seasons, Pretorius caused headaches in goal attacking with their incredible ability to take down a player as well as vision to pick balls and create chances for their shooters.

I expect something similar when she returns. The Sunshine Coast will count on their skill, knowledge, leadership and skill on the pitch, especially with a younger backline than before.

west coast fever

Sasha Glasgow

The easy and probably obvious pick for West Coast Fever would have been Jhaniele Fowler. The 5-time league MVP is such a force and a key player for the Fever, but the reality is that even on a “day off” for her, the team and fans can expect her to make a huge impact.

For me it depends on the impact that her shooting partner Sasha Glasgow can have on goal attack. No stranger to two point shots, her ability to hit shooting from long range and being a real threat in scoring and/or playmaking for Fever has a huge impact on what Fever can deliver as teams continue try to take out Fowler.

Nat Medhurst

Nat Medhurst is a Commonwealth Games gold medalist and three-time world champion with the Australian Diamonds. Her 17-year career included stints with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, Queensland Firebirds, West Coast Fever and Collingwood Magpies. Medhurst lives in Perth and is a columnist, commentator and sports director at Presbyterian Ladies’ College. Suncorp Super Netball X-Factors: Nat Medhurst Names Shamera Sterling, Helen Housby, Jo Harten, Kim Ravaillion

Ryan Sederquist

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