Three of the four matches in the opening round went right down to the wire, with the Melbourne derby on Saturday setting the tone for the round.
The Melbourne Vixens won both of their games against new kids on the block Collingwood last season, and appeared set to cruise home in this match as well.
But despite trailing by as many as eight goals, the Magpies turned it all around to lead by two goals in the last quarter. The Vixens were up to the challenge, though, and managed to secure a vital one-goal win at Hisense Arena.
Fans were treated to a double-header at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney where both games went right down to the wire.
The opening game was the grand final re-match between GIANTS Netball and the Sunshine Coast Lightning, with both sides showing they will be genuine threats for the title again in 2018.
The teams were neck-and-neck for the opening three quarters, before Giants streaked out to an eight-goal lead. The Lightning fought back hard in the final quarter, but in another close contest it was the Giants who claimed the spoils.
The second match at Qudos Bank Arena was the traditional rivalry between the NSW Swifts and the Queensland Firebirds, and neither side disappointed the roaring crowd.
But young gun Sophie Garbin shocked the Queenslanders with one of the finest quarters of netball ever seen by a debutant, stealing the lead back and stroking home the match-winner.
There were absolute scenes as her teammates piled on to congratulate her on a Nissan Player of the Match performance in her first ever game of Suncorp Super Netball.
While three games were heart-stoppers, unfortunately for the Adelaide Thunderbirds their match was more one-sided.
They were put to the sword 74-56 by the West Coast Fever, who have recruited a genuine superstar in Jhaniele Fowler. The Jamaican star was unstoppable under the hoop, with a personal haul of 66/68 goals – the highest individual tally seen in Suncorp Super Netball or the trans-Tasman Netball League. She beat her own personal and league record of 65 goals in a match, set in 2013.
With three of the four games going down to the wire, it is an indicator of how close the Suncorp Super Netball season will be in 2018.
photos Janos Schmidt