Suncorp Super Netball

Maddy Proud determined to bring home the title over young GIANTS

“Every time we step out we know it’s going to go down to the wire.”

Maddy Proud isn’t expecting an easy win when the Swifts and GIANTS meet in the Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final this weekend, having played their cross-town rivals in many a hard-fought Sydney Derby over the years.

The Swifts captain is just one of many long-standing players in the current Swifts line up, a close-knit team hungry to add a second trophy to their Suncorp Super Netball cabinet.

“I was walking with Sammy Wallace and we were talking about that, how far we’ve all come and that we started this
journey together and the majority of us have been able to see it through together as well,” she said.

“I think it just shows when you do get that core group together and you have time to develop and learn and grow together, it shows on the court.”

When the Swifts claimed their first premiership in 2019, Proud was unfortunately confined to the sideline with injury.

She’s glad to be on the court this time, joking about being able to run off her nerves and pleased to have some degree of control over the game.

“Grand Finals don’t come around that often,” she said.

“This group is lucky we’ve had two in the last few years, for me it’s going into my tenth year of this level and never having played in a Grand Final. It’s pretty special and I’m just trying to enjoy every single moment of this week.”

It’s a special moment, and the Swifts captain intends to make the most of it.

Sentiments shared by GIANTS head coach Julie Fitzgerald.

After two decades on top, she’s just as keen to encourage her own team to enjoy the moment and all they’ve achieved to get here. At least until they get down to business on the court.

“Grand Finals are very special and I want particularly the young ones to appreciate that they don’t come around that
easily,” she said.

“You don’t get to play that many. I want them to enjoy everything that goes with it, but then to understand
that once you get to the game we’re back to being our clinical selves, sticking to the game plan, doing what we need
to do.”

One of those young players is Sophie Dwyer, a shooter who has risen to prominence under Fitzgerald’s watch this year while Keira Austin recovers from injury.

“Keira pretty much turned into my personal mentor. I don’t think many people could say they’ve got an Aussie Diamond as a mentor,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer has some glowing praise for her teammates, and credits her success to the guidance she’s received from these GIANTS of the game.

“I think it really is testament to the girls around me, having someone like Jo Harten backing me in the shooting circle is so special and I think I can’t give enough credit to how much she has helped me fit into this team and I think nobody really realises how much she has helped me unless you’re on the court. I’m getting directions for sixty minutes pretty much.”

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