NSW Swifts were clinical on the club’s way to beating state rivals GIANTS Netball by four goals at Nissan Arena, Brisbane, on Saturday.
The 63-59 win was set up after yet another strong start from the Swifts, who have now won two premierships in three years, as GIANTS Netball struggled to overcome the pressure from the red, blue and whites.
Swifts shooter Sam Wallace was near-unstoppable from the first whistle as she held strong under the post-shooting 51 from 55 goals, including some crucial Super Shots.
Swifts coach Briony Akle said it was an amazing feeling to win a second premiership in three years – especially after the tough season that 2021 was.
“We made the decision – make that this count. It’s been tough. We had to ride the wave together… these guys were struggling at different times but we’re a super cool group together,” she said.
“We said it would take 60 minutes of really good netball – I think any team in a grand final, you have to wear a team down. There was a focus on winning the third and the four quarters or pushing the margin.
“Our plan was, when we won in 2019, that we would drive this home and not just get success once – I hope we all stay together. Nothing is forever but I haven’t thought that far ahead.”
The Netball Post would like to thank The Goal Circle podcast for all of its help in 2021 providing quotes and photos.
Swifts were able to work the ball around the midcourt with precision and pace before opening up the circle on every occasion.
GIANTS coach Julie Fitzgerald made a number of changes to try and combat Wallace, however, perhaps the star of the show was goal defender Maddy Turner who was able to shut 19-year-old GIANTS Goal Attack Sophie Dwyer down.
GIANTS captain Jo Harten, playing her 150th match, was a stand-out for her leadership on and off the court.
She said she was proud of her side but Swifts were too good on the day.
“That last quarter was some of the best netball I’ve ever seen from an opposition,” she said of the Swifts’ ability to hold the ball and keep possession.
“Too much of an ask to leave it to the last 15 minutes. I think I could have stepped up in different moments to help Soph [Dwyer] out.
“I feel like losing [Goal Attack] Keira [Austin] in the first round was a huge blow… to lose her we had to rejig our line-up. That’s a lot of experience gone in the first round.”
GIANTS coach Julie Fitzgerald, who celebrated her 350th match as coach earlier this year, said the future was bright for the club and the young squad its developed.
“I want to keep the core of this group together,” she said after being asked about the status of her squad ahead of the contracting period where all players are off-contract.
“You look at the other teams in the top four, there’ve been together for quite a few years now. if we can develop those understandings where everything becomes automatic I think we have a very bright future ahead of us…. I don’t anticipate losing too many players.
“All year I have said the promise and potential of this team is so exciting – we were beaten by a side today who played magnificently, Sam Wallace – you couldn’t touch her. There’s a lot of positives to take out of this.”
It was a classic Swifts performance – a fast start, ball control, and tough defensive that smothered the GIANTS out of the game.
Categories: Suncorp Super Netball
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