The NSW Swifts return to the court and the winner’s list with a hard-fought 58-53 win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Round 14 of the Suncorp Super Netball.
With finals looming, Round 14 offers an important chance for teams to make their claim to the minor premiership and lock in positions within the top four or go out in a blaze of glory for those finishing outside the top half.
A week after their shock loss to the Collingwood Magpies, the Swifts went into today’s game with a rested roster, an eye-catching yellow heritage dress and their coach, Briony Akle- who has spent much of the last two weeks stuck in South Australia due to border closures.
Adelaide by contrast were facing a back to back game, looking to weather fatigue and lock in a third straight win that would end their season on a high.
While they may not have managed that, Tania Obst will no doubt be beaming after her Thunderbirds held the Swifts to within a handful of goals throughout much of the game, even threatening to make a shock comeback in the final minutes.
Starting with Sophie Garbin for the first time this season provided the Swifts with fresh energy in the shooting circle, leading to a third quarter blow out of ten goals at one point. Combining nicely with Helen Housby in GA provided a counter to the Thunderbirds defenders and a particularly in-form Shamera Sterling (who finished today with 6 gains).
While Sam Wallace saw little game time today, her last minute presence in the fourth quarter provided four timely goals to keep the team ahead.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Thunderbirds defence had a run of bad luck, with errors from Tilly Garrett and the accidental injury of Maisie Nankivell following a collision with teammate Latanya Wilson.
Elle McDonald being brought on in C proved a wise move from the Thunderbirds, faring well against Swifts like Proud and Hadley- with the Swifts usually strong midcourt being put under pressure for much of the first half and struggling to hit their stride until later in the game.
Tayla Fraser and Lauren Moore both got good runs at WD, with Fraser moving into C later on and injecting some significant speed into the midcourt.
While Georgie Horjus didn’t have quite as strong an outing as she did last week, and missed a few notable midrange shots, the Thunderbirds shooting circle was exciting to watch. Between the young shooter and Potgieter, the attack was well fed and able to pass around defenders like Klau and Turner quite effectively.
While the Thunderbirds may not have made finals or won the day, their effort today showed some promising signs of where the team might build to going into 2022. As for the Swifts, they now move into 3rd on the ladder and face a second game in just two days time.