Suncorp Super Netball

Swifts celebrate 25 years by going back to yellow

NSW Swifts are set to celebrate 25 years this week by going back to yellow in a heritage dress that is “Inspired by History, Driven by Legacy”.

The Swifts club was founded back in 1997 as Sydney Swifts and competed in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy. The rest is, as they say, history.

Throughout the days of Australia’s first national league, the Swifts won four premierships in 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2007.

In the early days of the yellow Swifts, the side was home to some of netball’s biggest names.

Players such as Liz Ellis, Cath Cox, Susan Pettit (née Pratley) Selina Gilsenan, Jo Morgan, Mo’onia Gerrard, Alison Broadbent, Natalie Avelino, Megan Anderson, Jane Altschwaged, Kim Green, Catriona Wagg and of course current Swifts head coach Briony Akle created a legacy which would carry on to today. 

Current head coach and former player Briony Akle (front, second from left) and the Sydney Swifts celebrate victory in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy grand final in 2001.CREDIT:GETTY

After laying down the foundations for the club, the Commonwealth Bank Trophy competition came to an end in order for the new Trans Tasman competition, the ANZ Championships.

This would mean five teams from Australia and five teams from New Zealand would compete in the league.

With the condensed number of Australian teams to be in the competition, Swifts merged with Hunter Jagers to ultimately become the NSW Swifts and a new colour would be donned, the iconic red dress we see today. 

The current NSW Swifts with a few ex Swifts such as Avelino and Broadbent at an early match this season. Photo Credit: NSW Swifts

In 2008 the first year of the newly-formed competition the NSW Swifts took out the inaugural championship against New Zealand’s Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic – making that three championships in a row for the club. 

In the early years, the Sydney side was made up of local athletes.

As the league grew and became more professional, interstate players were brought in.

Players like Caitlin Thwaites, Sharni Layton, Jade Clarke and Laura Langman made the move to the side during the ANZ championship.

With a wealth of new talent, the Swifts were able to make back to back finals in 2015 and 2016 but were beaten both years by Queensland Firebirds.

In 2017, the Swifts entered its third National League, the Suncorp Super Nebtall.

2016 would be the final instalment of the ANZ Championship and the NSW Swifts were tasked with building a roster around local stars Paige Hadley and Abbey McCulloch.

The NSW Swifts celebrate with the trophy
NSW Swifts after their premiership win in the inaugural ANZ Championship. Photo Credit: GETTY

A young roster was put together under head coach Rob Wright with eyes on building for the future.

A majority of the roster still remains today.

In 2017, after the exit of Wright current coach, former Swifts player Briony Akle took over the head coach role. 

The experiences Briony had as a player as well as being part of the original club was a cornerstone of her appointment.

Coach Akle was quoted by the NSWIS news saying that “this is a very special club which is steeped in history, but not weighed down by it, and I am ready for the challenge that lies ahead.” ‘

Akle led the Swifts to the premiership in 2019 and looks set to be in the contest this season, too.

Now, for this week, the club wears its iconic yellow in both round 14 matches.

The new yellow dress the NSW Swifts will wear in honour of their history. Photo Credit: NSW Swifts

Swifts and Australian netball legend Liz Ellis on finding out that the Swifts would be paying tribute said she was excited to see the club back in yellow.

“Any Swifts dress you get to wear is special but the yellow really is a part of my heart,” she said via video link at the club’s season launch. 

“When I was told the Swifts would be wearing yellow again I got quite emotional because that dress means so much to me and the women who played in it.

“I see a lot of parallels between this current Swifts team and the side we had back in the day because we really got on well off the court as well as on it.

“We won a title when no one tipped us to, just like this current generation and I know they have their eyes set on a similar legacy.”

Former Swifts Captain Liz Ellis stating what being a Swift means to her. Photo Credit: NSW Swifts

From a personal perspective, I remember the days of the Swifts in the yellow dress and as a fan still today I’m very proud to have our state represented by such humble amazing athletes who truly represent us with pride and passion. As a fan that’s all you can ask for. 

Happy 25 years Swifties. 

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