Player Focus: SSN Preliminary Final – NSW Swifts vs. Melbourne Vixens

WITH the preliminary final done and dusted we look at which player from each team stood out for their side. The NSW Swifts had contributors across the court but it was Maddy Turner that proved to be a real game changer, while Vixens captain Kate Moloney took ownership through the middle third.

NSW SWIFTS: MADDY TURNER (GD)

Often unnoticed, the young and talented defender took the Vixens by storm. After spending time on the bench in the previous round the goal defence went full pelt in the clash against the Vixens going toe to toe with Tegan Philip throughout the game. Her intent was clear from the first whistle wearing Philip like a glove and shadowing her every move to cause doubt in the feeders’ minds.

The goal defence set the tone early in the piece collecting three gains and two intercepts in the first term thanks to her smothering pressure. She took a clever intercept right on the transverse line in the first quarter showcasing her skill to read the play and impact the contest cleanly while also denying easy ball movement in the attacking third.

She upped the ante as the game went on standing up under pressure and doing the little things well to limit Philip’s influence both under the post and across the court. Her timing on the drive, three feet defensive pressure and ability to cover Philip was second to none while her connection with Sarah Klau proved unstoppable. Turner worked tirelessly throughout the match running hard both ways and providing an attacking option on the transverse line to help the Swifts reset.

Despite coming off for a break in the fourth term Turner was a dominant force contesting every ball and clogging up the options in attack. Her versatility was also on show throughout the game re-entering the game at wing defence and pairing well with teammate Katrina Rore and Paige Hadley to deny access into the circle. She finished the game with six gains, two intercepts, four deflections and one rebound.

MELBOURNE VIXENS: KATE MOLONEY (C)

The captain led from the front like she has all season but unfortunately it was not enough to get her side over the line. Moloney worked tirelessly throughout the four quarters to represent across the court and provide an option around the circle edge.

With the Vixens front end struggling to find any form of rhythm and connection Moloney switched into wing attack using her speed and clever ball placement to full advantage. She did a wealth of work picking up 11 centre pass receives in the second and third quarter while her second phase work was impressive. She provided a good link-up play for the Vixens who were struggling to penetrate the Swifts defensive unit. Moloney had to pick up a lot of slack with Liz Watson well covered by her opponent forcing the captain to work hard to find space and create forward thrusts for her side.

Her feeds into the circle lifted as the game went on, using her vision and variety of passes to pinpoint targets. Moloney lacked confidence in the opening quarter to release the ball into Caitlin Thwaites, Philip and Mwai Kumwenda but built as the game went on notching up 14 goal assists from 25 feeds highlighting her accuracy with the pass. When she switched back into centre she increased her defensive with one pick up while her ability to stay away from the whistle was crucial in helping to mount pressure on the Swifts attacking end.

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