IT was a nail-biting finish to the New South Wales derby as neither side could be separated rounding out the game at 77 goals apiece. A scintillating final term at the hands of GIANTS captain Jo Harten gifted her side a draw after converting six super shots, despite being down by as much as 10 goals to the Swifts. It was a whirlwind contest as the lead changed hands multiple times while there were a couple of notable omission for both sides in the form of star goalers Helen Housby and Caitlin Bassett both out due to injury.
It was an even start to the game as both sides managed to convert from their centre pass before a hand in from Kristiana Manu’a saw the GIANTS stream down court and capitalise. Out to a two-goal lead early thanks to the hot hand of Kiera Austin and Harten the NSW Swifts answered the call through Maddy Turner. The goal defence starred in the opening couple of minutes of the term with her ability to track the ball and rack up the intercepts to stop the GIANTS in their tracks. Taking a few minutes to settle into the new attacking combination, the work of Paige Hadley came to the fore as the centre delivered bullet passes into the circle.
The back and forth nature of the game continued as the Swifts and GIANTS failed to be separated sitting at 11 goals apiece before a timeout was called by the Swifts. Entering the super shot period Austin showed her class, nailing back to back super shots to extend the GIANTS’ lead to four goals. the goal attack was finding plenty of space while up the other end Sam Wallace starred for the Swifts highlighting her ability to score from range and keep her side within striking distance. It was turning into a super shot shootout as both sides looked to find an edge but in the end it was the GIANTS that drew first blood.
The second quarter started a bit scrappy with ball ebbing and flowing down the court before the Swifts landed the first blow to eat into the two-goal margin. Quick ball movement seemed to be the way to go for both sides while the Swifts made a couple of changes in hope to upset the GIANTS. Lauren Moore made her way onto the court in wing defence while Maddy Proud pulled on the centre bib. The connections across court seemed more settled as the Swifts weaved their way down the court and stole back the lead albeit momentarily.
The goal keepers started to come into the game as Sam Poolman took an intercept before Sarah Klau answered the call with an intercept of her own. The Swifts continued to tinker with their frontend as Tayla Fraser entered the game thanks to the pressure and antagonising style of Amy Parmenter. The physicality continued to ramp up throughout the quarter as Austin flew into the post and Moore hit the deck a couple of times. While the Swifts switched up their attacking unit the GIANTS brought on the experienced April Brandley in goal keeper. Much like the first quarter the final five minutes were dictated by the super shot as Austin and Sophie Garbin plied their trade for their respective sides. In the end it was shot on the buzzer from Harten that gave the GIANTS a handy two goal buffer.
A hot start to the third term saw the Swifts nail the first four goals of the quarter and establish a two-goal lead. defensively things started to really kick into gear while their transition through the midcourt enabled the Swifts to put the foot down and keep the scoreboard cogs ticking over. The GIANTS simply had no answers for the Swifts who had a real pep in their step with a seven goal to one start to the term, prompting a timeout. Turner and Sophie Craig worked on overdrive through the centre third with the former creating a wealth of tips and deflections. Down by as many as eight goals the GIANTS rallied in attack to cut the deficit to five but the continuous pressure stemming from the Swifts defence stifled the attacking notion of the Swifts.
Exploited in defence, Poolman re-entered the game in goal keeper while Matilda McDonell came on at goal defence. But that did not seem to stop the Swifts who had their tails well and truly up thanks to their blistering speed and increased confidence to release the ball. Inaccuracy plagued the GIANTS shooting end while the likes of Turner and Klau gobbled up anything that fell short. Wallace made it look easy up the other end as the goal shooter delivered time and time again on the super shot as the Swifts held onto an eight-goal lead heading into the final change.
The shooter to shooter interplay between Wallace and Garbin was working wonders while Proud and Hadley seemed to have the ball on a string finding both shooters with great ease as they continued to stretch their opponents. The GIANTS midcourt on the other hand laboured as Jamie-Lee Price and Maddie Hay struggled to have their usual impact. Parmenter continued to toil away winning ball back thanks to her speed off the mark but the Swifts’ composure kept them ahead of the game. Four consecutive super shots from Harten sparked the GIANTS across the court as they got within two goals. an offensive contact against Wallace gifted the GIANTS possession as they went forward and nailed another super shot to draw level. With the clock ticking down Garbin sunk a super shot of her own but Harten once again flexed her muscles to convert and secure a draw.
With no Housby for the Swifts, it was Wallace that took the reins under the post nailing a whopping 50 goals with six of them super shots. New Diamonds member, Garbin also impressed sinking 18 goals from 21 attempts while the efforts of Proud and Hadley did not go unnoticed as they amassed 10 and 16 goal assists respectively. Harten and Austin once again combined to be a formidable force from range with 17 super shots between them, 10 of them off the hand of Harten. Parmenter was the livewire for the GIANTS and took home player of the match honours thanks to her three intercepts and eight deflections while Klau and Turner combined for 14 gains, six of them intercepts.
NSW Swifts 22 | 17 | 23 | 15 (77)
GIANTS Netball 24 | 17 | 13 | 23 (77)
GS: Sam Wallace
GA: Sophie Garbin
WA: Natalie Haythornthwaite
C: Paige Hadley
WD: Sophie Craig
GD: Maddy Turner
GK: Sarah Klau
GS: Jo Harten
GA: Kiera Austin
WA: Maddie Hay
C: Jamie-Lee Price
WD: Amy Parmenter
GD: Kristiana Manu’a
GK: Sam Poolman