• Stephanie Smarrelli

Swifts outclass Thunderbirds


Image: Super Netball

THE New South Wales (NSW) Swifts were too good for the Adelaide Thunderbirds over the weekend with the Swifts controlling the game and ball from start to finish claiming an 18-goal victory.

Sam Wallace was deadly in attack shooting at 100% accuracy throughout the match and scoring her 1000th goal Super Netball. She was dominant under the post and used her casual, laid back style to win the ball time and time again. Sophie Garbin also nailed every shot she took on court during the fourth quarter after replacing Wallace and Helen Housby finished on 86% with only four misses for the game credit to her ability to turn and shoot. Housby did an immense amount of work across the court, resulting in her being rewarded with Player of the Match on 105 Nissan NetPoints.

The two sides spent much of the first quarter trading goal-for-goal before the Swifts broke away with six minutes remaining in the quarter to establish a three-goal lead. The Thunderbirds struggled in defence, a stark difference to last week, with the Swifts treasuring the ball to avoid any passes that could give Shamera Sterling or Layla Guscoth the opportunity to intercept.

The Swifts intensified during the second quarter, with a 21-goal quarter. Paige Hadley and Maddy Proud tore up the mid-court for the Swifts, running rings around their opponents with their hard drives and clever leads into space. Proud found herself in wing attack for the match while Hadley relished the extra space in at centre with her attacking and defensive work superb giving Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner plenty of time to turn over the ball.

Midway through the second quarter, the Thunderbirds shook up their line-up as their connections failed to fire. The only player to keep her bib was Chelsea Pitman, while Maria Folau moved from goal attack to goal shooter bringing Cody Lange on for the first time this season in her new colours. Lange’s inclusion at goal attack forced Sasha Glasgow to the bench, Kelly Altmann who was tiring against Hadley also joined the bench with Hannah Pettytaking her place. In defence, Beth Cobden joined the bench allowing Guscoth to move into wing defence, Sterling to goal defence and Kate Shimmin onto the court in goal keeper. The changes brought a spark of energy to the Thunderbirds. Petty was good making an immediate impact as was Shimmin who was quickly out hunting for the ball in her defensive third. Despite the shuffle, the Swifts remained composed forcing the Thunderbirds to run into each other and crowd the court. The Swifts did the basics right to power home to the half-time break with a 14-goal lead.

Down by a fair bit, the Thunderbirds reshuffled once again for the third quarter as coach Tania Obst struggled to find a combination that could dampen the Swifts. However, the third quarter was the Thunderbirds’ best, both Folau and Glasgow were strong in the goal circle, with well-placed feeds from Petty and Altmann helping to settle the side. It was also the Thunderbirds best quarter in terms of general play turnovers with only six compared to the Swifts’ eight. Impressive work across the court kept the Swifts ahead of the Thunderbirds in the chase for the third bonus point as they took it by one goal, while, their prolific second quarter kept them 15 goals ahead.

The Swifts put the finishing touches on their strong four-quarter performance by keeping most of the starting line-up on court. Wallace took to the bench in the fourth quarter giving Garbin her moment on court and Lauren Moore also came on for Kate Eddy. Both players had an impact with Garbin solid in attack and Moore tight on Petty, stealing an intercept and a gain.

With the Swifts now two from two, it is clear that the Swifts should not be underestimated this season, while the Thunderbirds will be needing to fix their connections so they can challenge the Melbourne Vixens in their upcoming round 3 clash.

STARTING LINE-UPS:

NSW Swifts:

GS | Sam Wallace GA | Helen Housby WA | Maddy Proud C | Paige Hadley WD | Kate Eddy GD | Maddy Turner GK | Sarah Klau

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

GS | Sasha Glasgow GA | Maria Folau WA | Chelsea Pitman C | Kelly Altmann WD | Beth Cobden GD | Layla Guscoth GK | Shamera Sterling

Originally published for Netball Draft Central

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