The NSW Swifts are back on top of the ladder after defeating the Melbourne Vixens 57-goals to 51 at Sydney's Quaycentre on Saturday night.
The NSW Swifts have reclaimed both their spot on top of the ladder and the Sargeant McKinnis Cup after defeating the Melbourne Vixens 57 to 51 at the Quaycentre on Saturday night.
The Sunshine Coast Lightning momentarily jumped the Swifts on the ladder after defeating the GIANTS earlier in the day, but NSW were not going to be denied, dominating the Vixens for much of the game and stamping their claim as the team to beat coming into finals.
The Swifts were on from the opening whistle, outscoring the Vixens five goals to one in the early stages and putting the visitors on their heels immediately.
But, after a timely Simone McKinnis timeout, the Vixens lifted the intensity through some stout Emily Mannix defence and drew to within one goal of the Swifts midway through the quarter.
It was tough going up forward for the Vixens, but the confidence was building when, with her fourth goal of the game, Melbourne goal attack Tegan Philip sunk her 1,000th Suncorp Super Netball.
Neither team looked confident moving the ball around the court and both defensive ends took full advantage of that cautiousness, with an incredible 17-turnovers caused in the opening 15-minutes.
With the scores sitting at 12-goals to ten in favour of the home team to start the second quarter, the game was poised and the capacity crowd at the Quaycentre was bubbling.
The Vixens took the lead in the opening minutes of the quarter thanks to some brilliant feeding work from Liz Watson and Kate Moloney, but the momentum swung almost immediately back to the Swifts as they broke out to a four-goal lead midway through the quarter.
It was hard to believe that, with just five minutes remaining in the quarter, the score between these two normally high-scoring squads was just 21 to 17 in favour of the Swifts.
Both defensive ends were putting on a clinic, particularly both goal keepers in Emily Mannix and Sarah Klau who were creating turnovers and making both attack ends work overtime for their goals.
The Swifts came screaming into the halftime break full of confidence, thanks to some strong work in the circle by eventual Player of the Match Sam Wallace, outscoring the Vixens 16-goals to 11 and taking a seven-goal lead into the third quarter.
And they got to work extending that lead immediately, slicing through the Vixens defence with ease and suffocating their attack end.
It was a calm and calculated third quarter from the girls in red, particularly through the midcourt where the veteran combination of Paige Hadley, Katrina Rore and Natalie Haythornthwaite controlled the speed of the game expertly.
The Vixens fought hard all the way to the final whistle, cutting the Swifts eight goal three-quarter time lead to six at the midway point of the final term, but just couldn’t overcome the clinical NSW side, going down by six.
The Swifts will make the trip down to Launceston to take on the Collingwood Magpies at the Silverdome, while the Vixens will host the high-flying Lightning, who haven’t lost since the last time these two teams met in Round 6.
Q1: Swifts 12 v Vixens 10
Q2: Swifts 16 v Vixens 11
Q3: Swifts 15 v Vixens 14
Q4: Swifts 14 v Vixens 16
Suncorp Super Netball Premiership Points
Swifts – 7
Vixens – 1
Nissan Player of The Match – Sam Wallace (Swifts)
Swifts shooting statistics – 57/67 (85%)
Sam Wallace – 45/49 (92%)
Sophie Garbin – 12/18 (67%)
Vixens shooting statistics – 51/61 (84%)
Caitlin Thwaites – 9/11 (78%)
Tegan Philip – 24/30 (80%)
Mwai Kumwenda – 18/20 (90%)
Swifts starting seven: GS - Sam Wallace, GA - Sophie Garbin, WA - Nat Haythornthwaite, C - Paige Hadley, WD - Katrina Rore, GD - Maddy Turner, GK - Sarah Klau
Vixens starting seven: GS – Caitlin Thwaites, GA – Tegan Philip, WA – Liz Watson, C – Kate Moloney, WD – Renae Ingles, GD – Jo Weston, GK – Emily Mannix
Suncorp Netball League