The NSW Swifts remain on top of the Suncorp Super Netball ladder after defeating the West Coast Fever in Perth in Round 10.
The NSW Swifts have shaken off their post-World Cup fatigue with a gritty 53-49 win against the West Coast Fever – the franchise’s maiden win in Perth.
The Swifts had to do it the hard way, trailing early in the game and withstanding multiple Fever surges late in the contest to secure their eighth win of the season and cement their spot on top of the ladder.
Five Swifts players had yet to return to Sydney after finishing the World Cup, instead flying directly to Perth to take on the Fever in what was a do-or-die game for the home side.
And the Fever, who had only two players travel to Liverpool, looked the fresher and livelier of the two outfits early, jumping to a 16-13 lead at quarter-time.
There were selection surprises from both sides, with Alice Teague-Neald getting the nod at goal attack for the Fever, while Swifts training partner Tayla Fraser started at wing attack in her Super Netball debut.
Teague-Neeld will again be a major discussion point in the aftermath, after scoring six goals from 12 attempts and being penalised with an incredible five held balls throughout the game – all whistled while she was in the act of shooting.
It took the Swifts until the second quarter to stem the flow of goals into Fever shooter Jhaniele Fowler (43 goals from 49 attempts), keeping the home side to 10 goals for the term. At the other end the Swifts scored the first four of the quarter to take the lead, eventually netting 15 as Nissan MVP Helen Housby (22/28) fired up with nine goals to help establish a two-goal lead - 28-26 - at the long break.
The Swifts controlled much of the third quarter and led by as many as four late in term, before a Fever run in the dying minutes saw them close within two again, trailing 36-38 at the final change.
NSW turned to Sophie Garbin (7/8) at goal shooter in the final term, with Sam Wallace (24/29) battling gamely but struggling to have her usual impact while being marked by a determined Courtney Bruce.
Teague-Neeld’s fourth held ball penalty allowed the Swifts to skip out to a three-goal lead, and when Fowler made an uncharacteristic close-range miss midway through the quarter the margin was four.
From there the Swifts were never headed, with the deficit creeping out to seven before Fowler netted the final three goals of the game, but it was too little too late.
The Swifts’ win also saw the Super Netball debut of former Silver Fern Kayla Cullen, who entered the game late in the second quarter and finished with one defensive gain and nine Nissan Net Points from her 22 minutes on court.
Score breakdown Q1: Fever 16 v Swifts 13 Q2: Fever 10 v Swifts 15 Q3: Fever 12 v Swifts 12 Q4: Fever 11 v Swifts 13