THE New South Wales (NSW) Swifts will hit the court wanting to prove they can be one of the best this season. The Swifts finished sixth last year after a solid season that saw them challenge the top teams and come away with a few unexpected wins.
The 2019 Swifts line-up remains mostly unchanged with their only loss being former captain Abbey McCulloch who has stepped away from elite netball to rest and recover after damaging her knee. Defender Lauren Moore has been elevated into the team following two seasons as a training partner for the Swifts.
Up their attacking end, the Swifts have plenty of talent with Sam Wallace and Sophie Garbin. Helen Housby who scored the winning goal in last year’s Commonwealth Games Gold Medal match will also be important for the team with her ability to stay cool under pressure.
Housby’s England Roses’ teammate Nat Haythornwaite will also be an asset to the Swifts after joining the team towards the end of last season. Haythornwaite is quick in the midcourt but also able to step into the shooting circle if needed. Alongside Haythornwaite the Swifts midcourt is strong with Paige Hadley who only has eyes for the ball. Following an impressive preseason performance Hadley has recently been called back into the Australian Diamonds camp. One of the team’s most exciting players is Maddy Proud. Proud was relentless during the second half of 2018 and has been named as the Swifts new team captain.
Though the Swifts defenders may not have the icon status of some of the other teams, they do the little things well and work seamlessly in the back end and should not be underestimated. Kate Eddy who was good last season is likely to get more court time in wing defence following McCulloch’s departure. The partnership between Sarah Klau, and Maddy Turner is likely to only grow stronger with Turner’s ability to wear an opponent down and Klau’s skill to hunt the ball.
Through keeping their squad mostly the same as last season, the Swifts are backing themselves, their belief in each other and their coach Briony Akle to push them through the tough matches. Expect the Swifts to grow from last year and once again catch some of the other teams off-guard. The challenge will be whether or not the side is able to match it week in week out with the best.
We also previewed some of the teams in detail in the return episode of the Centre Pass Podcast now hosted by Draft Central. Listen to the link below to hear about the NSW Swifts as well as Collingwood Magpies, Adelaide Thunderbirds and Melbourne Vixens: