Swifts reign ends after Thunderstruck performance

ADELAIDE Thunderbirds broke NSW Swifts hearts by snapping a nine-game winning streak and declared a rematch for next week in the major semi-final with the 60-57 win. Last time these two powerhouses met was the almighty controversial draw in Round 2 which set the Australian netball scene by storm. 

The Swifts already secured top position last week and the minor premiership, so the pressure was on the Thunderbirds to perform and put their name into second position contention. They needed to win to get two points ahead of the West Coast Fever who the Thunderbirds hoped would fall short of the Collingwood Magpies following this. The Thunderbirds currently sit in second and are now waiting on the result of the next game.

Changes were plentiful during the first term with the Thunderbirds changing five out of the seven players on court preparing for the power five. That paid off with Adelaide coming alight and causing Helen Housby to be costly in turnovers and in the negatives for NNPs, who has had a lot of 100-plus games this whole season.

The defensive efforts of the Thunderbirds caused the Swifts to cough up 25 turnovers, an incredible high for them as the Swifts average for the season is well below that. 

Two words, Latanya Wilson (101.5 NNPs, 14 deflections, 10 gains, four intercepts). Her ability to shut down any player she was on was outstanding, closing off Paige Hadley completely in their direct contests. Player of the match Wilson’s closing speed and elevation was clinical in winning back plenty of ball for the Thunderbirds where they were able to convert.

The closure of Hadley forced Maddy Proud (92 NNPs, 37 feeds, 22 goal assists) to step up in the midcourt and do the bulk of the feeding. Proud was able to use her footwork to get herself free and hit the circle edge in a prime position with some smart passes into the circle.

Wilson’s partner in crime Shamera Sterling had another stellar game getting three blocks with two being the result of lifts between herself and Wilson.

It was critical that the Thunderbirds would score off their turnovers as their season conversion rate is 64 percent whereas the Swifts sit at 70 percent, just showing that if the Swifts win the ball they were able to score off it seven out of 10 times.

Both sides have the best fourth quarters in the league so it was important to get a handy lead out of the blocks. The Thunderbirds outscored the Swifts slotting in 10 goals to the Swifts five in the first 10 minutes of the second term. Neither side was really able to pull away though with each nipping at each other’s heels.

Sarah Klau tried her hardest to keep her side in the contest with eight deflections, three intercepts and two rebounds, but the opposing threat down the other end was too much for the Swifts to handle resulting in the Thunderbirds coming out three goal victors.

Player of the Match = Latanya Wilson (Adelaide Thunderbirds)

NEW SOUTH WALES SWIFTS          16 | 13 | 13 | 15 (57)
ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS           14 | 18 | 10 | 18 (60)


New South Wales Swifts:

GS: Romelda Aiken-George
GA: Helen Housby
WA: Paige Hadley
C: Maddy Proud
WD: Tayla Fraser
GD: Maddy Turner
GK: Sarah Klau

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

GS: Eleanor Cardwell
GA: Tippah Dwan
WA: Georgie Horjus
C: Hannah Petty
WD: Latanya Wilson
GD: Matilda Garrett
GK: Shamera Sterling

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