Swifts clinch nail-biting win to book a grand final date

NSW Swifts secured the first spot in the 2021 Suncorp Super Netball grand final with a narrow one goal win over the GIANTS (62-61). It was a heart-in-mouth finish with both sides fighting tooth and nail to get the chocolates with the Swifts in the end doing enough to just hold on.

It was an even start to the game with both sides trading blows before a Sam Poolman intercept gifted the GIANTS the upper hand. But that was only short lived as a missed shot from Sophie Dwyer handed possession back to the Swifts with Sam Wallace stepping up to the plate and delivering. The intensity was up for both sides as they jostled for prime position around circle edge. The Swifts managed to swing momentum their way opening up a two goal lead but once again the GIANTS fought their way back into the contest. A couple of scrappy minutes ensued with possession changing hands rapidly as Sara Klau and Jamie-Lee Price showcased their aerial dominance to get hands to ball.

With the super shot in play it was Helen Housby that asserted her dominance nailing a handy two-point goal to give the Swifts the upper hand. They controlled possession for majority of the term with their clever drives across the court and smarts to pass the ball into space. A timeout with less than two minutes on the clock looked to stem the bleeding for the GIANTS but that was not the case as the Swifts put the foot down. Housby and Wallace combined to let loose from two-point range as their narrow lead extended to eight goals at quarter time.

The GIANTS started off with a bang as Dwyer landed the first goal of the game while April Brandley and Poolman combined to create a turnover in defence in which the GIANTS capitalised. Things started to tick over for the GIANTS with Jo Harten getting more involved in the game reducing the deficit from eight goals to six in the opening minutes. But that hard work was undone as Wallace threw herself into the action to win ball back. The Swifts were clinical off the centre pass, only needing a couple of passes to get to goal while the GIANTS had to work in overdrive to find space in attack. Tayla Fraser was making life incredibly hard for Maddie Hay in attack shutting down the space before Lauren Moore made her way onto the court and picked up where Fraser left off.

The combination of Paige Hadley and Maddy Proud was in full swing for the Swifts as they used their speed and precise ball placement to negate the influence of the GIANTS defence. Even with the super shot in play the GIANTS were unable to eat into the margin missing consecutive shots. But all of a sudden a flick switched for the GIANTS as Harten upped the ante with some fancy ball skills. Her lift brought Dwyer even further into the game as the GIANTS made a six goal run to end the term on a high.

Brandley brought the GIANTS to life with a nice deflection while the injection of Matilda McDonell also paid dividends as the pair combined to confuse the space. Maddy Turner impressed with her constant hustle and pressure on Dwyer as the GIANTS came out with a real pep in their step. Hay showcased her defensive nous to pick up a huge intercept as the cogs started to finally tick over with the GIANTS getting back within two goals, forcing the Swifts to call their first timeout of the game. The Swifts tinkered with their line-up as Sophie Garbin entered the fray in goal attack replacing Housby in hope to shake things up. but it was to little avail.

Only two goals separated the two sides for majority of the term before Wallace made her presence felt with a much needed super shot. It turned into a shoot out with both sides not afraid to back themselves from range. Harten levelled the scores before Wallace answered  the call as the momentum swung back and forth once more. Amy Parmenter stole the show with a huge deflection before Harten landed a huge blow to steal the lead for the GIANTS. But a handy goal from Garbin in the dying seconds of the third gifted the Swifts a narrow lead heading into the final term.

It was goal for goal to start the term with both sides showcasing their willingness and desire to control proceedings. The GIANTS looked cautious in attack while the Swifts were more than happy to release the ball from distance inside the attacking third. McDonell was trying everything in defence to win ball back for the GIANTS but Wallace was proving unstoppable under the post. Nat Haythornthwaite made her way onto the court for the Swifts as things continued to tick along in attack extending their lead out to four goals. A McDonell inspired defensive win went astray as Harten missed a much needed super shot but Dwyer did not make the same mistake reducing the margin to just two goals. Brandley sent GIANTS fans into overdrive with a huge intercept while Harten levelled the scores once more with just under two minutes left to play. A huge clash between McDonell and Proud sent the centre to the bench but in the end it was the Swifts that claimed the victory.

Harten picked up where she left off nailing 35 goals from 40 attempts. Partner in crime, Dwyer was also in good knick managing 18 goals including super five shots. Hay was electric around circle edge with her 17 goal assists while Price amassed 17 goal assists and one intercept. For the Swifts, Wallace upped the ante under the post with her 45 goals at 94 per cent as Housby slotted 11 goals from 13 goal attempts. Proud led the charge through the midcourt with her 16 goal assists while down in defence Klau and Turner combined for nine gains.

GIANTS 12 | 16 | 20 | 13 (61)
SWIFTS 20 | 14 | 15 | 13 (62)



GS: Jo Harten
GA: Sophie Dwyer
WA: Maddie Hay
C: Jamie-Lee Price
WD: Amy Parmenter
GD: April Brandley
GK: Sam Poolman


GS: Sam Wallace
GA: Helen Housby
WA: Paige Hadley
C: Maddy Proud
WD: Tayla Fraser
GD: Maddy Turner
GK: Sarah Klau

Photo credit: SSN

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