Maddie Hay in action for Giants

Maddie Hay was Player of the Match as her team took a Giant step forward to finals with a win over the Magpies. (Photo: Giants Netball)

It was a Giant step forward on Sunday at John Cain Arena, as Player of the Match Maddie Hay helped down the Magpies by nine goals.

It was a Giant step forward on Sunday at John Cain Arena, as wing attack Maddie Hay helped down the Magpies by nine goals.

The celebrations of 200 league games for Geva Mentor – a true international netball champion – were spoiled by a team performance from the Giants.

Both teams opened the match with very defensively focused game plans. Sam Poolman and April Brandley were causing problems in the Magpies goal circle from the first centre pass.

The Giants snuck out to a five goal lead by quarter time and maintained it for most of the match.

While Collingwood tried to pull the lead in, the Giants held them at an arm’s length. They put pressure on the Magpies’ transition down the court and prevented most of the long bombs into Shimona Nelson.

Maddie Hay, who has found her home at wing attack for the Giants, was named Player of the Match. She had 18 centre pass receives, 23 goal assists and contributed defensively with two intercepts.

Post match, Hay explained that the team was able to execute what they discussed after last week’s loss to the Queensland Firebirds.

“We talked a lot during the week about what we needed to do to get the win,” Hay said.

“I know myself, J [Jamie Lee Price] really talked with Sophie [Dwyer] and Jo [Harten] about centre passes and what we needed to do to make that percentage go higher and convert off our centre passes. 

“I think we really put out there what we were talking about.”

In the second half, Dwyer and Harten swapped bibs and changed the look of the Giants’ attack. Hay said the extra height helped in the second phase of the centre pass.

“I love playing with Sophie on that line, but it’s also a good change up having Jo out there for her height and obviously she matches up with height really well with Jodi Ann (Ward).

“I looked to her on that second phase just to give her that long ball, knowing that it’s a hard ball to intercept.”

It was a solid performance across the court from the Giants, particularly in their defensive end.

Young gun Tilly McDonell was brought on in the final quarter and matched up well against Collingwood shooter Nelson. She took an intercept and had three deflections in 15 minutes on court.

“Tilly came on and had an absolute blinder,” Hay said, praising her teammate.

“She had a really good training week as well, she’s on that absolute hunt at the moment. The rest of them – Parmy [Amy Parmenter], Apy [April Brandley] and Sam did an incredible job as well.”

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Last week, coach Julie Fitzgerald did not want to use the Q word as an excuse, however, Hay admitted the team lacked energy out of quarantine.

“I think last week, we were just a bit slack coming out of quarantine and coming off the bye,” Hay said.

“We were really excited to show what we’re made of this week and do a lot better and put on a better performance.

“At first it [quarantine] was a bit of a rude shock, but I think we are adapting really well.

“Obviously we’re really thinking about everyone back home and we want to do them proud and they’ve got it a lot tougher than we do now.

“Everyday we see the new cases in Sydney and it kind of feels like we’re going to be here even longer.

“I’m still learning what the good techniques are to get ready for a game while in quarantine, but I guess we’re all adapting and using our psych support.

Some new games may be on the shopping list as the Giants prepare for an extended stay away from home. Hay said she’s spent her quarantine “doing puzzles all the time!”

Round 11 poses another opportunity to take a Giant step forward to finals, as the Giants face Melbourne Vixens. They were scheduled to host the match in Sydney, however, the venue will be changed due to the current COVID outbreak.

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