Its time for the Giants Mid-Season Review. The Giants enter the bye sitting at the top of the Super Netball table. With five wins, and three losses, there is plenty of good news for the Giants at the mid-season break.
After starting the season with four consecutive victories, a trip to Perth left the Giants unstuck, kicking off a three-game losing streak. The Giants got back on track before the bye with a resounding victory over the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Sophie Dwyer. Caitlin Bassett was not re-signed last season, paving the way for Keira Austin. The plan appeared to be that Austin would play Goal Attack and Dwyer would come off the bench. Instead, Austin tore her ACL in Round 1 against the Thunderbirds, and suddenly, Dwyer was starting in Goal Attack, and playing 60 minutes.
Dwyer has 186 goals to her name, shooting at over 75 per cent accuracy. She’s also been key to the Giants leading the league in Super Shots, with 21 to her name, shooting at better than 50 per cent. She is fourth in the league, with teammate Jo Harten leading the league (33 makes from 69 attempts).
What hasn’t worked?
Stopping the skid. Once the Giants lost in Perth, they struggled to regain their form. Consecutive losses against the Swifts and the Lightning followed the Fever loss, and Julie Fitzgerald certainly was happy to show her frustration.
The Giants have averaged almost 21 turnovers a game, and have often struggled to bring the ball through the midcourt. Fitzgerald has raised it multiple times through the losing streak, and will no doubt focus on that through the back half of the season.
The victory over the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Round 8. After a three-game losing streak, the Giants cruised to a 16 goal victory. Dwyer and Harten worked well in concert, as they stretched Shamera Sterling and the thunderbirds defence to the limit.
At the other end of the Court, April Brandley had a superb game, with eight gains, as the Giants dominated the Thunderbirds attack. The victory was made all the sweeter by Matisse Letherbarrow making an appearance and shooting well, while Austin watched on from the bench.
That fateful trip to Perth in Round 5. At the last minute, the Giants’ trip to Perth was moved up in an attempt to avoid border closures. While they were in the air, COVID restrictions changed and the Giants were forced into isolation.
Brandley, who had flown with 15-month-old son Clay, returned home, citing the impracticalities of hotel isolation with a toddler. Brandley’s loss was keenly felt, as the Giants fell short by one goal.
The loss was made compounded by Harten’s miss after the final buzzer, and vile online abuse that she received afterwards. Harten was clearly affected the following week, despite the Giants rallying around her, although appears to have regained her confidence.
More Netball News
The Giants have had a strong start to the season (evidenced by their top of the ladder spot). Fitzgerald would no doubt like them to take better care of the ball and ensure that both turnovers and centre passes are converted into goals.
If they can resolve that, they play a brand of netball that can beat anybody, and they are every chance of returning to the finals. After two years out of the finals, this Giants group appears to have found the chemistry. The start to their season bodes well, as they look for their maiden Super Netball Championship.
Second. The Giants are one of the best sides in the competition, but they have dropped three games. They have a tough finish, as they still have to play the Lightning away, and the Fever again. Both teams previously beat them, and the undefeated Fever will be hard to stop.