As the Super Netball enters the bye round, it’s time for the NSW Swifts mid-season review
In 2020 the NSW Swifts were knocked out of the semi-finals by the West Coast Fever, after finishing in fourth in the regular season. The aim for 2021 was improvement across the board.
Returning to Ken Rosewall Arena and home crowds, the Swifts have taken advantage with wins in all four home matches.
The Defensive Circle. Maddy Turner and Sarah Klau have led the best defence in the competition in 2021. Klau and Turner have dominated most attacks, and have taken their partnership to a new level this year.
They’ve conceded fewer goals per game than every other team in Super Netball. Klau and Turner’s work grabbing intercepts and disrupting feeds has been critical to that.
Klau in particular has shown the form that has her in strong contention to cement a spot in the Diamonds. Her season highlight was her MVP performance in the win over Collingwood in Round 5.
Starting Seven. The Swifts have not started the same seven players in the same seven positions in consecutive matches yet this season.
Briony Akle has rung the changes each week, testing out different combinations. Most weeks, nine or ten members of the squad are seeing court time.
It’s possible that this constant ringing of changes is a sign that the Swifts have not decided their best lineup. Akle may be just testing her players’ versatility and trusting the chemistry to build organically.
Winning over the Giants in Round 6. Akle talked about how important the match up with the Giants is, as the hometown Derby.
It was the first time that the Giants and Swifts had faced off in Ken Rosewall Arena, and a record crowd for netball in Sydney filled out the stadium.
The Swifts dominated, winning every quarter and dominating in the final quarter to win by 12 goals. The win was made sweeter by Sam Wallace shooting at 100 per cent accuracy, scoring 58 goals for the afternoon.
Losing to the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Round 7. After the highs of Round 6, the Swifts were comprehensively beaten by the Thunderbirds, losing all four quarters.
The Swifts struggled to get anything going, and couldn’t find a way to bring the ball up the Court.
The attacking third was picked apart by the Thunderbirds defence, with Sam Wallace struggling. Akle sat Wallace for most of the second half, throwing Helen Housby back to GS and tested out a new combination.
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The Swifts will be looking to build consistency and form. With all 10 members of the squad getting court time, they will be hoping to build on their strong start to the season, and finish in the top four for finals.
With such strong results for the last few years and continuity within the squad, the Swifts will be hoping to finish just as strong and return to finals in 2021.
Third. After dropping a couple of games in the first half of the year, the Swifts may struggle to finish top of the ladder.
If the Swifts play to their potential, they will finish in the finals. With their experience, it will be a matchup that nobody wants.
They return to action in Round 8 against the Firebirds.
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