The NSW Swifts finished the first half of their season with a resounding win over the Queensland Firebirds.
Coach Briony Akle explained there had been some soul searching this week.
“It was about us this week, after our poor performance last week against the Thunderbirds. Our focus this week was being better in attack and defence,” Akle said.
She noticed the difference immediately, and that the lessons imparted last week had stuck.
“The intensity was a lot better, from our warmup, I knew we were on today,” Akle explained.
“For us, it’s about staying in the game for 60 minutes, and that’s winning every moment, winning the small wins.”
The Swifts started strongly, particularly Sam Wallace, who had a poor outing last week.
Wallace started with a mix of showing movement that was lacking last week, and her athleticism and strength on feeds under the post.
“Getting the ball in Sam’s hands is always a good thing, and they’ve got a great defensive end. we had to separate those two [Thunderbirds defenders Tara Hinchcliffe and Kim Jenner] and that was one way to do it,” Akle explained.
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Both Akle and Maddy Proud lauded the defensive effort of the Swifts.
“We knew that going into today, that we might not get the gains early, but putting the Firebirds under pressure from the start meant that by the end, we were able to capitalise,” Proud said.
Akle noted that it didn’t show up on the stat sheet.
“I thought the Firebirds threw the ball straight out, and that’s [Sarah Klau’s] defence early. She might not have got gains on paper, but that play is what’s important.
Proud talked about the Swifts navigating the Firebirds zone defence, by moving the ball clinically.
“A lot of teams seem to switch between the hard one-on-one and the zone defence. Against us in the last, that’s worked, but we’ve gone back to that at training and made sure we can attack any kind of defence,” Proud said.
Today the Swifts did that, a four goal burst before halftime gave them a lead they never looked like relinquishing.
The Swifts are now top of the table, pending the Giants result tomorrow, and will enjoy a week off before hosting the Fever after the bye.
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