The support and confidence of experienced teammates has helped Sophie Dwyer thrive this season, which will end with the Giants taking on rivals the NSW Swifts in the Super Netball grand final on Saturday.
Dwyer, an elevated training partner in 2020, was a part of the Giants’ Queensland hub squad, and made her debut in the league during the opening game of the season.
She impressed throughout and signed her first Super Netball contract ahead of the 2021 season.
Dwyer was set to be utilised as an impact player off the bench to change up the goal circle, however, when Kiera Austin went down with an ACL injury, Dwyer was thrust into the thick of it.
It has been a season to remember as she became a key player in the Giants’ line-up, which will contest for its first Super Netball title on Saturday.
“Not many people could say that their first season they made a grand final, so I think that’s something that’s really special and I will always remember this season,” Dwyer told media on Thursday.
A favourite for the league’s Rising Star award, Dwyer has been well supported in a youthful Giants team by experienced captain Jo Harten.
Dwyer speaks highly of Harten and the role she has played out on court this season.
“It really is testament to the girls around me, having someone like Jo Harten backing me in the shooting circle is so special and I think I can’t give enough credit to how much she’s helped me fit into this team,” Dwyer said.
“I think no one really realises how much she has helped me, unless you are on the court.
“I’m getting directions 60 minutes, pretty much.”
The trust of Harten, and other teammates and coaches, has been critical to Dwyer developing confidence in her game.
That confidence has only grown throughout the regular season, highlighted by her ability to switch bibs with Harten and adapt quickly, as well as her confidence with the supershot.
From 85 Super Shot attempts, Dwyer made 49 throughout the regular season. In its second year, the Giants showed how the rule can work in the Power Five when it is embraced.
READ MORE: SSN Grand Final News
Not only does Dwyer have Harten out on court, but Diamonds’ goal attack Austin on the sidelines.
When the team flew out of Sydney in June it might not have had additional training partners who could cover injuries, but Austin, as a key member of the squad, was on the plane.
While Austin has taken her rehab journey on a tour of Australia, she has also been a mentor for the team, in particular Dwyer.
Austin has supported the young 19-year-old through her first full season at the Giants with feedback from the bench throughout games and at training.
“Kiera’s helped me so much, she’s pretty much turned into my personal mentor and I don’t think many people could say they have an Aussie Diamond as their mentor,” Dwyer laughed.
“Her feedback on the bench has been so beneficial for me. She’s definitely played a really important part in my development this season.”
While Saturday’s grand final is the biggest stage Dwyer has played on, she says this weeks preparation has been no different to any other game.
“We know that intensity is going to be higher and all the things that come with a grand final, but I think for us it’s really is just about having confidence from last week.”
Sophie Dwyer will be a key player when the Giants take on the NSW Swifts in a Sydney Derby Super Netball grand final on Saturday.
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