In arguably one of the best Suncorp Super Netball games of the round, the New South Wales Swifts snuck home 69-66 over the Queensland Firebirds in a thrilling extra-time battle.
The classic New South Wales versus Queensland rivalry certainly didn’t disappoint with a host of the stars during the clubs’ 2015 and 2016 grand final epics still on show.
The Swifts were able to get out to a fast start but that didn’t stop the new-look Firebirds from making a charge for the win.
The combination of Maddy Proud in centre, Paige Hadley in wing defence and Nat Haythornthwaite in wing attack worked a treat for the Swifts.
With the trio being interchangeable as shown in the back half of the game. The flexibility will hold the Swifts in good stead going forward.
Swifts Coach Briony Akle said post match that the messaging in the final time out was simple, stick to the game plan.
“We talked about extra time just before we went out, it was interesting that I reiterated that there could be extra time and to finish it,” Akle said.
Leading by example was eventual match MVP, Sam Wallace. Wallace was a rock in that goal circle finishing the game on 100 percent accuracy.
Wallace was especially vital when the Firebirds made their charge but nothing seemed to phase Wallace as she kept a steady head throughout the last ten minutes of the game.
According to Coach Akle an extra time scenario was something that the Swifts had practiced during the pre-season.
“To be fair we’ve done a lot of those scenarios and i think it prepared us beautifully. There was no room for panic there was no room to go away from it, there was nothing different.”
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From a Firebirds perspective, it’s not all doom and gloom with a lot of positives coming out of the match. Captain Gabi Simpson was happy with her teams ability to fight their way back.
“That hurt to lose in extra time but the way that we built in that game could be a big blessing in disguise,” Simpson said post-match.
“We’ve got 10 really strong players and each person brings something different when they take the court and i think you felt that today.”
Press Conference Audio from The Goal Circle Podcast