The Giants will be looking for redemption in their first meeting with the Melbourne Vixens since the devastating one-point loss in season’s preliminary final.
Sophie Dwyer spoke to media ahead of their game against the Melbourne Vixens at John Cain Arena, and was optimistic about Sunday afternoon.
“Yeah, we’re super excited. Julie did speak about [the preliminary final] at training the other day. Ever since that prelim final loss, we wanted to play it in the next day if we could. So it’s definitely been a long time,” Dwyer said.
“We’ve been preparing really well.”
The Giants, who currently are sitting seventh on the leaderboard, will be aiming for success this weekend after losses against the Lightning and most recently, the West Coast Fever. A win against the Vixens will put themselves on the board with their first win of the season.
“I think we’ve been itching to get back at the Vixens and have another go at them,” Dwyer explained.
You know, we really want to assert our authority early in the match and hopefully we can do this this weekend. Obviously, both our starts haven’t been amazing, so we’re definitely gonna try and push an early lead out to try and put pressure on them.
“We know that [the Vixens] are a very classy side and they’re very disciplined in the way they play, so it’s going to be hard to turn over the ball.”
Dwyer was among the standouts of the match, with 29 goals (including eight super shots) and two deflections.
As too were Maddy Hay (18 goal assists, two intercepts) and Jo Harten (29 goals, seven super shots), both of whom made their return back into the squad against Fever.
Despite the unfortunate results, Dwyer spoke highly about the Giants’ potential shown particularly in last week’s match-up against the Fever.
“I think it was just about our own execution. Fever are a real classy side and they’re going to capitalise on any turnovers that we do give to them. So, I think for us it’s just about treasuring the ball when it is in our possession and really working to win the first ten minutes of each quarter,” she said.
“We know that we have a lot of fire power in that last five minutes of each quarter and we want to not only use that to our advantage but not have to rely on that.
“Obviously, [it was a] pleasing last quarter for us against the Fever so we’re taking a lot of that momentum with us in this next game. But yeah, we can’t wait to take it out against the Vixens and hopefully get one better than the prelim final last year.”
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Across the past two games, the Giants are averaging a shooting accuracy of 83 per cent. Dwyer expressed that this an area of which is something the team will be looking to improve on in the coming weeks.
“Obviously we want to be shooting over 90 percent. That’s the standard that we set for ourselves and that’s what we need to shooting if we want to be competing with those top teams in the league,” Dwyer said.
“I think for us in that first game [against Lightning], we obviously we were down by quite a lot for majority of the game. So we were having to take a lot of risks, and I think we probably didn’t work the ball smartly to post because we were just trying to get a shot up because we had to turn over the next ball. I think it probably wasn’t exactly how we wanted to play and I guess that shooting percentage shows that.
“Then against the Fever, a similar position we were down. I think the shooting was a lot higher in that game. You know, we do want to try and work it to post as much as we can and open up Jo and Matisse [Letherbarrow] as a whole.”
Although she acknowledges that it will be a challenge, Dwyer is confident that the Giants will be ready for what’s to come. She further went on to express that Harten and Hay’s return to the squad will be beneficial for the group progressing into the rest of the season.
“I think [Harten and Hay’s return] made a massive difference for us. I do think Matisse and Amy Silgar slotted in really well. But obviously they don’t have the same experience that Jo and Maddy Hay do have,” Dwyer said.
“They bring a lot of leadership to our attack end and I do think everybody responds really well they’re on court and everybody really lifts around them. So massive part of our team and our attack end and really glad that they’re back and fit.”
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