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NSW SWIFTS (61) DEFEAT SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING (54)

The NSW Swifts have powered home in the second half to defeat the Sunshine Coast Lightning 61-54 in their highly-anticipated showdown on Wednesday evening.Ten days after suffering a seven-goal loss in their first meeting since the 2019 grand final, the defending champions turned the tables on the Lightning to earn their sixth win of the season.

With captain Maddy Proud (35 feeds, 18 goal assists) playing her best game since returning from a serious knee injury, the Swifts recovered from a rough second quarter to outscore the Lightning 32-22 in the second half at Nissan Arena in Brisbane.

Proud was excited by the Swifts’ performance as they bounced back from the round four defeat to win their third match on the trot.

“It feels like we played (the Lightning) a couple of days ago now,” Proud said after the match. We really redeemed ourselves and it felt like we are really starting to find some form and, obviously, myself as well, I feel like I’m back on track now.”

The two sides could not be split after a high-quality opening term but the momentum appeared to swing toward the Lightning in the second quarter.

Their defensive game came to the fore, the stat count for gains (7-1) and intercepts (6-0) demonstrating their dominance.
The reward for their efforts was a five-goal advantage approaching halftime but, after starting the match on interchange, last year’s grand final MVP Sam Wallace intervened for the Swifts with a Suncorp Super Shot on the siren to leave the Lightning leading 32-29.

The contest turned in the third quarter, Sarah Klau snaring the Swifts’ first intercept for the match as they rode a 9-5 start to regain the lead, taking a 44-43 advantage into the final quarter.

They leaned on their attacking duo Wallace and Helen Housby in the fourth period and the stars delivered, closing out the game with only one missed shot in a 17-11 finish.

Fresh off announcing her retirement from international netball, New Zealand veteran Laura Langman produced another solid four-quarter performance for the Lightning, showing the endurance and leadership that typified her 163-Test career with the Silver Ferns.

The Swifts now prepare for a top-of-the-table clash with the Melbourne Vixens on Saturday while the Lightning will need to contain in-form goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler and the West Coast Fever on Sunday.

Score breakdown
Q1: Swifts 16 v Lightning 16
Q2: Swifts 13 v Lightning 16
Q3: Swifts 15 v Lightning 11
Q4: Swifts 17 v Lightning 11

Nissan Player of The Match – Maddy Proud (NSW Swifts)

Swifts shooting statistics
Helen Housby: Total points – 25 G1 23/24 (96%) G2 1/3 (33%)
Sophie Garbin: Total points – 11 G1 11/15 (73%) G2 0/0 (0%)
Sam Wallace: Total points – 25 G1 23/23 (100%) G2 1/3 (33%)

Lightning shooting statistics
Cara Koenen: Total points – 28 G1 28/30 (93%) G2 0/0
Steph Wood: Total points – 12 G1 10/16 (63%) G2 1/3 (33%)
Peace Proscovia: Total points – 14 G1 14/17 (82%) G2 0/0

Swifts starting seven: GS – Helen Housby GA – Sophie Garbin WA – Natalie Haythornthwaite C – Maddy Proud WD – Paige Hadley GD – Lauren Moore GK – Sarah Klau

Lightning starting seven: GS – Cara Koenen GA – Steph Wood WA – Laura Scherian C – Laura Langman WD – Jacqui Russell GD – Karla Pretorius GK – Phumza Maweni