NSW Swifts remain undefeated after three rounds AND Layla Returns
The defending champions flexed their muscles early in Wednesday night’s clash at USC Stadium, cruising to victory to celebrate vice-captain Paige Hadley’s 100th national league match in style.
The Thunderbirds were aiming to back-up from Saturday’s first win against the GIANTS but the Swifts dominated possession in the first half, a 17-goal advantage nearing halftime putting to rest any concerns about their slow starts so far this season. Adelaide showed plenty of fight in the third period, co-captain Chelsea Pitman leading the charge from wing attack to see the Swifts lead cut to eight with two minutes left in the quarter.
But a pair of Suncorp Super Shots during the rebel Power 5 from Helen Housby steadied the Swifts and the reigning champs went on to finish the job with a 19-16 final quarter. The result sets up a mouth-watering clash on Sunday with the Swifts taking on the Sunshine Coast Lightning in their first meeting since the 2019 grand final.
Midcourter Hadley starred with 20 feeds, 11 goal assists and one intercept, the 27-year-old admitting to some challenging moments with her milestone game played away from family and friends in the Queensland hub.
“I really had a lot of emotion when I saw my family and all the good luck messages, I think it hadn’t hit me that I was away from them until that moment,” Hadley said. “I would have loved to have them there but my second family in the (Swifts) red got around me and just made the day really special.”
There were positives for the Thunderbirds with key players Sasha Glasgow and Layla Guscoth making successful returns from serious injury.
Glasgow (6/8 Suncorp Super Shots) showed some nice touch from two-point range in her comeback from an ACL tear.
Guscoth’s return from an achilles injury suffered at last year’s Netball World Cup will further boost an already impressive defensive unit alongside Shamera Sterling and Kate Shimmin. But the Thunderbirds face another tough test on Sunday when they take on Melbourne Vixens.
Q1: Swifts 18 v Thunderbirds 10
Q2: Swifts 17 v Thunderbirds 13
Q3: Swifts 12 v Thunderbirds 12
Q4: Swifts 19 v Thunderbirds 16
Nissan Player of The Match – Paige Hadley (NSW Swifts)
Swifts shooting statistics
Sophie Garbin: Total points – 10 G1 – 10/13 (76%)
Helen Housby: Total points – 21 G1 – 16/20 (80%) G2 – 05/07 (71%)
Kelly Singleton: Total points – 1 GA – 01/02 (50%)
Sam Wallace: Total points – 27 G1 – 25/26 (96%) G2 – 02/04 (50%)
Thunderbirds shooting statistics
Sasha Glasgow: Total points – 16 G1 – 09/11 (81%) G2 07/10 (70%)
Sam Gooden: Total points – 3 G1 03/04 (75%) G2 00/02
Georgie Horjus: Total points – 7 G1 – 07/08 (87%) G2 00/01
Lenize Potgieter: Total points – 18 – 18/19 (94%)
Swifts starting seven: GS – Sam Wallace GA – Helen Housby WA – Nat Haythornthwaite C – Paige Hadley WD – Sophie Craig GD – Lauren Moore GK – Sarah Klau
Fever starting seven: GS – Lenize Potgieter GA – Georgie Horjus WA – Chelsea Pitman C – Maisie Nankivell WD – Shadine van der Merwe GD – Kate Shimmin GK – Shamera Sterling