SSN R2: Swifts Vs Vixens
Vixens hold on against Swifts comeback.
A fearless Suncorp Super Netball debut from teenager Sophie Fawns could not save the NSW Swifts from defeat, going down 53-48 to the Melbourne Vixens at Ken Rosewall Arena.
An understrength home side were brave in the Sargeant-McKinnis Cup clash, winning the second half against a competition heavyweight before falling short in their determined fightback.
It took a rebound in the dying seconds from defender Olivia Lewis to steady the Vixens in the face of an emotional Swifts surge.
Emily Mannix’s five first-half intercepts were significant in the Vixens taking charge of the game.
Mwai Kumwenda shot 41 goals for the Vixens but it was captain Liz Watson’s 35 feeds – 30 with an attempt on goal – that made the difference as they posted consecutive wins to start the season.
“They’re such a quality team and playing on a bit of emotion as well. I’m glad we hung on but there’s lots to work on,” Watson said.
It has been a decade since the Swifts lost their opening two games in a season but they should be proud of their fighting loss.
Captain Maddy Proud was outstanding with 39 feeds in a gripping midcourt battle with the Vixens’ Diamonds duo Watson and Kate Moloney.
And it was a memorable maiden performance from Wagga Wagga product Fawns (15 goals from 18 attempts) who was only added to the team last week.
It was the Swifts’ first outing without their injured two-time premiership winning goal shooter Sam Wallace.
Complicating matters was the unavailability of midcourter Paige Hadley due to COVID-19 protocols and there were some worrying signs early the Swifts were out of their depth.
The ruthless Vixens gave the defending champions nothing, yet there was still some admirable fight shown by the home side.
Swifts coach Briony Akle turned to her bench in the second quarter and up stepped 18-year-old debutante Fawns who confidently sank her first two shots.
Fawns’ energy was still no match for the ferocity of the Vixens who enjoyed a whopping 13-4 advantage in gains at half time.
Eight of those gains came from Mannix who was commanding after a forgettable round one performance against the Queensland Firebirds.