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NSW Swifts upset odds to claim 2019 Super Netball Premiership

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The NSW Swifts are the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball Premiers after defying the odds to register a thumping 64-47 Grand Final victory over the Sunshine Coast Lightning at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Sunday.

The Swifts dominated from start to finish, causing a huge boilover with most pundits expecting the Lightning to register their third-straight title win in as many years. But it didn’t play out that way with NSW winning every quarter, evening winning the last by a whopping seven, to bring the trophy to Sydney.

For the Swifts it is a sixth Premiership, a first since 2008 and also a first in the Super Netball era. The standouts on the day were MVP goal shooter Sam Wallace and a huge defensive effort which thwarted the reigning Premiers time and time again.

Head coach Briony Akle said she couldn’t be prouder of her troops.

"I know we’ve been saying it all season but we finally stuck to the script and controlled the game throughout," she said.

"Some days you need everyone to have an amazing game at once and that’s what we had.

"The Lightning are an amazing club who we knew would keep coming but today we had an answer. To do that against the team who have been the benchmark for the past two years is something everyone in the team should be very proud of."

A stepping call and a missed shot by Steph Wood gave the Swifts an early advantage in the first quarter which they capitalised on and after five minutes they led 9-4 with the home team calling the first timeout.

The Swifts secured plenty of turnover ball after that with poor Lightning attack forcing the hosts into an early change - Peace Proscovia coming on at goal shooter and Steph Wood going to the bench. The Swifts led 14-8 at one stage but some vital intercepts and tips by Karla Pretorius meant there was only four in it at the first break.

Pretorius was soon in the frontline again and the ball she was winning allowed Cara Koenen and Proscovia to get back the Lightning within one goal. However as the period went on the Swifts’ intensity started to lift and the defensive pressure of Katrina Rore, Maddy Turner and Sarah Klau was telling. NSW, through Wallace and Helen Housby, took full advantage of their chances and going into the halftime break they led by eight - 31-23.

The heat intensified again in the third quarter as the Swifts scored off the Lightning’s first centre pass and continued to press in defence. There was loose ball from both sides but again the Swifts were winning the scrap for it.

The local home crowd got louder but the Swifts stuck to their processes. The Lightning did have opportunities to close the gap but faltered when they needed to convert. At the last break the Swifts had a commanding 46-36 lead and simply needed to stay calm in the final 15 minutes to secure the title.

With Sunshine Coast having to force things from the off in the fourth quarter, it allowed Klau and Turner to pick off possession and finish the game with an exclamation mark.

SWIFTS | Q1: 16, Q2: 31 (15), Q3: 46 (15), Q4: 64 (18)

LIGHTNING | Q1: 12, Q2: 23 (11), Q3: 36 (13), Q4: 47 (11)

Starting Teams

SWIFTS | GS Sam Wallace, GA Helen Housby, WA Natalie Haythornthwaite, C Paige Hadley, WD Katrina Rore, GD Maddy Turner, GK Sarah Klau

LIGHTNING | GS Cara Koenen, GA Steph Wood, WA Laura Scherian, C Laura Langman, WD Madeline McAuliffe, GD Karla Pretorius, GK Phumza Maweni

Shooting Stats

SWIFTS: 64/73 @ 88%

S Wallace: 40/44 @ 91%

H Housby: 18/22 @ 82%

S Garbin: 6/7 @ 86%

LIGHTNING: 47/59 @ 80%

C Koenen: 23/37 @ 85%

S Wood: 8/14 @ 57%

P Proscovia: 16/18 @ 90%

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