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Always something on the line when Swifts play the Giants

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Finals may already be locked into the defending champion NSW Swifts’ schedule but that doesn’t mean they won’t be fully locked and loaded for their second meeting with the Giants on Saturday.

The Premiers, who edged their local rivals back in Round 1 in early August, still have a mathematical chance of finishing in the top two at the end of the Suncorp Super Netball regular season, but will need to beat the Giants first up to be in with a shot.

With England international Helen Housby playing her 50th game for the club, the Swifts won't be short of motivation.

Victory against GWS, coupled with losses for West Coast Fever and the Sunshine Coast Lightning, could catapult the Swifts to second on the ladder, however, a knockout Minor Semi Final seems the more likely destination for Briony Akle’s troops.

That said, 2020 has been a year of firsts for all teams in Super Netball and the head coach isn’t losing hope of a Major Semi spot just yet.

"It’s a pity that it’s out of our hands to a certain extent but Finals are a different beast we’ll be ready for whatever comes," Akle said.

"The fact is we have a massive game against the Giants who’ll be looking to finish their season on a high. But this contest is in our hands - lose and we’re going straight to the Minor Semi, win and we put some pressure on the others chasing second - so we have some say.

"Plus, there is always something on the line when the Swifts play the Giants.

"It doesn’t matter that this game is taking place in Brisbane rather than Sydney - everyone of our players has a chance to make a statement ahead of the Finals Series and keep another trophy in our cabinet.

"It would also be fantastic to mark Helen's half century for us with a good win. She's a Premiership and Commonwealth Games champion on our watch and added so much she since she made the move from England."

The teams will contest the Carole Sykes Memorial Trophy which is awarded at the end of every competitive game between the Swifts and Giants.

The Swifts have held the trophy since Round 1 2019 and last successfully defended it in Round 1 of this year’s competition.

Akle also said having four Swifts - Paige Hadley, Sarah Klau, Maddy Proud and Sophie Garbin - named in the 2020/21 Australian Diamonds squad provided the team with a timely boost as they look to round out the regular season on a high.

"I think having four Swifts in a Diamonds squad is the most we’ve had since the club dominated the side back around 2015 with the likes of Kim Green and Sharni Layton.

"The Swifts had to rebuild with the advent of Super Netball in 2017 so it’s great to see the club get back to a high level of representation in the Aussie side.

"It isn’t just a result of this year or last year’s Premiership success. It has to do with strong foundations that were put in place back then and getting a great squad of players around our internationals.

"I’m exceptionally proud of all our athletes selected and think - but for injury - we’d have had Maddy Turner back in a Diamonds dress again.

"But she’s a champion and I know she’ll rise to the challenge in Finals and we'll see her in Green and Gold again."

The NSW Swifts’ clash with the Giants takes place on Saturday at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena at 3pm (AET). It will be broadcast live on Channel Nine and Telstra’s Netball Live App.

Note to editors: Game images will be available from AAP.

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