Round 3 of Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball League was all about the small margins, comebacks and performing under pressure with multiples games going down to the final quarter.
Those that stepped up in the Power Five were rewarded this round, and here are just of the international players that did just that:
NSW Swifts 74 – 71 Firebirds
The first match of Round 3 was a thrilling state clash, with Swifts ready and raring to go against Firebirds following their Round 2 match being cut short.
The shooters stole the show in the first-15 minutes, for both teams.
All eyes were on Jamaica Sunshine Girl and Swifts Romelda Aiken-George as the first whistle went as she lined up against her old side in her 200th league game, but attention soon turned to Firebird and Australian Diamond Donnell Wallam as she began to sink shots for fun shooting at 100% in the first quarter.
The clinical shooting from both sides meant that the opening stanza finished 20-20, and the score-line then remained close throughout the match until the final quarter when Swifts flew away with the victory thanks to their Captain Australian Diamond Maddy Proud changing the run of play with an interception.
Going back to the theme of shooters that played their part to get this match across the line, another that deserves a mention is England Rose Helen Housby, who scored all 22 of her shots on goal, and missed just three of her nine Super Shots.
Lightning 42 – 66 Thunderbirds
The other team that had their Round 2 match cut short last week was Thunderbirds, and just like Swifts in their Round 3 clash they wasted no time in getting back to it as they beat the league leaders Lightning after dominating play for the full 60-minutes.
Jamaican Sunshine Girl Shamera Sterling silenced the Lightning attack as she made three interceptions, three rebounds and eight deflections in the match helping her side on their way to winning all four quarters.
Whilst at the other end, England Rose Eleanor Cardwell scored 51 of her 54 attempts on goal for Thunderbirds, in a clinical performance that saw her awarded the Most Valuable Player Award.
Thunderbirds looked to never run out of energy in this match, as their biggest quarter win came in the final-15-minutes which they won 9-16, to win the match 42-66 leaving previously unbeaten Lightning stunned.
Fever 80 – 53 Magpies
Following Lightnings defeat, Fever capitalised on their chances to top the table in a performance against Magpies that saw them go from strength to strength.
Jamaican Sunshine Girl, Jhaniele Fowler, may have missed her first shot of the season so far, but Australian Diamond and Fever teammate Sunday Aryang was on hand to make a clean interception getting the ball straight back to Fowler who then shot perfectly for the duration of the match, allowing Fever to increase their goal scoring tally quarter on quarter.
Magpies made multiple changes throughout the match trying to change up play, but Fever were patient and always in control as they recorded their third victory of the season, topping the table and remaining unbeaten.
Vixens 62 – 57 Giants
Struggling Giants made Vixens work for their second win of the season at the John Cain Arena on Sunday.
As the match got underway it went goal-for-goal for 5-minutes until a held ball from England Rose and Giants shooter Jo Harten allowed Vixens to get their first marginal lead thanks to Malawi Queen Mwai Kumwenda and Australian Diamond Kiera Austin shooting well from the first whistle for the home side.
As the second quarter got underway Vixen’s had a three-goal lead, however that didn’t last long with Giants capitalising on the Power Five this quarter as both Harten and Australian Diamond Sophie Dwyer scored super shots in the dying minutes to win the quarter for Giants by two, and leave their team only trailing by one overall at half-time.
The third quarter promised more of the same, with the two teams battling throughout court and forcing each other to make errors before replying on their shooters to convert their chances.
Both teams kept up with the fast-paced play, leaving the score line at 47 – 47 going into the final quarter and leaving it all still to play for.
Just like the first quarter the final one went goal-for-goal with Giants really fighting for their first win of the season, however Vixens had other ideas as they capitalised off Giants missed super shots and ran down the clock to take a 5-goal win.
The Suncorp Super Netball League season will be made of 14 rounds, with the Grand Final scheduled to take place on the 8th July 2023, just in time for the Vitality Netball World Cup 2023 which will begin on the 28th July in Cape Town, South Africa.
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