In our penultimate International Player Watch of the season, we are bringing you all the news from Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball League’s Preliminary Final.
Australian Diamonds, England Roses, and Jamaican Sunshine Girls stole the show as Swifts made a mighty comeback to beat Fever by one, booking their place in the Grand Final against Thunderbirds.
Keep reading to find out who the stand out international stars were…
Swifts 65 – 64 Fever
Swifts put an end to Fever being able to win back-to-back Premiers this weekend, as they beat last years winners in the Preliminary Final by one goal.
In front of a record-breaking Suncorp Super Netball League Preliminary Final crowd, Swifts rising shooting star, Sophie Fawns, scored a last second shot to seal a spot in the Grand Final for her team, where they will now face Thunderbirds.
Swifts’ victory comes despite Fever dominating for most of the match, with Australian Diamonds Courtney Bruce and Sunday Aryang a real forced to be reckoned with from the first whistle in the Fever defensive circle.
Bruce and Aryang teamed up perfectly, claiming rebounds, flying out on interceptions, and causing constant problems for the Swifts shooters.
It was a re-bound from Bruce in the Power Five, that allowed Fever one last chance in the first quarter to push ahead and England Rose, Sasha Glasgow, did not disappoint as she put up her Super Shot and fired her Fever team to a four-goal lead.
Aryang then made a flying start to the second quarter, claiming an interception which in turn saw Fever extend their lead to six goals.
However, after another close quarter Swifts were determined to make the most of their Power Five this time and it was a whole team performance that managed to keep them within touching distance of Fever.
Australian Diamond, Maddy Proud, acted as the playmaker through the mid-court for Swifts, whilst in defence Teigan O’Shannassy and Sarah Klau worked tirelessly to keep Fever’s Glasgow out of the two-point zone to avoid her doing any further damage before half-time.
Repaying their teammates for their hardwork Swifts’ shooters, England Rose, Helen Housby and Sophie Fawns then converted their Super Shots to bring the score back to 33-35.
With only two goals separating the two sides, and a Grand Final on the line, the heat turned up in the penultimate quarter.
The ball moved with speed from one end of the court to the other, with both teams doing their upmost to keep possession.
However, once again it was Dan Ryan’s Fever that remained on top as Bruce continued to be the stand-out player on court piling on the defensive pressure, especially during the Power Five.
It is no surprise that by the end of the match Bruce had made twelve gains.
With 15-minutes between Fever and the Grand-Final, Swifts came back out fighting and ready to over-turn the 5-goal deficit.
After constant back-and-forth between the two sides, in the closest quarter of the contest, Fever still lead by 4 going into the Power-Five.
However, after spending most of the match watching a Fever defensive dominance, Swifts’ shooter Fawns put a spanner in the works as the 19-year-old was fearless in her pursuit to steal the Grand Final spot from Fever for her team.
Fawns put on an a masterclass in the dying minutes of the match, firstly scoring a Super Shot herself, before making a deflection off a Fever centre pass to allow Housby to do the same, and then getting back in on the shooting action herself to net yet another Super Shot, bringing the scores back to level.
The young gun then found herself with the ball in her hands under the post again in the final second, and she made no mistake in converting her shot to finish the Swifts comeback, as they won 65-64 meaning they will now face Thunderbirds in the Grand Final.
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.
To find out more about the Suncorp Super Netball League, click here.
To view the full fixture list, click here.
To find out more about the start date of the other domestic leagues around the world, visit our Domestic League page here.