The NSW Swifts have made a flying start to their Super Netball title defence after recording a thrilling come-from-behind 63-61 win over the Giants.
- The Swifts trailed by five goals at half-time before getting on top of the Giants
- Sam Wallace played a key role for the Swifts, taking charge in the third quarter
- Both teams were forced to move to Queensland earlier than scheduled because of border restrictions
The defending premiers recovered from a five-goal deficit at half-time to lead by eight with four minutes to play, before withstanding a late Giants run to win a historic NSW derby in Brisbane.
Both Sydney clubs were originally scheduled to open the coronavirus-delayed 2020 season with a series of home games at the newly renovated Ken Rosewall Arena.
But new border restrictions forced the Swifts and Giants to relocate north just days before the opening round.
In Sunday’s second fixture in Brisbane, the Melbourne Vixens scored a 63-52 win over cross-town rivals Collingwood Magpies.
The Giants led 33-28 at half-time courtesy of captain Jo Harten’s long-range accuracy, the England international proving the difference in a tight opening half by nailing seven of nine two-point super shots.
But the Swifts surged to the lead with Sam Wallace inspiring a 21-13 third-quarter charge, the Trinidad and Tobago international closing the term with a pair of team-lifting super shots.
The Swifts appeared on track for a comfortable victory when Sophie Garbin combined with Helen Housby to extend their lead heading into the Power Five period.
Fittingly, late drama also played out on the court as 18-year-old Sophie Dwyer landed two super shots for the Giants on her debut to set up a nail-biting finish.
But a Swifts time-out allowed coach Briony Akle to steady her squad as they held their nerve in the closing moments to maintain possession and close out the win.
Filling in for injured defender Maddy Turner, Lauren Moore starred for the Swifts alongside goalkeeper Sarah Klau, while captain Maddy Proud made a successful comeback from a knee injury that saw her miss last season’s championship run.
Giants shooter Caitlin Bassett finished with 22 goals from 24 attempts after recovering from a preseason knee injury to take her place in the goal circle.