Swifts, Vixens record wins ahead of Super Netball blockbuster

Melbourne Vixens and NSW Swifts will meet in a top-of-the-table Super Netball clash this Saturday after both recorded seven-goal wins.

The Vixens were pushed to the limit by Adelaide Thunderbirds before triumphing 50-43 in Brisbane, while the Swifts downed Sunshine Coast Lightning 61-54 in Wednesday night’s earlier match.

Both teams now hold 6-1 win-loss records, with the Vixens atop the standings because of their superior percentage.

The Swifts lost 65-58 to the Lightning 10 days ago in what was the first encounter between the teams since Sydney won last year’s grand final.

But the Swifts turned the tables to post their sixth win of the season, with captain Maddy Proud (35 feeds, 18 goal assists) the standout as she continues her comeback from a knee injury.

“It feels like we played (the Lightning) a couple of days ago now,” Proud said.

“We really redeemed ourselves and it felt like we are really starting to find some form and, obviously, myself as well, I feel like I’m back on track now.”

With the match deadlocked 16-all at quarter-time, the Lightning edged ahead in the second term to lead 32-29 at half-time.

The Swifts responded and after outscoring the Lightning 15-11 in the third quarter they skipped away in the fourth to ice the victory, with Sam Wallace and Helen Housby coming to the fore.

Wallace (23 goals, one super shot) and Housby (23 goals, one super shot) finished the match with 25 points each, while Sophie Garbin added 11 goals to the Swifts’ total.

Cara Koenen shot at an impressive 93 per cent accuracy to land 28 goals for the Lightning.

The loss saw the Lightning drop down a position on the ladder to third, four points adrift of the Vixens and Swifts.

Vixens challenged by Thunderbirds

A dominant fourth-quarter performance clinched the win for the Vixens, who had been locked at 36-all with a tenacious Thunderbirds outfit at three-quarter time.

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The Thunderbirds, who handed the Vixens their only defeat of the season earlier in the month were ahead early and led 14-9 at the first break.

They remained in front, and led 24-20 at half-time, before the Vixens levelled the score after gaining the upper hand in the third term.

Goal keeper Emily Mannix was among the best on court for the Vixens with a stunning eight intercepts, which was just one short of her league record for a match.

She also registered 10 deflections.

“It was definitely a tough match,” Mannix said.

“[The] Thunderbirds have been playing some really good netball and credit to them, they brought it to us again today.”

Caitlin Thwaites was a shining light for the Vixens with 30 goals at 97 per cent.

Lenize Potgieter topped the scoring for the Thunderbirds with 29 goals from 31 attempts.

The defeat meant the Thunderbirds dropped out of the top four to be placed fifth ahead of Sunday’s match against Queensland Firebirds in Brisbane.

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