The New South Wales Swifts have made history, winning their first Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final 64 – 47 in Brisbane on Sunday afternoon.
The odds were stacked against the premiers with the Lightning’s form, experience and talent outclassing them throughout the season.
Yet in a true David versus Goliath battle, the Swifts stunned a packed Brisbane Entertainment Centre overrunning the Sunshine Coast for the first time in 2019.
A fast and furious NSW attack wasted no time banking several goals, setting up their dominant performance.
Up the defensive end, goal keeper Sarah Klau played a standout game of her career, finishing with a mammoth 11 gains.
Consequently, the Lightning struggled to push forward, with their players often appearing disconnected.
Despite a stellar year from Sunshine Coast centre Laura Langman, she was unable to match the fiery performance of opponent Paige Hadley.
“We came out all year and said that we could do this and here we are,” Hadley said post-match.
“To do it today when no one thought we could do it is pretty special.
“We never lost sight of what our goal was.”
The Lightning attempted to claw at the lead several times, however they failed to shift the momentum and effectively string goals together.
Meanwhile in her last game as coach, Noeline Taurua attempted to fire up her side, desperate to clinch a Lightning three-peat.
Yet, they were unable to break down the Swift’s confidence with several key players missing their usual finesse.
Star goal attack Stephanie Wood scored just four goals, whilst Phumza Maweni often lacked her defensive flare.
Whilst Karla Pretorius and Laura Scherian desperately attempted to reassert the Lightning back into the game, their efforts were stifled by a determined opposition.
The significance of the momentous NSW victory was palpable, with an emotional Samantha Wallace in tears as she accepted her ‘Player of the Match’ award, following a spectacular performance.
After a challenging year plagued by injuries to key players, the NSW Swifts were not meant to win the 2019 grand final.
However, Briony Akle implored her side to play with heart and belief, a game plan which inevitably stood up.