The NSW Swifts have jumped to the top of the Suncorp Super Netball table while the Queensland Firebirds are still looking for their first win of the 2019 season.
Sunshine Coast Lightning v Melbourne Vixens
The Vixens have claimed their fourth win of the season with a 62 to 52 victory over the Lightning. It was a top of the table clash with Lightning sitting second and the Vixens third.
The Lightning took early control through captain Laura Langman with shooters in Steph Wood and Peace Proscovia capitalising well. For the Vixens, their attack end was congested as Liz Watson and captain Kate Moloney struggled to find the space to feed into their goal circle.
However, the Melbourne-based side fought back late in the first quarter to narrow the gap and this form would only continue into the next quarter to take a convincing seven-goal lead halfway through.
It forced Lightning to change up their attacking structure by bringing on Cara Koenen into goal shooter for Proscovia but still couldn’t find answers in their attack end and by halftime the Vixens had a 32-25 lead.
The Vixens midcourt were strong making their transition down the court on several occasions and the Lightning again were forced to change up their attack end again this time moving Steph Wood from goal attack to wing attack, Koenen to GA and Proscovia back in goal shooter.
The Lightning were determined to claim the final bonus point of the match and held strong, particularly in their attack end with much more movement taking place in the goal ring, making it easy for wing attack Laura Scherian and Langman to feed in.
The strong finish saw the Lightning reduce the final margin to 10 and also win the quarter.
Queensland Firebirds v West Coast Fever
The Queensland Firebirds and West Coast Fever have fought out a nailbiting draw in Round 6 of Suncorp Super Netball – the second tied score for both teams this season.
Both teams were in desperate need of a win to hoist themselves clear of the bottom of the ladder, but they couldn’t be separated after 60 minutes of netball, with an Abigail Latu-Meafou goal in the dying seconds sealing a 62-62 result.
The result sees the Firebirds still winless and in eighth position after six games, with only 11 premiership points to their name, while 2018 grand finalist the Fever are in sixth place on 14 points.
The Firebirds’ mobile goaling combination of Gretel Tippett and goal shooter Latu-Meafou set about creating all sorts of problems for Fever defenders Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis early in the game.
The Queensland pair sliced through the Fever defence in the first quarter, helping establish a 17-14 lead at quarter-time.
Meanwhile at the other end Kaylia Stanton’s shot started cold after her standout performance in Round 5, missing both of her attempts in the opening term.
Gabi Simpson was clearly out to make a statement after being overlooked for Diamonds selection, with the first of her six defensive gains coming early in the second term and setting up a three-goal run for her team that saw them skip out to a five-goal advantage.
In what would be a recurring theme throughout the match, the Fever hit back quickly, pegging the margin back to three before Verity Charles put a scare through her camp by tweaking her ankle. She returned after a timeout and the teams continued trading goals, with Jhaniele Fowler potting a goal on the half-time whistle to restore the three-goal gap and see neither side able to snare the bonus point.
The Fever looked a different team in the third term, scoring nine of the first 14 goals of the quarter to erase the deficit and take a one-goal lead, which remained the margin at the final break.
In a seesawing final quarter both teams held the lead at different stages. Fowler scored three of the first four goals to give Fever a three-goal edge less than two minutes in, before a Firebirds surge saw them score five in a row.
The momentum swayed back in West Coast’s favour with two goals to Fowler and another to Stanton, but when Tippett nailed two in a row with six minutes remaining, Queensland’s lead was again out to two.
Fever captain Bruce was clearly struggling with her injured arm, cradling it and wincing throughout the final quarter, but bravely soldiered on and returned three deflections and a gain with the game in the balance.
The Fever looked the goods again and were finding Fowler with ease, while at the other end Tippett and Latu-Meafou were being battered but continuing to score.
The teams went goal for goal in the final minutes, and with less than 30 seconds to go the Fever led by one. But the Firebirds were able to cleverly eat up crucial seconds with the ball in hand, leaving Latu-Meafou five seconds to net the equalising shot.
Giants Netball v Adelaide Thunderbirds
The Giants have secured their third win of the 2019 season, overpowering the Thunderbirds 65-goals to 54.
The Thunderbirds tried hard for four quarters but couldn’t slow down the Giants. However, it was a tight and scrappy start to match as both teams went goal for goal for much of the first quarter.
Giants shooter Jo Harten long-range shooting and hard work up the court stretched the Adelaide defence and gave her teammates a constant outlet pass going forward.
The Giants looked the better team in the early stages, but the Thunderbirds just wouldn’t go away, pushing the home team all the way.
The pace of the game went up a level in the second quarter, with both teams looking to stretch the other and score quickly on the break but with that speed came plenty of mistakes and flared tempers.
The Giants got to work on extending their five-goal halftime lead in the third quarter, thanks to some spectacular defensive midcourt play from their young guns Jamie-Lee Price and Amy Parmenter.
The home side pulled away in the final quarter, securing an 11-goal win along with all eight bonus points on offer for the game.
NSW Swifts v Collingwood Magpies
The Swifts remain on top of the ladder after a 68 to 52 win over the Magpies.
The Swifts started strong with defenders Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner making life very difficult for the Magpies attack end. However, it didn’t take long for the Magpies to find their feet and get the scores back to even, and it then went goal-for-goal for much of the first quarter.
Shimona Nelson was once again a pillar of strength under the Magpies post, providing an easy target for midcourters Kelsey Browne and Kim Ravaillion to feed into.
The Swifts came out firing in the second quarter, stretching their lead out to nine within five minutes.
Sam Wallace was unstoppable in the Swifts goal ring and was being fed well by Helen Housby who provided the movement and space in the ring.
The Magpies were left looking for answers with coach Rob Wright calling a second time-out to make positional changes right across court.
But the Swifts again lifted their defensive intensity in the third quarter making sure they had hands over everything and making it very difficult for the Magpies to transition into their attack end.
There were clear frustrations by the Magpies all over the court throughout the last quarter and goal keeping superstar Geva Mentor was brought to the sideline halfway through the last.
The Swifts didn’t take their foot off the accelerator in the final quarter, extending their lead out to 16 to finish the match comfortably with all available bonus points in their hands at the final siren.