The NSW Swifts have destroyed the Melbourne Vixens premiership hopes after beating them 60 - 47 in Sydney on Sunday afternoon.
The Swifts played with purpose from the game’s outset, earning themselves a place in next week’s grand final against the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
A dominant performance appeared imminent from New South Wales, as they consistently created opportunities to gain a convincing lead.
Meanwhile, the Vixens looked like a shadow of the side which downed the Magpies last week, with their weaknesses being exposed.
Following an early four-nil lead to the Swifts, Melbourne were playing a brutal game of catch-up from the start.
Yet, feasting on a vivacious crowd at the Quaycentre, New South Wales continued to extend their lead, creating headaches for Vixens coach Simone McKinnis.
Following the half time break Melbourne made their move and lessened the scoreboard gap, setting up a gruelling final term.
However, New South Wales’ earlier efforts proved costly for their opponents, as the Vixens failed to hit the front.
Swifts centre Paige Hadley, was an engine for her side, earning herself ‘Player of the Match’ honours.
“I knew I had to put in a big effort for the girls today,” Hadley said post-match.
“This season we’ve had so many things thrown at us
“Today we just stepped up and proved that we’re good enough.”
Hadley was supported by the defensive efforts of Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner, who effectively confused their opponents into committing numerous turnovers in the goal circle.
After an injury ravaged season for the Swifts, few believed they possessed the potential to go far in 2019.
However, the Briony Akle coached side silenced any doubters, demonstrating how confidence and grit can transcend a side into premiership contention.
With Vixens veteran Renee Ingles announcing her retirement, the game marked the end to her incredible career after 187 national league games.
An emotional Ingles was adamant her beloved side were in good stead to build something special next year, despite today’s disappointing result.
“I’m excited to watch from the sidelines next year,” Ingles said post-game
“These girls are going to absolutely smash the offseason ready to bring out even more fire next year.”
For now, however, the netball world will be focusing on next week’s game, in what promises to be an unforgettable grand final, as the Lighting go for the three-peat and the Swifts aim for their first premiership.
The connection and power shown today by the NSW Swifts, indicate they are well placed to challenge Super netball’s minor premiers in Brisbane on Sunday, which promises to be a tantalising affair.
Follow Georgia Sassi on Twitter @GeorgiaSassi