Super Netball 2020 season start: NSW Swifts beat Giants Netball – as it happened

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I just wanted to take another quick look at those turnovers befor.....ame today.

Summary

I just wanted to take another quick look at those turnovers before I leave you. Again they reflected the closeness of the game, finishing at 33 apiece. The fourth quarter was quite low, considering how frantic it appeared, the Swifts with six turnovers and the Giants with seven.

The other thing I’m interested in is the way coaches are using the super shot period by trying to get two long shooters on, rather than leaving their tall shooter on to snaffle up the rebounds and give them an easy ‘out’ by providing a quick way to tick the score over. We’ll have to see how that progresses throughout the season.

Sophie Dwyer was certainly a revelation when she entered the game, but we didn’t see much of her aside from the long shooting. Does she have the ability to be an all-round GA or will she just be used for the long bombs? Her form in the ANL suggests she is a very good player in many aspects of the game, so I’d like to see her get an opportunity to demonstrate that.

Many things to think about, I look forward to seeing how this season progresses. Thanks so much for joining me here today! You can follow me on Twitter @meganmaurice if you’re keen to read more of my netball ramblings.

Player of the Match: Lauren Moore

Huge win for the young player who got the opportunity through Maddy Turner’s injury.

“I was so excited, I haven’t played a full game of netball in over 12 months, so it was really cool to get the call up,” she said.

“I think it’s really cool, no one can say they’ve played through a pandemic before, so it’s an exciting opportunity.”

Well that was an exciting game to start the season off for these two teams. I think the other six teams would have been watching on fairly closely - both teams revealed some weaknesses there that can be exploited by clever coaches.

Full-time: Giants 61-63 Swifts

A frantic final few minutes saw a of backwards movement from the Swifts, desperately trying to hold on to their lead, but it was a dangerous game to play. They managed to eat up a full minute playing the ball around with plenty of challenges from the Giants. It was an up and down game and the super shot certainly had a huge impact.

Q4: 13 mins Giants 57-62 Swifts

A lot of caution from the Giants getting the ball down court. They can’t afford turnovers, but they also need to move quickly. Sophie Dwyer makes her debut with an immediate super shot and really boosts the Sophie domination in this game. The Swifts call a timeout with two minutes to play. Coach Briony Akle delivers a strong, but calm address telling the team they have two minutes to “defend (their) bums off”.

Q4: 11 mins Giants 61-53 Swifts

That held ball really took the wind out of the Giants’ sails. They look much more nervous and stunted getting into the circle now. A missed super shot from Garbin gives them another opportunity, but they lose that through another held ball. The Swifts are content to play the ball around and eat up time while the Giants desperately need super shots.

Q4: 9 mins Giants 53-58 Swifts

An important turnover for the Giants comes through a dropped ball by Sophie Garbin. It’s really energised the Giants, Harten has lifted her intensity and Bassett is taking uncharacteristic front balls, but Klau forces a held ball to swing momentum back the Swifts’ way.

Q4: 7 mins Giants 50-57 Swifts

We’re back! The Swifts are pushing their lead out, looks like a couple of quick goals happened while we were gone.

Updated

Q4: 5 mins Giants 50-54 Swifts

I’ll do my best to update you from the live scoring app while this is happening! It’s a still a fairly even quarter so far, Swifts appear to be maintaining their lead.

We’ve lost the game for a little due to some breaking news - Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is giving an important Covid-19 update for his state.

Q4: 2 mins Giants 48-50 Swifts

Manu’a begins the quarter with a step, not the most illustrious start! Luckily Parmenter saves the day for her with a big intercept. Bassett finishes it off with a long shot by her standards. The Giants are certainly looking calmer than they did at the end of that quarter. Still a bit of hesitancy on the feed but Bassett’s height can make something out of nothing.

That quarter felt a bit more settled and the turnover stats reflect that. Only seven turnovers from each team that quarter, the lowest of any quarter so far this game. I’m really liking seeing the bench get more of a run than usual, it’s nice to see these up and coming players on court. It seems to be pushing turnovers up, but hopefully it will settle as teams get used to more frequent changes.

Three-quarter time: Giants 46-49 Swifts

A big finish to the quarter from the Swifts - a few missed super shots creeping in as the pressure started to rise. Sam Wallace nails a couple at the end to pull her team ahead and it’s looking like a huge final quarter.

Q3: 13 mins Giants 46-44 Swifts

Moore is back on court and celebrates with a key deflection to cut off Austin’s attempt to get into the super shot zone. Brandley and McDonell are looking good together in the Giants defence end however, putting lots of pressure over the shot and rebounding strongly.

Q3: 11 mins Giants 44-41 Swifts

Nicole Styles enters the court now, Moore having to be subbed off under the blood rule. The Swifts are looking very strong now, hopefully Styles can help them maintain their momentum. Austin comes into GS for the super shot period and sinks her first attempt.

Q3: 9 mins Giants 42-38 Swifts

A big win from McDonell, she will get a lot of confidence from that, out hunting from the goal circle. Austin is looking a bit hesitant on the feed, but Bassett’s height is opening up a lot of options in the goal circle, even when the quick pass isn’t released.

Q3: 6 mins Giants 39-36 Swifts

Jamie-Lee Price is becoming an issue for the Giants, giving away a fair few penalties. She has never been the cleanest player, but it’s looking a little more obvious than usual in this game and the umpires are really looking out for it. Fitzgerald alludes to Brandley possibly coming on during the match, with Manu’a with a small niggle. McDonell enters the court in place of Poolman, I’m very keen to see how this young gun fares.

Q3: 4 mins Giants 37-33 Swifts

I feel like Proud might be a bit of a barometer for the Swifts. The whole team looks better when she is up and about. The Giants won’t let them have it all their own way, but the Swifts look determined to chip away at this margin bit by bit and grind the Giants down.

Q3: 2 mins Giants 35-29 Swifts

Beautiful swing ball from Proud to Wallace to kick off the quarter, nice to see some confidence in their attack end. Paige Hadley in WD is an interesting choice, but with Austin out of position too, it may pay off for them. Watch this space! The Swifts’ defence end is looking sharper already, but the transition down court is still hurting them.

Some interesting points from Cara and Sophie here, I wonder how or if players’ perspectives will change throughout the season?

I promised I’d look at those turnover stats and they’re currently sitting at 19 (Giants) and 20 (Swifts). To contrast, the West Coast Fever and Sunshine Coast Lightning had just 22 each in their whole matches yesterday. So that’s a worrying stat for both teams. Obviously the lack of match play is an issue, so hopefully they are able to bring that down over the next few weeks. The Nissan Net Points are also quite low across the board, which reflects all the turnovers that have been happening. Lauren Moore on 42.5 is the highest on court and many of the Swifts are in the negative there. For the uninitiated, Net Points are based on cumulative stats to give you an idea of a player’s overall performance in the match.

A lot of chat from the commentators saying that Jo Harten may win the Giants a premiership with her long shots. Obviously the season has a long way to go yet, but it’s certainly looking like a possibility, more so than in previous years. Not to harp on and on about the super shot, but I wonder what it says about a team if they only truly start to dominate after a rule change is introduced? Is it that they should have been a dominant team all along and that the rules were holding them back?

Half-time: Giants 33-28 Swifts

A strong quarter from the Giants sees them take the lead out to five. They look the more comfortable team so it will be interesting to see how the Swifts react from here. As I said earlier, they are a very adaptable team and calm under pressure, so I certainly wouldn’t write them off just yet.

Q2 14 mins: Giants 31-28 Swifts

Harten is loving the super shot, much like Steph Wood in yesterday’s game. It suits her game perfectly, so that’s no surprise. She’s 6/8 on the super shots. Housby is also looking confident on the shot at the other end, but the Giants still with their noses ahead.

Q2 12 mins: Giants 28-25 Swifts

Liz Ellis talking in commentary about the changes to the defensive structure due to the super shot. This is the big worry for me, it makes the game even more weighted in favour of the attackers. Poolman demonstrates this perfectly, not knowing whether to move forward or back, opening up an easy pass into Wallace.

Q2 10 mins: Giants 24-22 Swifts

I’m looking to add up some turnover stats at half time, this game is surely breaking some records in that department? The ball is flying up and down court as we head into the final five mins of the quarter.

Q2 8 mins: Giants 23-22 Swifts

The ball wipers are certainly getting a workout, plenty of loose balls flying out of court at the moment. The Giants have called a timeout with the super shot period not far away. Swifts captain Maddy Proud has been up and down so far in her return to the court - she’s looking a little more comfortable at Centre so far than she did in WA. Jo Harten is cool and calm in her timeout address to her team.

Q2 7 mins: Giants 22-20 Swifts

Despite Austin’s troubles, the Giants are looking mostly comfortable and are keeping the score ticking over. A HUGE intercept from Parmenter with hands over from three feet gives them some good spark as well. It’s still a scrappy game overall, the rolling subs might be contributing to that also.

Q2 4 mins: Giants 21-19 Swifts

Austin seems to be having some trouble swinging between WA and GA. And fair enough, they are very different positions with different timing required. It’s a hard ask to get both sets of timings working well when you’re changing multiple times a game. We’ll keep an eye on how she copes with it as the game goes on.

Q2 2 mins: Giants 20-18 Swifts

The Swifts look like they’re desperately trying to manufacture some flow, but it’s not happening for them. The Giants continue to look like the better team so far, despite the closeness of the scores. The Swifts defenders are struggling with the height of the Giants shooters at the moment.

Former Giants GA Susan Pettitt says what a lot of people have been thinking:

Jess Currie on Twitter asks about the possible injection of April Brandley into the game:

I think defence has been a bit of a weakness for the Giants, despite having so many defenders! So I think her addition can only be a good thing. Would love to see McDonell get an opportunity though, I think Poolman and Manu’a have had plenty of chances to be amazing and haven’t necessarily snapped them up.

Quarter time: Giants 17-17 Swifts

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the super shot. The commentators are talking it up pretty hard so far, but I’m still not sold on it. My thoughts are that it puts too much emphasis on the circles, similar to what we see in basketball. I love that netball is a whole court game and I feel like it’s detracting from that in those periods. But very keen to hear some other perspectives, hit me up on Twitter or by email to let me know what you think. It’s certainly helped create a close game here and brought the Swifts back into play, which I’m sure they’ll be pleased with, but does it make for good netball, not just close netball?

Q1 13 mins: Giants 15-16 Swifts

The Giants have made the change and put Austin into GA with Harten in GS to double their long scoring ability. Wallace misses one at the other end but rebounds it and puts a super shot in. It’s still looking messy out there, but hey, some goals are worth two points so I guess we have to be happy?

Q1 10 mins: Giants 10-8 Swifts

It’s easy to see the effects of lack of match play, there are plenty of turnovers in this game, it’s not the slick play we’re used to at this level. With four and a half minutes remaining in the quarter, the Giants have called a time out. Helen Housby made the first super shot attempt, which rolled out and was rebounded by Wallace for a regular shot.

Q1 9 mins: Giants 10-7 Swifts

With the super shot about to come into play for the first time in this game, the Swifts have started to settle. The two English GAs will be the one to watch in the last five minutes. Both are strong long shooters and are not afraid to take those shots. Sam Wallace’s movement has started to trouble Poolman, we may see Brandley or young defender Matilda McDonell come into the game to combat that at some stage.

Q1 7 mins: Giants 6-3 Swifts

There are a few cross court balls flying around at the moment - which means the defence is strong and cutting off the options in the centre channel. It could make for an exciting, if scrappy, game with plenty of swinging back and forth if this continues.

Q1 5 mins: Giants 5-2 Swifts

The Giants are looking strong so far, the Swifts are struggling to transition into the goal third at the moment, it’s looking much easier for the Giants down their attack end.

Q1 3 mins: Giants 3-1 Swifts

And we’re off! The Swifts secure an early held ball turnover and then the Giants match it with a flying intercept from Sam Poolman at GK. Caitlin Bassett is finding herself able to get a few one on ones with the defenders so far, which is the way she likes it. The Swifts need to work as a unit to really shut her down.

While we’re waiting for the game to begin, do yourself a favour and read this great story from Erin Delahunty, it will get you right into the netball zone

“I think we’re the team to beat and we’re taking that as a positive,” says Swifts captain Maddy Proud on the different position the team finds themselves in 2020. Having been the plucky underdogs for much of the competition so far, it will be interesting to see how they adjust to the new expectations.

The big talking point is of course, the two-point “super shot”. Introduced this season to bring in more fans, yesterday was the first time we saw it in action in a Super Netball context.

There has been plenty of raving about the shot from Channel 9 and Super Netball employees, but the reaction among fans has been less emphatic. The zone itself is larger than many of us were expecting, which is likely a reaction to the worry that it would lead to a lot of missed shots. Much of the zone would usually be considered a mid-range shot, which means there is greater accuracy than in Fast 5 and other trial versions of this rule.

However from my perspective it seems like having that rule in place for the final five minutes of each quarter is discouraging long and mid-range shots in other parts of the game. The Lightning in particular looked very keen to pass off from areas where they would usually shoot unless they were able to get two points out of it. So is the rule working as intended? Of course this could just give fuel to super shot advocates to have the rule in play for the entire game, so perhaps we’d better not make too much of a fuss about it.

So, some interesting things to pull apart in those starting sevens. First up, the Swifts have given Lauren Moore the start in GD to replace Turner. Moore has been around the squad for a few years so should settle into that role fairly well. They opted to bring another defender, Nicole Styles, with them who is a more experienced player at 31 and has been in and around the system for many years, but was not a listed training partner with the Swifts and doesn’t specifically have Super Netball experience. So Moore looks to be the right choice for them, with Styles there as a possible cooler head under pressure if things are looking worrying.

For the Giants we have confirmation that they’re looking at Kiera Austin to fill their attacking mid-court gap. This will mean significant reshuffling if their shooting partnership doesn’t click, as happened regularly enough to be troubling for them last season. They have brought training partner Clare O’Brien, who was progressing very nicely with the NSW Swifts a few years ago before an injury set her back. I’d expect to see her come into play if an attacking reshuffle is needed.

Starting seven: Giants Netball

GS - Caitlin Bassett

GA - Jo Harten

WA - Kiera Austin

C - Jamie-Lee Price

WD - Amy Parmenter

GD - Kristiana Manu’a

GK - Sam Poolman

Starting seven: NSW Swifts

GS - Sam Wallace

GA - Helen Housby

WA - Maddy Proud

C - Paige Hadley

WD - Sophie Craig

GD - Lauren Moore

GK - Sarah Klau

So, let’s catch up on some of yesterday’s action. The Queensland derby between the Sunshine Coast Lightning and Queensland Firebirds took an unexpected turn early in the game, with 2019 wooden spooners the Firebirds establishing a commanding early lead. The much debated super shot came into play to allow the Lightning to close the gap quickly and they ended up winning the game convincingly, 66-48.

In the other game an understrength Adelaide Thunderbirds struggled against the West Coast Fever in a high scoring match. Fever goal attack Alice Teague-Neeld looked a lot more confident than she did in 2019, taking some of the pressure off star goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler. The Fever took that one in a high-scoring game, winning 74-62.

Preamble

Welcome to the big Sydney derby of the Suncorp Super Netball! It’s the first time a Sydney derby has been played in Queensland, but this is going to be a whole season of firsts, so I guess we’re all strapping in and enjoying wherever this weird ride takes us.

The big news for this game is that Swifts’ defender Maddy Turner is out for at least four games with an ankle injury. Turner and her defensive partner Sarah Klau have formed a formidable unit and it will be interesting to see how the Swifts cope without her on court. Of course this team proved endlessly adaptable in 2019 when they took out the premiership, so anything is possible!

The Giants’ big news is the addition of former Collingwood Magpies defender April Brandley to their squad. Brandley was off-contract with the Magpies at the end of 2019 and was sitting the 2020 season out due to the birth of her first child. But the delayed start to the season has given her time to get back to match fitness and the Giants have snapped her up. We’ll see what kind of role she plays in the game today.

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