NSW Swifts and West Coast Fever strengthen top four hold

Vitality Rose Natalie Haythornthwaite in action for NSW Swifts during the 2020 Super Netball season.

The Vitality Roses were in midweek action once again as Super Netball Round 9 took place.

GIANTS Netball 53-73 Melbourne Vixens

Vitality Rose involved: Jo Harten (GIANTS Netball)

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Melbourne Vixens remain on top of the ladder and have taken another confident stride towards the minor premiership with a 53-73 crushing of GIANTS Netball at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena.

Their eighth win from nine games reflected a side in command who responded to a variety of challenges, including regular rotations in the shooting circle from GIANTS, and came out on top in every quarter.

Melbourne midcourter Liz Watson was unstoppable with 33 goal assists and 48 feeds as her teammate Mwai Kumwenda scored a game-high 32 points, almost double GIANTS’ best shooter Jo Harten (18).

However, were it not for the Vitality Rose’s seven Super Shots, GIANTS would have been on the canvass by halftime (34-39).

The unflappable frontrunners’ class shone through as they controlled possession, intercepts, assists and the all-important percentage of conversions from both their own centre pass and from possession gains to tighten their grasp on top spot.

Score breakdown

Q1: GIANTS 15-19 Vixens

Q2: GIANTS 19-20 Vixens

Q3: GIANTS 8-15 Vixens

Q4: GIANTS 11-19 Vixens

Vitality Roses shooting stats

Jo Harten – G1 – 11/13 (85%); G2 – 7/10 (70%)

G1 = shots during normal play | G2 = Super Shots taken

Collingwood Magpies 54-69 NSW Swifts

Vitality Roses involved: Geva Mentor (Collingwood Magpies) and Natalie Haythornthwaite (NSW Swifts)

NSW Swifts came out of Round 9 with win number seven, after beating Collingwood Magpies by 15 points at Nissan Arena.

Last-placed Collingwood Magpies forced the second-placed Swifts to draw on all their experience, composure and depth to seal a 54-69 win.

The unavailability of Helen Housby underlined the second-placed Swifts’ depth in comparison to their injury-ravaged opponents who are fighting to avoid the wooden spoon.

From the moment Swifts took the lead for the first time in the fifth minute of the match, they never looked back.

A flurry of goals in the closing stages of the opening quarter pushed them out to a seven-point lead and they edged the second quarter (14-16) to stretch their advantage to nine.

Magpies, including Vitality Rose Mentor, displayed fight and they continued to battle away, asking questions that demanded some searching from the defending champions.

Despite Magpies cutting the gap to six heading into the fourth quarter (42-48), three quickfire runs of three unanswered goals and three Super Shots put the game out of Collingwood’s reach.

Score breakdown

Q1: Magpies 13-20 Swifts

Q2: Magpies 14-16 Swifts

Q3: Magpies 15-12 Swifts

Q4: Magpies 12-21 Swifts

Adelaide Thunderbirds 50-56 Sunshine Coast Lightning

Vitality Roses involved: Chelsea Pitman, Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin (all Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Sunshine Coast Lightning did the double over Adelaide Thunderbirds with a 50-56 victory in Round 9 after running out 53-45 winners in Round 6.

The result keeps Lightning in touch with ladder leaders Melbourne Vixens and second-place NSW Swifts as they pursue of a fourth consecutive Grand Final appearance.

Sunshine Coast’s stars needed to perform to hold off a Thunderbirds side powered by Shamera Sterling.

Sterling’s dynamism and anticipation shone through as she plucked five intercepts and nine gains before hobbling off late in the final term with an ankle injury.

Steph Wood’s 17 goals at 80 percent were crucial while Thunderbirds’ Lenize Potgieter’s 27 goals was not a big enough haul for her side.

Lightning edged the first half to lead 24-29 before a low scoring affair in the third with just nine goals for each team.

Four fourth-quarter Super Shots weren’t enough for Thunderbirds and Lightning took the contest.

Score breakdown

Q1: Thunderbirds 13-15 Lightning

Q2: Thunderbirds 11-14 Lightning

Q3: Thunderbirds 9-9 Lightning

Q4: Thunderbirds 17-18 Lightning

Queensland Firebirds 60-71 West Coast Fever

Vitality Roses involved: Stacey Francis (West Coast Fever)

West Coast Fever secured their first win in five years against Queensland Firebirds as Round 9 came to a close.

Fever’s 71-60 Super Netball victory at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena was their third in a row and lifts the finals chances of the fourth-placed West Australians who are now two wins clear of the Giants and Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Vitality Rose Stacey Francis played the full 60 minutes at goal defence and immense defensive pressure, in combination with Courtney Bruce, was the difference as Fever took control in the first half.

The Firebirds’ defenders, who have been brilliant this season, had few answers as they tried to halt Fever spearhead Fowler (63 goals at 97 percent).

Firebird Romelda Aiken’s fine season continued with a 45-goal haul.

West Coast’s lead grew to 14 goals during the third quarter with the Firebirds struggling to pierce the Fever defence.

Firebirds scored several Super Shots late in the match, winning them their only quarter of the game, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap Fever had already worked hard to establish.

Score breakdown

Q1: Firebirds 13-19 Fever

Q2: Firebirds 16-17 Fever

Q3: Firebirds 13-19 Fever

Q4: Firebirds 18-16 Fever

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