NSW Swifts claimed their second derby victory of the season with a 59-55 comeback win over Giants Netball on Sunday after a stellar showing by Sarah Klau.
The goal keeper came up with four intercepts for the Super Netball clash and was integral to getting her side back into the contest in the third quarter when it trailed by five points.
Helen Housby was fantastic up front with a game-high 23 assists.
The Giants looked set to claim an upset win over the competition frontrunners in a high-intensity affair, but the hosts were able to keep their composure and come home strong in the final quarter.
Sam Wallace continued her strong form with 48 points, while Australian Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett performed valiantly in a losing side with 34 of her own.
Swifts coach Briony Akle was particularly impressed with the performance of her English star Housby, who stepped up when it counted in a side that was missing some key players including captain Maddy Proud.
“We always knew we were going to have to get the ball to the players who had been around for a bit longer with some girls missing, and she really stood up today for us, especially at the end when we really needed it,” she said.
It was a work in progress all week and we just had to tell ourselves that we were going to be OK without Maddy despite what the outside voices were saying and Helen was a key part of that.’’
Kim Green was strong in a beaten side with 21 assists, and the Giants will take plenty of positives out of the game after being the better side for at least three quarters.
The Swifts will travel to Adelaide next weekend to play the seventh-placed Thunderbirds, while the Giants will look to regroup for the match in Sydney on Saturday night against the third-placed Melbourne Vixens in what looms as a must-win game.
Vixens comeback cements top-four spot
A spirited second-half comeback built on brick-wall defence has sparked Melbourne Vixens into life and consigned the winless Queensland Firebirds to a 71-60 Super Netball defeat.
Led by star goalkeeper Emily Mannix, who had a game-high five interceptions, the Vixens consolidated their top-four spot while piling on the misery for the injury-ravaged Firebirds.
The hosts led 35-32 at the main break but crumbled in the second half of their indigenous round match at the Queensland State Netball Centre.
It was a particularly cruel blow for Firebirds centre Jemma Mi Mi, the only indigenous player in the Super Netball competition, who would have been hoping to celebrate the special day with a much-needed victory in front of her home fans.
Player-of-the-match Caitlin Thwaites potted 43 goals from 47 attempts, while goal attack Tegan Philip chipped in with 28 from 33 to silence the home crowd.
“The first half and the home crowd here in Brisbane, they were definitely right behind their charges so we had to kick into another gear,” Thwaites said.
“From the start I thought we put it all out there, but we managed to find another gear in that third quarter and we have to find the consistency to be able to do that.”
Firebirds attackers Gretel Tippett and Lenize Potgieter were superb in the first half, considering it was only their second week together as a combination.
South African Potgieter was parachuted into the side for last week’s loss to NSW Swifts as a replacement for star goal shooter Romelda Aiken (leg injury).
However, the Vixens dramatically strengthened their defence after the break to suffocate the in-form Tippett as the Firebirds became increasingly frustrated and forced into errors in attack.