Sophie Fawns has led the New South Wales Swifts to a third grand-final berth in five years, as the Swifts won a nail-biting 65-64 preliminary final against the defending premiers West Coast Fever.
The Swifts will now take on the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final on Saturday, and looking to grab their eighth title, while the Thunderbirds will be gunning for their first title in 10 years.
With five minutes to go in last night’s match, the Swifts were trailing the Fever by three points. However, Fawns secured two super shots and netted a goal with nine seconds left, to secure victory. Earlier the 19-year-old deflected a loose ball from a Fever offensive, allowing Swifts forward Helen Hously to slot a decisive super goal.
Sophie Fawns take a bow👏
— Suncorp Super Netball (@SuperNetball) July 1, 2023
Swifts defender Sarah Klau told Fox Sports: “We knew it was going to be a tough challenge, and it came down to the last few seconds. We knew we had to be at our best to win, and we did that.”
The Swifts co-captain, Maddy Proud, echoed the sentiment, adding: “We had that belief, we knew what we needed to do, and it was a beautiful game to be part of.”
Fawns successfully scored seven super shots, which allowed the Swifts to gain an upper hand in a do-or-die clash against the defending champions.
Housby’s 25-point game played a big part, but the Fever were relentless, and Jhaniele Fowler in her 150th game dominated, scoring 55 of their 64 points.
Fever captain Courtney Bruce racked up 12 gains and six rebounds, allowed her team to dominate the first three-quarters of the match.
— Imdad (@shitchat_imdad) July 1, 2023
The Fever set the tempo as they led the Swifts 19-15 after the first quarter, intercepting three times to put scoreboard pressure on the Swifts. Both teams failed to miss a shot in the first 10 minutes in an offensive frenzy.
Sunday Aryang and Bruce continued their defensive pressure on the Swift’s attack in the second quarter, both deflecting and gaining possession from Swift’s mistakes. This, combined with Fowler’s consistent goal-scoring, allowed the Fever to lead by six points. But, the Swifts foreshadowed their threat in the power five, as they scored two super shots, to bring the game back to two by halftime.
The third quarter started off similar to the first, with both teams going goal for goal. The Swifts were unable to find points that would give them the lead as Bruce continued to deflect and turnover missed super shots.
With the Swifts trailing by five, an early turnover allowed the minor premiers to net back-to-back goals in the first minute of the final quarter, but as the game headed to the final power five, the Swifts shifted momentum, allowing them to get over the line in a thrilling one-point victory.
— Here If You Need – Netball Podcast (@IfYouNeedTIS) July 1, 2023
You can watch the July 8 final on Kayo and Foxtel at 7pm AEST.
Main image screenshot courtesy of Kayo Freebies.