Out to avenge their Round 3 loss to their home town counterparts, the Giants played clinical first and last quarters to win the battle for Sydney and regain the Carol Sykes Trophy, defeating the NSW Swifts 66-56.
The clash also saw the Giants play their first home game at Sydney’s International Convention Centre in front of a sell out crowd including many regional and rural junior representative teams, in Sydney for the NSW State Age Championships.
The Giants made their intentions clear from the start of play, pulling out to an early lead thanks to beautiful flow down court and smooth work between shooters Susan Pettitt and Jo Harten.
The Swifts struggled to get the ball close to the post, taking multiple passes back and forth in an effort to get Sam Wallace and Helen Housby into shooting position. The Giants took a six goal lead into the first break.
The break proved just what the Swifts needed, coming out with much needed fire power and creating turnovers in defence. The extra pressure they exerted frustrated the Giants into errors, with cross court balls floating through the air, ripe for the picking by the Swifts, with both Housby and Wing Attack Paige Hadley taking intercepts.
A telling statistic in this quarter was the load of goal assists being shared between the four attacking players for the Swifts, while for the Giants it was Kim Green shouldering almost the entire load, with other attackers struggling to get the ball into shooting position. The Swifts took out the quarter by one, trailing by five at the main break.
Continuing on from where they left off, the Swifts continued to push their more experienced counterparts in the third quarter, closing the gap to one goal before a much needed time out was called.
Pettitt, who had only scored one goal from two attempts in the first five minutes of the quarter, was substituted for Kristina Brice and the Giants found their feet to claw back a one goal win of the quarter and regain their six goal margin from the first quarter.
While the crowd strapped themselves in for a classic Swifts fightback and a tight final quarter, the Giants had other ideas. The surprise positional switch of Jamie-Lee Price and Serena Guthrie paid off, with the Giants taking three intercepts, four deflections and two rebounds for the quarter.
Add to that plenty tight and controlled attacking play and a more even spread of goal assists and it was, “Here come the Giants”, finishing with a four goal lead in the quarter and a phenomenal 10 goal win for the game, 66-56, securing three bonus points.
The story of the Giants’ Indigenous dress was a real highlight of the match day experience, with teenage designer Krystal Dallinger there to see her artwork in action.
Part of Sam Poolman’s ASPIRE Program at the Hunter Academy, Dallinger gave Poolman a Giants cap decorated with her own Indigenous artwork as a thank you gift for her mentorship. Poolman, blown away by her talent and passion, floated the idea of Dallinger creating their dress design to the Giants, who supported her 100%.
It was a special moment for the 16-year-old Hunter United netballer who was overcome with emotion when telling her story during the half time break, proudly showing off her design with tears in her eyes. It was a moment that capped off a special win for the Giants in their march for the 2018 Suncorp Super Netball premiership.
Giants 66 def NSW Swifts 56
(19-13, 36-31, 50-44, 66-56)
Player of the Match: Jo Harten (Giants)
Pettitt 19/21 90%
Harten 29/37 78%
Brice 18/21 86%
Wallace 40/45 89%
Housby 16/8 89%