Sam Wallace nailed 44 goals to sink the Giants. Picture: AAP
Sam Wallace nailed 44 goals to sink the Giants. Picture: AAP

Heartbreak inspires import’s masterclass

The Swifts have claimed early bragging rights as the premier NSW team in Super Netball with a surprising 63-56 win over the Giants in the first local derby of the new season.

The Giants had hopes it would be the Cailtin Bassett show with the Diamonds captain playing her first game in orange after a pre-season interrupted by a fractured forearm.

But instead it was the Sam Wallace extravaganza with the high-flying international from Trinidad producing a show-stopping 46 goals from 49 attempts at 94 per cent.

The deadly accurate Wallace - whose father suffered a stroke over Easter - inspired her team to the seven-goal victory.

"It came from my heart. I wanted to do my dad proud," said a tearful Wallace of her father Hendrickson.

"The team has put their arm around me in a giant hug (since the stroke). I love them all. No one else except them knew about this.

"He said 'you play, make me proud, don't come home' but I wanted to come home.

"My two brothers are holding the fort so he is happy for me (to stay and play) so I am happy if he's happy."

While Wallace played for her father and the team that has supported her through recent tough times, the Swifts at large played for pride.

"There will be some sore bodies tomorrow," said Swifts captain Maddy Proud after receiving the Carole Sykes memorial trophy for the win.

"We couldn't ask for a better start to the season but this is just step one.

"Hopefully at the end of the season we'll be holding another trophy."

The Swifts claimed the first bonus points of the game with a 14-12 opening period which also saw young Giant Maddie Hay make her Super Netball debut as a brief injury replacement for Jamie-Lee Price and Bassett her debut in orange.

The Giants took the lead for the first time at the 20 minute mark before taking the second quarter 18-14 for a 30-28 halftime lead.

After 30 minutes it was Swifts import Sam Wallace who lead the scoring with 18 from 19 with Giants shooter Bassett netting 16 from 19.

 

Maddy Proud with the derby trophy. Picture: Getty
Maddy Proud with the derby trophy. Picture: Getty

 

The speed picked up in the third with Wallace producing a 14-goal haul which put the Swifts back in control at 46-44 heading into the final 15 minutes.

Wallace continued to lead by example with the Swifts running out convincing winners.

The Swifts were below full strength after a double injury blow ahead of the opener when England star Natalie Haythornthwaite and defender Kate Eddy were both ruled out.

Haythornthwaite is suffering from a hamstring injury sustained in a physical practice match against the Giants, the extent of which is still being assessed by medical staff.

Eddy is nursing a groin strain but is expected back in round two for the Swifts match against the Adelaide Thunderbirds at the Quaycentre.

 

The Swifts celebrate their win. Picture: Getty
The Swifts celebrate their win. Picture: Getty

 

The first round has helped write the early form guide for the season with two teams - the Vixens and Magpies - claiming early favouritism to make the top four.

Missing from the early tipping are defending champions Sunshine Coast Lightning after the rejigged side crashed to their worst loss in Super Netball history with their 57-43 defeat at the hands of the Magpies.

It was the lowest score ever recorded by the two-time champions.

The Vixens were equally emphatic on Saturday in announcing their intentions for the season with a 73-61 win over the Queensland Firebirds.

Key to their success was Vixens shooter Caitlin Thwaites' impressive haul of 50 goals from 51 attempts.

The Vixens on Sunday will host the Giants in the second round of the season.

 

Heavy contact between Maddy Proud and Jamie-Lee Price. Picture: AAP
Heavy contact between Maddy Proud and Jamie-Lee Price. Picture: AAP
News Corp Australia


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