Super Netball 2022: Firebirds beat Sydney Swifts, score, result, Ruby Bakewell-Doran, highlights

Having lost both State of Origin clashes last year, the Queensland Firebirds returned to the winner’s circle in today’s re-match, inflicting a 13-point defeat against the NSW Swifts.

Having lost both State of Origin clashes last year, the Queensland Firebirds returned to the winner’s circle in today’s re-match, inflicting a 13-point defeat against the NSW Swifts.

As a result, the Firebirds will hold their position in the top four, while last year’s premiers could well slump to the bottom of the ladder by the time the weekend’s fixtures are done.

In one of the scrappiest starts possible, both teams piled on almost as many turnovers as goals in the opening quarter.

In a litany of basic errors and stunning intercepts, the ball swung from end to end in a term that included 29 goals but a record 23 turnovers.

Newcomer Firebirds’ defender and MVP Ruby Bakewell-Doran got under Helen Housby’s skin early on, picking off five gains across the game.

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The incredibly clean youngster, who is playing in just her first contracted season, showed why she could be a surprise inclusion in the Diamonds’ squad in the not too distant future.

At the opposite end of the court, Donnell Wallam continued to press her case for selection into the Commonwealth Games 12, holding strongly in the circle for 56 goals during the game.

In an attempt to nullify her influence, goal keeper Sarah Klau kept on the move, and picked off four loose balls as she shut down crosscourt options.

Recently snubbed for Diamonds’ duties, Firebirds’ centre Kim Ravaillion overcame a quiet match last week, to dictate play as part of a strong team showing.

Throughout the match, Swifts coach Briony Akle swung the changes in an attempt to find a winning formula, but her former teammate and now coaching foe, Megan Anderson, ran with an unchanged line up as the pair attempted to outwit each other.

Eight goals down at half time, the Swifts were given another rev up by their coach and started the second half with a renewed sense of purpose and a thoroughly shuffled line up.

Teigan O’Shannassy was injected as keeper for height, the remaining defenders moved forwards, and the midcourt switched.

The changes didn’t impact significantly, and the Firebirds pushed out to a strong win, leaving the Swifts with more questions than answers.

Star forward Gretel Bueta didn’t put up the shooting volume that fans usually see from her, but her athletic movement was magical as she took on more of a feeding role into the dominant Wallam.

For the Swifts, a dominant Maddy Proud was given far too much room to move early on, hitting the circle edge and taking on the bulk of the feeding. However her co-captain, Paige Hadley, was far quieter than usual and moved on and off the bench.

TROLLING CONDEMNED

Last week’s niggly match between Fawns and Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Kate Walsh saw the latter widely trolled on social media.

Netball Australia released a strong statement condemning the bullying, but it can’t have been an easy time for Fawns either. She responded with 15/21 goals, but had another difficult task against English international Eboni Usoro-Brown.

TRANSPARENCY NEEDED

There’s been widespread calls for clubs to provide greater transparency around selection, particularly when players are missing through injury or Covid “protocols” – whatever that may mean!

It’s a fine line between preserving an athlete’s right to medical privacy, and providing enough information for media and viewers to make informed commentary.

At the moment, news seems to be released on a case-by-case, or club by club, basis, without an overriding policy that has clearer guidelines.

The Swifts responded by noting that goal keeper and Diamonds superstar Sarah Klau had her wrist strapped for protection only, rather than to manage an ongoing injury.

GOALS WINS GAMES

On paper the Firebirds and Swifts have been evenly poised in all metrics, other than two crucial measures.

The Queensland team have picked off significantly more gains, and are far more polished in the circle. Across the season they have dropped in 449 goals compared to the Swifts 331, at a much higher rate of accuracy.

FEVER TOO GOOD FOR THUNDERBIRDS

West Coast Fever overcame a desperate final-quarter challenge from Adelaide Thunderbirds to triumph 60-51 in Mile End on Saturday night.

The victory lifted the Fever back to the top of the Super Netball ladder, although Melbourne Vixens have a game in hand and can regain the position, while the Thunderbirds have dropped their past five games.

“Being at the half-way mark of the season, we need to be really content we have five wins in the bag, and the two losses we were nowhere near our best,” Fever coach Dan Ryan said.

“We have had a hectic travel schedule in the first half of the season and have got through it really well, and it places us really well for the second half of the season.

“I felt we had momentum for most parts of the game. There were a couple of times when we lost a bit of focus and got a little bit loose defensively that opened the door for the Thunderbirds to come back in and challenge us.”

The Fever surprised with their starting line-up, opting for Emma Cosh as goal attack alongside scoring machine Jhaniele Fowler.

Better known for her work at wing attack, Cosh rewarded the decision with fearless shooting from long range, including the only two-point super shot for the quarter.

Leading by three at quarter-time, Fever defenders Courtney Bruce, Sunday Aryang and Stacey Francis-Bayman got to work in the second quarter, creating havoc for the Thunderbirds and forcing turnover ball.

It prompted the Thunderbirds, who added just one goal in the first five minutes of the period, to bench goal shooter Lenize Potgieter and bring Tippah Dwan into the contest.

The visitors were able to convert the flood of opportunities to escape to a 10-goal lead on the back of a dominant display from Fowler under the post.

The Thunderbirds prevented the score from completely blowing out of control when Dwan nailed two super shots and Georgie Horjus hit a two-pointer to trail by nine at half-time.

Former Thunderbirds shooter Sasha Glasgow, who missed the previous round due to health and safety protocols, was sent into the Fever goal circle for the third quarter, while Jess Anstiss was given action at centre.

There was improvement in the control of the ball in the attack end for the Thunderbirds in the third quarter and they asked questions of their opponents.

And the Fever had the answers. Defensively, they pressured the Thunderbirds with relentless commitment and when in possession, moved the ball with conviction to stretch the buffer to 14.

Thunderbirds coach Tania Obst has used her bench extensively this season, and the trend continued with more changes for the final quarter.

The revamp had an impact as the Thunderbirds charged back to get within six goals of the Fever.

“To keep the Fever to 60 goals is a mighty effort,” Obst said. “Our defensive game is holding up.

“I’m really proud of the effort. We’ve had two tough weeks on the track and their commitment to keep coming up week-in, week-out, is really commendable.

“Their effort is certainly there, as well as their attitude to what we want them to put out on court.”

Originally published as Firebirds leave defending champs in world of hurt; Fever overcome Thunderbirds: Netball wrap

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