A young gun had a moment to regret when she arguably threw her team’s Super Netball finals hopes away with an unfortunate brain fade.
There’s only one round remaining in the Super Netball season and the finals make-up is still up in the air.
A young gun’s extremely costly brain fade, the battle for the last finals spot and a look in the crystal ball for the Diamonds’ Commonwealth Games squad. There’s plenty to unpack in this week’s edition of Super Netball’s talking points.
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Swifts’ rookie error ‘the worst decision in the world’
The NSW Swifts have their work cut out to make finals after they suffered a heartbreaking 73-72 loss against the West Coast Fever on Sunday.
With just seconds left on the clock, the Swifts had a chance to tie the game 73-73 and send it to extra time when rookie shooter Sophie Fawns grabbed a rebound.
But instead of shooting an easy one-pointer to level the scores, Fawns passed the ball back to veteran Helen Housby, who had to attempt a two-point Super Shot and go for the win.
Housby just missed and the Swifts will now have beat the Queensland Firebirds this weekend and hope other results fall their way if they are to sneak into fourth spot and secure a finals berth.
“That was an absolute disastrous end for the NSW Swifts,” Australian netball legend Cath Cox described the dramatic final play in commentary on Fox Netball.
“All they needed was that one shot under the post. Sophie Fawns had to shoot it. All that pressure on Helen Housby unnecessarily, they should have got themselves to extra time.”
Cox believes Fawns should have just gone for the one-point shot, and put the brain fade down to inexperience.
“They absolutely should have one for the one,” Cox told news.com.au.
“She made the world’s worst decision in that moment. Having said that, she’s only a rookie, she’s young and she was probably oblivious to the score and oblivious to the time and everything else.
“If that was Helen Housby or someone else with a bit more experience that wouldn’t have happened.
“I think the ball was just in the wrong hands at the wrong time and I honestly don’t think she knew what was going on at that point — because the smartest thing to do and anyone would have done it — was to take the one.”
Last finals spot still up for grabs
The Melbourne Vixens, West Coast Fever and Giants are all guaranteed a spot in the finals but the last place is still up for grabs heading into the final round of the season.
The Collingwood Magpies are currently in fourth after their win over the Sunshine Coast Lightning but the Firebirds, Thunderbirds and Swifts are all on 20 points and could steal fourth place with a win.
Cox doesn’t think the Magpies can hold on to fourth and predicts the winner of the game between the Swifts and Firebirds could clinch the last finals position.
“That last team could be anybody,” she said.
“I was running through the scenarios for finals and it’s a bit crazy how many teams are still in the mix.
“I don’t know about the Magpies. I feel like they’re too inconsistent this year. If they do back up and have a good win against a side like the Vixens, they deserve to be in finals.
“But I don’t see that happening. I feel like they have one good win then they’re a little bit off they week after so for me they’re not convincing.
“I reckon it’s going to be down to the Firebirds-Swifts game. I reckon the winner of that is probably in a better position. I don’t know, I think the Firebirds might sneak in, that’s my gut feel at the moment.”
Intrigue over Diamonds squad for Comm Games
Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich is expected to name her trimmed down squad for the Commonwealth Games in the next week or so and there is plenty of intrigue as to what it will look like.
Swifts co-captain Maddy Proud and young Firebirds defender Ruby Bakewell-Doran were both added to the Diamonds’ initial 18-player squad in recognition of their outstanding Super Netball seasons.
Cox argues their inclusions suggest they are in Marinkovich’s plans for the Commonwealth Games and could trigger some changes to the squad in the midcourt and defence.
“My gut is you don’t select people a week out from the team being announced unless you plan on choosing them,” she said.
“Otherwise leave it, there’s no real point to it. My gut is one or both of them have a very good chance of getting selected in this team, which is pretty cool because they’ve both had amazing seasons.
“I think Ruby’s probably had a better season than two of the other goal defenders in the squad — Sunday Aryang and Maddy Turner — she’s playing better than them. And I reckon Maddy Proud is in better form than a couple of the players in similar positions in the squad as well.”
Cox, a legendary goal shooter, believe the lack of a standout specialist GS is a slight area of concern for Australia heading into the Commonwealth Games.
She would like to see the dynamic Gretel Bueta line up at goal shooter with Steph Wood at goal attack.
“That’s obviously not Gretel Bueta’s position of choice but I think if you’re going to put the strongest seven on the court, that’s what you’d have to go with,” Cox said.
“Having said that, Cara Koenen’s come into her own the last couple of rounds as well.
“So my shooting end would definitely be Cara Koenen, Gretel Bueta, Steph Wood and then I don’t know. If there’s any weakness in that Australian side it’s that fourth shooting position and who they pick.”
Super Netball Round 14 games
Giants vs Sunshine Coast Lightning — Saturday 7pm AEST
West Coast Fever vs Adelaide Thunderbirds — Sunday 2pm AEST
NSW Swifts vs Queensland Firebirds — Sunday 4pm AEST
Collingwood Magpies vs Melbourne Vixens — Monday 1pm AEST