The battle for top spot on the Super Netball ladder has been blown wide open after the Giants defeated fierce rivals NSW Swifts 59-55 in their relocated derby clash in Adelaide.
- The Giants replace the Swifts at the top of the ladder
- They will stay in first place at the end of round 11 if the Lightning lose to the Firebirds
- The Magpies claimed their second win over the Vixens this season
The two Sydney-based clubs produced a high-quality contest despite the ongoing uncertainty of another disrupted season, but a strong finish from the Giants saw them move ahead of the Swifts into provisional top spot on the ladder thanks to a superior percentage.
In the earlier game in Adelaide on Saturday, Collingwood Magpies triumphed over Melbourne Vixens 52-48.
Meanwhile, West Coast Fever defeated Adelaide Thunderbirds 69-44 in Perth in the late match on Saturday night.
Scores were level 29-29 at half-time between the Giants and Swifts following a fast-paced start that contained all the intensity and physical clashes expected from a local derby.
The deadlock continued throughout the third quarter until Jo Harten intervened with a pair of super shots as the Giants scored the final five points to take a 47-42 advantage into the fourth period.
The Swifts threw everything at their crosstown rivals in the closing minutes but the Giants held their composure to claim their biggest scalp of the season so far.
Harten top scored for the Giants with 30 goals and three super shots, while Maddie Hay (32 feeds, 19 goal assists) was also among the most impressive performers for the victors.
Sam Wallace led the scoring for the Swifts with 37 goals and two super shots.
Swifts midcourter Paige Hadley was a standout performer as she played all 60 minutes, switching between three positions, to finish with 29 feeds and 16 assists with zero turnovers.
Having already shifted to Melbourne due to coronavirus restrictions in the Greater Sydney region, the Swifts and Giants — as well as the Magpies and Vixens — left for Adelaide on Thursday as escalating COVID-19 cases in Victoria resulted in another lockdown.
The adjusted schedule also brought forward the second NSW derby of the season, with the winner having the opportunity to close round 11 in top spot, provided Queensland Firebirds can defeat the second-placed Sunshine Coast Lightning on Monday night.
Magpies win arm wrestle
The Vixens held a two-goal advantage after a scrappy opening half that saw the teams rack up 34 combined turnovers, with dominant play from opposing defenders Jodi-Ann Ward and Jo Weston providing many of the highlights.
But the Magpies inched their way to a 39-38 lead by the close of the third period, then shut down the Vixens’ attack in the final quarter to win their fourth game of the season and stay alive in the race for fourth spot on the ladder.
The result also sees the Magpies complete a season sweep over the Vixens for the first time, backing up their 16-goal win in round seven.
While the Magpies committed more general play turnovers than the Vixens, the efficiency of goal scorers Shimona Nelson (37 goals at 100 per cent accuracy) and Gabi Sinclair (13 goals and one super shot) proved the difference.
Mwai Kumwenda did the heavy lifting for the Vixens on the scoreboard with 31 goals and two super shots.
Despite the efforts of Weston and the continued development of midcourter Hannah Mundy (32 feeds, 17 goal assists), the defending champions remain anchored to the bottom of the ladder with a 2-8 record.
In Perth, the Fever made sure it kept pace with the top three sides via a convincing win over the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds were ahead 15-14 at quarter-time, but the Fever got on top in the second term to lead 34-25 at half-time.
The home side kept the Thunderbirds at bay in the final two quarters to run out comfortable winners.
Jhaniele Fowler was outstanding for the fourth-placed Fever, landing 57 goals from 58 attempts.
Lenize Potgieter had a perfect night on goal for the Thunderbirds, landing 26 from 26 shots.