The Trinidad Guardian / T&T’s goal shoot Samantha Wallace was sparingly used as New South Wales Swifts dropped a 57-60 loss to Queensland Firebirds in a tense Suncorp Super Netball clash in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday.
New South Wales stole victory from the jaws of defeat in Round One, and threatened to do so again here – closing to within two goals late in the final quarter, but there were to be no heroics from the underdogs this time, with the Firebirds able to close it out before a large and vocal crowd packed into the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
The 24-year-old Wallace started in the attack along with England international and Commonwealth Games gold medal winning hero, goal attack Helen Housby.
However, at the first interval, the Firebirds with Jamaican Romelda Aiken and Gretel Tippett in the attack led 16-14 despite Wallace’s ten goals from 11 attempts, and Housby four from five.
In a tactical move Wallace was removed after scoring three of four attempts in the second quarter and replaced by Sophine Garbin who tallied one of two attempts while Housby got eight of ten, but once again the host won the quarter, 13-12 for a 29-26 half-time score.
With the T&T standout on the bench for the start of the third quarter, the Firebirds began to dominate the match in every aspect except the scoreboard in the third term, with the Swifts doggedly hanging in just like they did in their first meeting of the season with Garbin and Housby, both scoring seven from nine attempts to trail 44-40 with one quarter left to play.
The Firebirds needed turnovers as the Swifts came home strong and their former skipper and Samsung Diamond Laura Geitz delivered and despite losing the final quarter 16-17 the Firebirds held on for the win.
Aiken ended with 43 goals from 49 attempts for the winners and Gretel Tippett chipped in with 17 from 18 attempts while Housby was 23 of 30 and Garbin 19 of 23 for the Swifts, now with a 5-3 record and 33 points in the sixth spot.
With the win and three bonus points, the Firebirds improved to 5-3 on the season and 39 points, four behind West Coast Fever (6-2) while Giants Netball (5-1-2) with 38 points, and Melbourne Vixens (5-3) with 36 points, complete the top four playoff spots.
Sunshine Coast Lightning is fifth with 34 points with a 3-1-4 record while Magpies Netball (2-6) and Adelaide Thunderbirds (0-8) complete the table with 26 and two points respectively.