The NSW Swifts have bounced back from consecutive losses courtesy of on-song goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites to notch a 65-52 victory over the Southern Steel in the trans-Tasman netball competition.
Thwaites (32 goals from 35 attempts) nailed her first 21 attempts as the Swifts raced away to a 37-24 half time lead in front of 2678 fans Canberra’s AIS Arena on Friday.
She was subbed off with the match all-but won in the third quarter, but goal attack Susan Pratley (23 from 28) ensured there was no major loss of momentum against the New Zealand side.
“She (Thwaites) was crazy. Our combination is new but we’re developing quite well,” Pratley said.
“To have such a strong target back there takes the pressure off.”
A wide-grinned Thwaites struggled to recall the last time she started a match with 21 straight goals.
“It was so great to have them bringing it to the circle edge,” she said.
“It was a really great drive to the top and we made them pay.”
Swifts captain Kim Green provided her shooters with the bulk of their opportunities, finishing with a match-high 19 goal assists.
Green said it was a marked improvement over their last two performances, which saw her side go down to the competition leading Melbourne Vixens and the fourth-placed Queensland Firebirds.
“Last week we had a big in-depth conversation after the game, there were a lot of things we did wrong,” she said.
“The want for the ball was not there … today, we were much better.”
Steel goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid (42 from 45) was kept relatively quiet compared to her usual lofty standards due to some dogged defence by Sharni Layton and Sonia Mkoloma.
She finished strong with 14 goals in the final quarter, but it was too little, too late.
The victory keeps the Swifts up in third place ahead of next Sunday’s match against the Melbourne Vixens.
Meanwhile, the Steel head to Auckland to take on the Northern Mystics.