Despite a slow start, we got the job done against a fast-finishing NSW Swifts side at John Cain Arena on Saturday night to reclaim the Sargeant-McKinnis Cup (59-53).
The win marks our fourth victory on the trot.
We got off to a sluggish start, coughing up a couple of turnovers as the Swifts established a handy four-goal buffer in the opening minutes of the first term. Em Mannix came on to replace Olivia Lewis, but Helen Housby proved hard to combat inside the circle with her classy movement and accuracy to post. Kiera Austin slotted a much-needed super shot in the last 20 seconds of the quarter to reduce the deficit to five goals heading into quarter time.
We tinkered with the line-up coming out of quarter time with Kate Eddy pulling on the wing defence bib, Watson shuffling back to wing attack and Kate Moloney returning to centre. Momentum started to shift into our favour with Jo Weston streaming through for a huge intercept as we culled the margin to two goals. The pendulum swung back the other way with Kelly Singleton impressing under the post while Maddy Proud and Paige Hadley got down to business out the front.
It was goal for goal to start the third before some Moloney-inspired magic saw us pick up a turnover and hit the front for the first time in the match. Mwai Kumwenda started to assert herself on Sarah Klau as Austin got busy, putting in the hard yards out front. Weston’s long arms wreaked havoc as we pushed out to a four-goal lead but that was shortlived, the Swifts biting back to get within one goal.
With the game on the line, we put the foot down nailing the first three goals of the final term. MJ picked up a couple of crucial rebounds as Eddy impressed with a huge intercept on the centre pass to push our lead out to eight goals. She didn’t stop with just one intercept for the term, the former Swift picking up another moments later as we pulled away to a 10-goal lead. A couple of super shots from Housby saw the Swifts claw their way back into the contest, but it was too little too late.
Head coach Simone McKinnis was pleased with the way the side was able to grind out the match and the performance of Eddy once injected into the match at quarter time.
“It wasn’t the start we were after but I am absolutely rapt with the finish. It was tight at three quarter time but to finish the way that we did, I’m really happy with that,” she said.
“I think Kate Eddy did a great job, she got her hands to lots of ball, she hassled, she took intercepts and drove it out. It was really good to see her out there doing that.”
We have a week to recover and prepare for our Round 12 match against Sunshine Coast Lightning at John Cain Arena, on Sunday 29 May. Join us to celebrate First Nations Round – tickets are available now via Ticketek.