Date: May 06 2012
Join Kathryn Wicks from noon for the NSW Swifts v Central Pulse.
PREVIEW: Good afternoon. For the first time this season the NSW Swifts will start an ANZ championship match as favourites - the Pulse have never won a game in Australia. The Swifts wil be disadvantaged though through the withdrawal of Kimberlee Green with a foot injury after 101 consecutive games.
The Swifts are coming off the bye and are 2-2 while the Pulse were beaten by four goals by the Mystics last week and are 2-3 in what has been a very tight season so far.
Swifts coach Lisa Beehag spoke at the club’s annual lunch this week about the closeness of the competition, attributing much of it to substantial player movement in the off-season.
The biggest problem for the Swifts today will be the Pulse’s Australian shooter Caitlin Thwaites. They have also brought NZ internationals Joline Henry and Katrina Grant to Sydney so history may not count for much today.
This is how I would expect the Swifts to start:
GS Pratley; GA Dziwoki; WA Guthrie; C Ware; WD May; GD Gerrard; GK Mkoloma.
But Beehag is Mrs Unpredictable herself. She says predictable netball doesn’t wash with video review technology – and I am sure today will be no different.
I’ll have her starting seven, and Robyn Broughton’s, shortly.
PREMATCH: Swifts: GS Pratley; GA Wild; WA Ware; C Guthrie; WD May; GD Gerrard; GK Letton
Plenty of surprises there.
Pulse: GS Thwaites; GA Griffin; WA Milner Olsen C Lees; GD Selby Rickit; GK Grant.
No surprises there.
We'll be underway shortly.
Gerrard does the prematch rev-up for NSW and Lees will get us underway.
Q1 2min: 1-1 with Thwaites and Wild on the board.
Q1 4min: Swifts missing Green around the edge of the shooting circle but Pratley and Guthrie working hard. Turnover gets Pratley a shot and it's Swifts 4-3
Q1 6min: Beehag says a good start, sticking to game plan. Sam May working hard in defence. Swifts 6-4
Q1 timeout: Thwaites ankle or foot is bothering her. Swifts are doing well to cover the loss of Green, though I've seen a lot more held calls in previous games. Pratley and Wild working hard to support midcourters in attack; May in defence. Thwaites back up. Swifts 6-5.
Q1 8 min: Great turnover by Letton - big call for her to start over Mkoloma but she is doing well so far. Swifts 7-5
Q1 10min: Turnovers at both ends but Wild and Pratley continuing to capitalise Swifts 10-6
Q1 13 min: Ware having to work hard to get passes away and holding the ball up cleverly. Swifts 11-7
QUARTER TIME: The Swifts haven't got a bad player on the court - despite the surprising starting seven. Beehag's rotation policy is working again, with the old hands Gerrard and Ware leading from the front. Swifts 13-9
Q2 2 min: Pratley on fire today 8/8 Swifts 15-9
Q2 4 min: A lot of talk about Mkoloma being left on the bench for her high penalty count in recent games. Really I think it's just to give Letton a good run. Sure we will see Mkoloma before the end of the game. Gerrard to Pratley and it's Swifts 16-9.
Q2 6 min/timeout: The Swifts are very solid today, Gerrard really stepping it up in the midcourt and controlling the game. Thwaites not having the impact we expected and has also missed a few. Pratley 11/12 Wild 7/9 Thwaites 5/8 Griffin 4/5 Swifts 18-9
Q2 8 min: Pulse try Griffin off for Gupwell to control Gerrard. Swifts 18-12
Q2 9 min: Turnover to Pulse after Pratley tried to pass off to Wild but they have regained it. This time she shoots, 12/13; and it's Swifts 19-12
Q2 11 min: Swifts keep the pressure up across the court and Pulse pass goes wild. Speaking of Wild, Amorette Wild will be enjoying an extended run today. Her pace is impressive and she has 8/10. Swifts 21-12
Q2 13 min: Good rebound for Gerrard as Gupwell misses. Swifts have hit five straight Swifts 23-12
HALFTIME: Grant working hard for the Pulse in the circle but it's Swifts 24-15 and well in control at halftime. Pratley has 15/16 and Thwaites starting to work her way in a little with 10/13. Gerrard says Swifts just have to do the same thing in the second half to win.
Green on the sideline is an odd sight to see. Her run of 101 consecutive matches - not including 40 odd Tests - was extraordinary but the Swifts have done well to cover her absence today, Gerrard in particular.
Dom Bossi reports from the court: It's not been a game for the purists but the Swifts are doing enough to maintain a comfortable lead. Beehag does not need to make chanegs but Dziwoki and Sutton should get some game time.
Q3 2 min: Borger on for Pratley, Dziwoki on for Wild, Mkoloma on for Gerrard. I know Beehag likes unpredictable but that is a big call taking off her best shooter and best defender. Swifts 25-16
Q3 4 min: Big intercept from Ware just as Pulse started to gain some momentum. Game getting a little sloppy after those changes. Swifts 25-19
Q3 6 min: Borger sinks a couple in a row. Players don't like sitting on the bench says Beehag, explaining her changes. I've run out of Pringles. Letton takes a tumble. Swifts 27-21
Q3 8 min: Turnovers Pulse 14 Swifts 12. Dziwoki having influence quite quickly, Borger has great presence & strength. Defenders keep at it and Swifts lead 29-21
Q3 11 min: Same old, Swifts pretty clinical now despite all the change. Swifts 32-23
Q3 13 min: First penalty against Mkoloma and Pulse get one back Swifts 32-25
THREE QUARTER TIME: Grant gets a late turnover and the Pulse go into the break with the momentum. Just five goals in it now. Will be very interesting to see if Beehag is going to leave her bench players out there. The Pulse won that quarter 12-8. Swifts 32-27.
A reader asks why the NZ teams have stupid names. Not sure ours are that much better... they're birds after all.
Q4 1 min: Lees back to centre for Pulse. Gerrard back on, unsurprisingly, Mkoloma off. Letton stays at GK; Sutton on for May at WD. Pratley and Wild back on; Ware to centre, Hadley on at WA. Lisa Beehag is making me exhausted. Good luck Robyn Broughton with all that. Swifts 33-28
Q4 3 min: Paige Hadley is on her home debut here, called in to cover Green's injury. Just four goals in it now. Swifts 33-29
Q4 5 min: Intercepts Pulse 10 Swifts 6. Pulse fired up now, they know it isn't gone. Maybe too many changes too soon for Swifts. Pratley cleverly draws the contact and makes it 35-30
Q4 7 min: Pratley sends it long. Chance for Pulse to capitalise. Broughton not happy her side hasn't made the most of its chances. Concedes she needs a WA. Very happy with her defence. Swifts 36-32
Q4 9 min: Pulse get to within three goals. Henry working hard to deny Swifts now. Swifts really can't get into the circle. Hadley really struggling. Thwaites sinks it and there's just two goals in it Swifts 36-34.
Q4 10 min: This is insane - but it is netball. The Swifts had this in the bag at halftime but the Pulse are hanging in there. Swifts 36-35
Q4 12 min: Big rebound Letton. Pratley misses a long shot and the game remains in the balance. Grant has six rebounds. Swifts 36-35
Q4 TIMEOUT: Wild takes a knock, blood rule timeout. Beehag laying down the law. Katrina Grant just extraordinary there to deny Swifts several chances. Game on 2:55 to play. Swifts 37-35
Q4 13 min: Pratley steadies after good pass from Ware. Swifts 38-36
FULLTIME: Gerrard and Letton terrific and Pratley super cool at the other end. Swifts win 39-36
Swifts win to go 3-2 for the season but really should have done it a lot more easily than that. It is good that Beehag has faith in her bench but I'm pretty sure Green (injured), Gerrard and Pratley all off the court at the same time is a bad idea. Nice start from Guthrie in Green's place today; Letton terrific at GK, keeping Thwaites to 30/37. Day belonged to the GDs, with Gerrard the Swifts' best and Grant for the Pulse.
Pratley 20/22 Wild 11/15 Dziwoki 3/5 Borger 5/6; Thwaites 30/37 Gupwell 2/6 Griffin 4/5.
Thanks for joining me today. I'll be back next Sunday for the big game between the Swifts and Vixens. Hopefully Lisa Beehag will have Kim Green back - and maybe fewer surprises.
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