Swifts determined to prove first derby win was no fluke
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Swifts determined to prove first derby win was no fluke

What started as a friendly rivalry between Sydney's two Super Netball clubs has rapidly morphed into something far more significant ahead of Sunday's derby, following the Swifts' shock win over the star-studded Giants in round three.

That was the first time the Swifts had downed their powerful rivals and while Julie Fitzgerald's side has recovered since then to sit second on the ladder, it's a result that still rankles her playing group.

Celebration time: The Swifts enjoy their victory over the Giants in round three, but some have suggested they celebrated a little too much.

Celebration time: The Swifts enjoy their victory over the Giants in round three, but some have suggested they celebrated a little too much.

Photo: AAP

Giants players still feel it's a game they should have won and look back on the match as one they let slip, rather than one in which they were outplayed by the Swifts.

Sunday's rematch at the unfamiliar surrounds of the International Convention Centre allows an opportunity for revenge and a chance for the Giants to consolidate their spot in the top four.

For the Swifts, it's a must-win clash or they can effectively kiss their Super Netball finals aspirations goodbye. It also provides an avenue for validation, to prove that their round three win over the Giants wasn't a one-off.

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"If they've got a gripe with us being fluky, then we'll just have to prove on Sunday that that's not the case," Swifts captain Abbey McCulloch said.

"If you look back at the records, we won, so they can think that if they like. That's not our problem, that's their problem to be thinking that.

"A couple of teams weren't happy with the way we celebrated our first couple of wins. It wasn't just the fact that we beat the Giants, it was the fact that we had two wins out of our first three games.

"We'd had a bit of a tumultuous off-season; we had a few changes to our playing group and our support staff. Just to get those wins was a really big stepping stone for us."

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The Giants and Swifts boast one of the most unique rivalries in professional sport.

Both clubs are administered by Netball NSW and they are about as close geographical as any professional sporting clubs anywhere in the world.

Their change rooms are barely two metres apart and many training facilities are shared each week, although the Giants have the advantage of being able to go across the road and utilise GWS' AFL training base.

Super rivalry: The Swifts and the Giants will go head-to-head in Sydney on Sunday.

Super rivalry: The Swifts and the Giants will go head-to-head in Sydney on Sunday.

Photo: AAP

Once a powerhouse of Australian netball, the Swifts slumped to just a three-win season last year as the Giants, boasting ex-Swifts Kim Green and Susan Pettitt, advanced to the Super Netball grand final in their first season.

Four ladder positions and 12 competition points separate the two sides in 2018, but the Swifts are still clutching to local bragging rights after their thrilling one-point win earlier this year.

"I just rewatched it [the game against the Swifts] then and it was horrifying to watch," Giants captain Green said on Wednesday.

"We just played so badly and they played so well. In those tight situations we're normally a team that can get over the line and we just didn't.

"Sometimes that's just maybe thinking that we've done it before, we're able to get ourselves out of tricky situations, so we'll be able to get ourselves out of it, and we left it too late. We just didn't put our foot down.

"As soon as that game finished I remember just thinking I just want to play that game all over again.

"It doesn't sit well. You don't ever want to lose, but especially to another NSW team. I know for a couple of us it's our old club ... I always want to beat that team that I used to play for."

Should the Swifts secure a double with another win on Sunday, the Giants will live to fight another day.

But McCulloch's side doesn't have that luxury.

"If we want to make finals, we've got to win this week," McCulloch said.

"We've put ourselves in a bit of a sticky situation leading into finals, especially after such a really great start to the season.

"It's just about finishing off in those critical moments. We've just been making some silly errors across the court when we really need to be scoring goals.

"It's just about finding that next gear. We're working hard out there, we just need to finish off those critical moments when we need to put scoreboard pressure on."