Round 12 preview: Crucial clash against Swifts to test finals contention

30 days ago

Round 12 against the NSW Swifts is shaping up to be a critical match for the Magpies, as they look to retain finals hopes for the remainder of the season.

Sophie Taylor

The scenario:

With finals chances hanging in the balance, it really is do or die for the Magpies this week when they suit up to take on the NSW Swifts.

The Pies' percentage is not much lower than the Swifts or GIANTS, so a win this week would go a long way as the race heats up.

Realistically, the Pies need to regain the confidence and winning mentality that saw them claim upset wins in rounds 6, 7 and 9, with this round the perfect opportunity to put their grit and determination into action.

Coming off Round 11:

Round 11 was a frustrating one for the Pies, who just couldn't seem to catch a break against the ball-winning Thunderbirds.

Despite season-best performances from Ash Brazill (five intercepts) and Gabby Sinclair (nine goals at 100 percent, including seven super shots), the Magpies seemed to miss the energy they've shown in past weeks and were caught out by high penalty and turnover counts.

Nevertheless, the Pies only came away with a five-goal deficit by the final siren and some real opportunities for growth coming into the final three rounds, making for a massive game this week.

An eye on the opposition:

While the Swifts are the reigning premiers, they have not been at their peak this season and sit only one win ahead of the Pies.

However, there is also no doubt their winning mentality is one of their strong suits - and that is something that has been evident in the past few rounds, remaining competitive despite the results.

The Swifts come into Round 12 off the back of a narrow loss to the Vixens last round, with English goal attack Helen Housby forced to carry much of the load in the goal circle.

Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner were consistent as ever in the back-end, tallying 11 deflections and three intercepts for five gains, while Maddy Proud was a workhorse through the midcourt.

Last time we met:

Round 3 was a tough one for the Pies, who won the first and last quarters but lacked potency in the middle two to go down by 11 goals in Sydney.

Kelsey Browne was hot in attack with 28 goal assists as Shimona Nelson put up 26 goals at 100 percent, while it was Sophie Garbin in form in goal shooter throughout the second half alongside Gabby Sinclair, who put up seven super shots.

Despite all three circle defenders being in fine form and racking up multiple intercepts apiece, Housby was virtually unstoppable with 43 goals to her name (four super shots) while youngster Sophie Fawns impressed with 24 goals in just her second SSN outing.

Turner collected four intercepts as Proud set the court alight with her 37 goal assists.

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