Round 3 preview: Battle looms with reigning premiers

1 month ago

Round 3 sees the Magpies head to Sydney for a clash with the NSW Swifts, who also sit winless after the opening two rounds.

Sophie Taylor

The scenario:

The Pies are gearing up for three games in seven days, making for a huge week of netball action.

The time is now for the Pies to strike, with the first a battle with the reigning premiers, NSW Swifts.

While the Magpies have started the season with a less than ideal 0-2 record, the Swifts are in a similar position and down a key player.

The hunger is there across the Magpie camp, so now it's time to put that extra burst of passion, intent, and fighting spirit into practice.

Coming off Round 2:

Round 2 was a story of missed opportunities, with the Pies falling to the West Coast Fever by 17 goals despite only trailing by eight with five minutes on the clock.

The return of head coach Nicole Richardson and co-captain Ash Brazill saw the Pies start strong before the Fever kicked things up a gear, and while the Pies edged closer in patches, they could not snatch a win from the Fever's clutches.

Kelsey Browne stood up with 20 goal assists from 38 feeds, while Brazill racked up two intercepts and three deflections. Jodi-Ann Ward is no stranger to the big moments, and starred alongside Geva Mentor in the back-end.

The Magpies have taken plenty of learnings from both that match and the opener against the Adelaide Thunderbirds, and will give a big push to the Swifts this week.

An eye on the opposition:

The Swifts may have lost Sam Wallace to a season-ending ACL injury, but they have not lost any fight.

Despite sitting zero from two at this early stage, the reigning premiers are no stranger to battling through injury and are sure to come out firing this week.

Two narrow losses - two goals against the GIANTS and five goals against the Vixens - do not paint a pretty picture for the Swifts, but with the loss of Wallace comes the newfound exciting talent of Sophie Fawns, who set the court alight last round and will look to continue that form.

Co-captain Maddy Proud continues to be a key cog for the Swifts, while the influence of Helen Housby in goals cannot be underestimated. The defensive versatility the Swifts have gained with the addition of Allie Smith could also test the Magpies' attack-line, too.

Last time we met:

The Magpies got the chocolates last time we met, with a scintillating seven-goal victory back in Round 12, 2021. With the Pies' entire starting seven from that result retained for this season, the question is not "if?" but "how?" as we look to steal an all-important first win for the season.

Shimona Nelson was outstanding in the victory, winning match MVP rights with a 69-goal haul at 97 percent. Gabby Sinclair also pulled a match-winning performance out of the bag with a whopping 35 goal assists to her name from 38 feeds.

A combined 11 gains from Jodi-Ann Ward and Geva Mentor put the icing on the cake, with Ash Brazill and Molly Jovic both also collecting two intercepts.

While the home turf may help the Swifts in their pursuit this time around, there is no reason why the Pies can't pull out another upset here over the undermanned reigning premiers.

More news