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Swifts better for hard netball win: Wright

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/05/2016 Samantha Sonogan

A hard-fought 59-51 win against Melbourne Vixens at Hisense Arena on Sunday will stand NSW Swifts in good stead for a run towards the trans-Tasman netball league finals, according to Swifts coach Rob Wright.

After a record-breaking 38-goal win against the Pulse last week and a string of recent comfortable victories, Wright said having to fight for the points was a valuable experience.

"It was a closely fought encounter all game and they (Vixens) probably had the better of the first half, even though there was only one goal in it (at half time)," Wright said.

"It was probably what we needed, though most of our wins they have been big and that's not always a good thing, I don't think.

"You need some tough ones like this to make sure you're ready when you get some heat on you as well."

For the second-placed NSW (6-1), goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites top-scored with 35 goals from 39 attempts at 90 per cent accuracy and was well assisted by Susan Pettit who shot 24 from 27 (89 per cent)

The Swifts ran away with the highly physical encounter in the third quarter after a gamble interchange by the home side failed to pay off.

In an attempt to shut down the Swifts' star midcourt pairing of Kim Green and Paige Hadley, Vixens coach Simone McKinnins made three changes at half time with her side trailing by one goal. Kate Moloney moved into centre for Liz Watson and Chloe Watson moved from centre into wing defence.

However, the experiment didn't pay off and within seven minutes, NSW scored six consecutive goals and took what would be an unassailable five goal advantage before setting up a 44-37 lead at the last break.

In front of a big home crowd of 6,958, the Vixens started well and took a two-goal lead into the first break, holding a 17-15 advantage at quarter time before the Swifts fought back to take a 29-28 lead into the main break.

Shooter Kim Commane (7 from 9) replaced Vixens top scorer Karyn Bailey (27 from 34) deep in the third quarter but her late injection into the match failed to turn around the Vixens' fate.

Goal attack Alice Teague Neeld finished the match with 17 goals at 77 per cent, with Swifts defenders Jo Weston, Sharni Layton and Emily Mannix restricting the Vixens to a below-par 78 per cent goal shooting.

The Swift now face a trans-Tasman hit out against the Tactix in New Zealand next week and then a rematch against the Queensland Firebirds - the only team to defeat them this year - in a fortnight's time.

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