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Swifts ruthless in Magic win

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/07/2016
Sharni Layton goes for the rebound for the Swifts (L) with Magic shooter Ellen Halpenny (R) during the ANZ Championship Semi Final match between the Magic and the Swifts at Claudelands Arena on July 25, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand. © Getty Images Sharni Layton goes for the rebound for the Swifts (L) with Magic shooter Ellen Halpenny (R) during the ANZ Championship Semi Final match between the Magic and the Swifts at Claudelands Arena on July 25, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand.

NSW Swifts have set up a rematch of last year's trans-Tasman netball league final with a 64-45 semi-final win over Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in Hamilton on Monday.

The comprehensive win showcased the Swifts at their best - gritty defence melding with a driving midcourt and finished off by superbly accurate shooting.

Apart from a sluggish start, the Swifts dominated every quarter, earning the chance to avenge last year's 57-56 grand final loss to the Firebirds.

The Magic's zone defence worked well in containing the Swifts pacy attacking line in the first stanza, introducing some uncharacteristic hesitation into the front third.

Two quick goals in the last 30 seconds gave the Swifts a 16-14 lead at the first break, and the visitors built on that momentum as the second quarter progressed.

Goalkeeper Sharni Layton was outstanding in her 100th ANZ Championship game, relentless in harassing Magic shooter Jo Harten, intimidating on the shot and impressive in hunting the ball outside the circle.

Turnovers proved costly for the Magic, the home team unable to score from the few they created while the Swifts proved clinical in converting their's to lead 33-24 at halftime.

The Swifts were ruthless in winning the third quarter 16-7 to take a 49-31 lead into the last 15 minutes, easing back in the final stanza to wrap up a comprehensive win.

Shooter Caitlin Thwaites missed only three goals over 60 minutes, sinking 43 from 46, ably supported by Susan Pettitt's 15 from 19, while Harten led the way for the Magic with 38 from 42.

Australian international Kim Green, playing her first full game since injuring her knee in round five, marshalled the impressive Swifts midcourt, and looks to be back to her best just in time for next week's final.

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