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Swifts ruthless in Magic win

NZN 25/07/2016

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.

Swifts skipper Kim Green, playing her first full game since injuring her knee in round five, said the Swifts had worked hard to shut down the Magic defensively.

"We knew we just had to have that defensive pressure, and I think you could see that all over the court," she said.

"We know how hard it is to ball off teams like this, and we have to make sure we stick to our game plan when we do get those turnovers.

Magic captain Leana de Bruin said it was a disappointing way to end the season.

"We just didn't play our own game tonight, and credit to them - they pushed us into areas we didn't like to be in.

"They were fast and furious on attack, and we just couldn't stick to them."

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