Giants’ crucial breather
THE Giants have a four-week hiatus for the netball World Cup to find final form and fire with the Sydney team potentially out of the top four by the end of the weekend after a costly loss to the Melbourne Vixens last night.
A classy Vixens consolidated their place in the Super Netball top three with a 66-57 victory over the Giants at Quaycentre in Sydney.
But the loss will see the Giants slide out of the top four if the Magpies down the Queensland Firebirds in today’s final match of round nine.
It would be a devastating blow to the confidence of a side rebuilding after major changes in the offseason but still boasting some of the biggest names in the game in Australian shooter Caitlin Bassett, former Diamond Kim Green and English star Jo Harten.
The nine-goal margin was one of the most resounding losses the Giants have suffered to the Vixens since the start of Super Netball in 2017.
Earlier this season the Vixens beat the Giants 61-45.
“Obviously disappointed. We just made way too many errors,” Bassett said. “At the same time I’m proud of the way the girls rallied in the final quarter.
“They have the break now. It’s important to make the most of it.”
The Giants trailed 19-11 at the first break and by as much as 14 in the second quarter.
By three-quarter time the Vixens controlled the match 52-38.
The Giants rallied in the final quarter to reduce their deficit to nine.
Bassett, who will lead Australia’s hunt for the world title in the UK next month, opened for the Giants, was rested in the second quarter before returning to the shooting circle in the third and fourth.
She ended the game with 20 from 22 while Harten netted 24 from 27 and youngster Kiera Austin 13 from 14. Diamond shooter Caitlin Thwaites topscored with 40 from 42 with Tegan Philip scoring 26 from 29.
Rivals yesterday, Giants guns Bassett and Jamie-Lee Price will now become Australian Diamonds teammates with Vixens Thwaites, Jo Weston and Liz Watson at a training camp in Sydney this week.
This will be Australia’s major lead-in to the World Cup where the Diamonds will be bidding to defend the crown they won in Sydney four years ago.
Super Netball will break for four weeks to accomodate the event in the UK before resuming on July 27.
Today the NSW Swifts will look to strengthen their leaders position in the league with an away win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
In last night’s other Super Netball match, Sunshine Coast Lightning defeated West Coast Fever 65 to 57.
Tegan Philip of the Vixens shoots during the Super Netball match between the Giants and the Vixens last night.