Susan Pettitt of the Giants.
Susan Pettitt of the Giants. Mark Metcalfe

Giants hold off Swifts in Sydney derby

THE Giants made it home sweet home on the court they share with the Swifts by surviving one of their biggest scares of the season to deliver coach Julie Fitzgerald her 200th elite netball win.

A nine-point turnaround in the final quarter saw the Giants take the match 59-56 and tighten their grip on the top rung of the Super Netball ladder.

It was a double night of celebration for the Giants club after their AFL team smashed the Suns by 102 points just hours earlier at Sydney Olympic Park.

But there was only one clobbering by Giants players with their netballers forced to dig deep to prevent the Swifts pulling off the upset of the season when six goals ahead with just 12 minutes to play.

"Well at least we now know that we have a fair bit of fighting spirit in this team," said veteran and Diamond shooter Susan Pettitt.

"We were tough and gritty in that last quarter and that shows we know how to fight, to get out of predicaments.

"We need to work on not putting ourselves in that position but if we do, we know we can come through."

In their first appearance in Sydney since round two of Super Netball, the Giants beat the Swifts for the second time this season despite the recent loss to injury of captain Kim Green.

"We were six up, we should have won that," said Swifts captain Abbey McCulloch.

"But in the crucial moments we just squandered the ball and we have paid for that now."

The Swifts came from four down to lead 16-13 at the first break of Saturday's game at Sydney Olympic Park.

Twenty minutes into the game and the score was level again with the Swifts eventually taking a one-goal lead into halftime.

Jamaican Sam Wallace led the way in the shooting department with a perfect 19 goals from 19 attempts for the Swifts with Helen Housby netting 12 from 14.

Jo Harten scored 20 from 21 for the Giants and Pettitt 10 from 11.

Veteran Sarah Wall made her Super Netball debut in the second half after signing on as a replacement player this week in the wake of a season-ending injury to captain Kim Green.

But the change made little impact on the Swifts who took a 46-42 lead into the final period and were six up with just 12 minutes in the clock.

In the end the composure and experience of the Swifts won through as they hung tough to claim their second victory over the Swifts this season.

Paige Hadley was named MVP of the match.

Wallace topscored for the Swifts with 35 from 37 with Jo Harten best for the Giants with 36 from 38.

News Corp Australia

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