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Swifts keep netball title defence alive

Paige Hadley has bled for her NSW Swifts in a 52-43 win against the Giants that kept the reigning premiers’ slim Super Netball finals hopes alive.

The Swifts co-captain split her eyebrow in a last-quarter collision and there were many more selfless acts from Swifts who, knowing their season was on the line, found extra grit in Sunday’s derby match.

Defenders Maddy Turner and Sarah Klau created havoc for the Giants attack and import Helen Housby sank 35 goals at 81 per cent accuracy.

None were better than centre Maddy Proud who ran the Giants ragged.

The co-captain set a benchmark for running in the first half and was one of the cool heads in the second on her way to a whopping 57 feeds, the third time this season she has notched a half century.

“We’ve missed being in the winning circle and I think today shows what we can do,” Proud said after her team’s third win of the season.

“I think every single person played their role today.”

The result cost the Giants third place on the ladder.

Amy Parmenter, April Brandley and Matilda McDonell were behind a second half fightback but the Swifts had an answer to each surge.

A sequence of Jo Harten super shots in the third quarter was the highlight of her 30-point haul.

Proud led a first-quarter ambush of the Giants.

She ran where she pleased, threading 17 feeds into the shooting circle, four more than the combined total from Giants duo Jamie-Lee Price and Maddie Hay.

It was a pale start from the Giants.

In addition to the mismatch between Proud and Price, defenders Turner and Klau had the measure of Giants shooters Harten and Sophie Dwyer, contributing a combined five possession gains in a first half controlled by the Swifts.

Giants defender Parmenter replaced Price at centre for the third quarter and the move sparked a revival for last year’s grand finalists.

While the move did not make an immediate impact on the score, it tipped the balance of the midcourt battle.

Proud was once more accountable to a match-up and it gave the Giants defenders more time to disrupt the Swifts.

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