A suffocating defensive effort from the NSW Swifts set up a second ANZ Championship win on the trot, beating the Canterbury Tactix 54-45 in Sydney.
Swifts coach Julie Fitzgerald has one of the strongest defensive units in the league and has juggled with her back line in what has been a mixed start to the season for the 2008 champions. But she stuck with the same trio in Sonia Mkoloma, Rebecca Bulley and Moonia Gerrard who was celebrating her 150th career game for the full 60 minutes on Monday night and the three repaid her faith in helping the Swifts to a 54-45 win over the Tactix. Fitzgerald also introduced Amorette Wild to goal attack at halftime in place of Susan Pratley which also paid dividends.
Goal defence Rebecca Bulley said it was a great tussle and tough contest against a Tactix team which pushed the Swifts hard. It was a really tough contest, she said after the match. Obviously they didnt just lie down and let us walk away with it But the Tactix were let down by numerous unforced errors and turned the ball over to the opposition 27 times during the game.
They gave away a number of offensive penalties in the first quarter which opened the door for the Swifts to grab an early two-goal lead and the hosts extended their advantage to four by quarter time and never looked back.
The combination between Tactix co-captains Donna Wilkins and Maree Bowden did their best to keep the visitors in the game early in the second spell Bowden finding her goal attack under the post on a number of occasions with some deft passing.
But the Swifts smothering defensive effort from Mkoloma, Bulley and Gerrard forced hesitation into the visitors game. That consistent pressure proved too much for the Tactix who continued to turn ball over on attack and they trailed 21-27 at halftime.
The Tactix were also heavily penalised on the contact drawing the whistle 15 times in the first quarter compared to the Swifts three as they struggled to shut down the slick moving Swifts frontline. But the hosts could not completely break the shackles of the Tactix who showed their ability to close the gap but never really threaten the lead.
Shooting accuracy was in favour of the Tactix but they were unable to get enough ball into their goal scorers.
A late run from the Tactix slashed a 10-goal deficit to just five, with three minutes to play, but a defensive deflection from Mkoloma ensured the Swifts grabbed the winning points