THEY were hit by injury drama during the week and the Swifts had their semi-final hopes battered and their pride bruised by one of their oldest rivals.
A depleted Swifts lineup were beaten at home for the first time this season as the Melbourne Vixens kept their undefeated run against the club in Super Netball intact with a 65-58 win.
The devastating loss at Sydney Olympic Park came at the end of a nightmare week for the tight-knit Swifts who lost Claire O’Brien to a season-ending Achilles injury on Tuesday and sharpshooter Sophie Garvin for the round nine game due to a niggling foot injury.
It also delivered the Vixens the Sargeant/McKinnis Trophy, named after NSW legend Anne Sargeant and Victorian great and Vixens coach Simone McKinnis, for the second year running.
“Vixens look like a top four team for sure. They are in great form and they really came here to play today,” said Swifts midcourter Maddy Proud.
“From our side, we let them get on top of us too early and paid the price.
“It will be back to the drawing board for us this week.”
While Swifts star Sam Wallace gave a shooting masterclass with 48 goals from 50 attempts, it wasn’t enough to thwart a Vixens side on a mission to consolidate their place in the playoffs with just five games of the regular season now to play.
Malawi star Mwah Kumwenda, the fourth most prolific shooter in the league, also produced a memorable shooting performance with her haul of 37 goals from 39 attempts for the Vixens.
Just six minutes in and the Swifts were trailing by five (5-10), promoting a time out and captain Abbey McCulloch to tell her players to “believe in yourself”.
It was a rally cry which saw the Swifts, who were seven goals into arrears midway through the quarter, eventually leave the court for the first break trailing by just four (20-16).
By halftime the Swifts had fallen behind by eight – 37-29 – with the team trailing 44-52 going into the final quarter.
At game end – and thanks to a rock-solid defensive display – the Vixens had accrued a seven-goal win after beating the Swifts by just two earlier in the season.
The Swifts will take on the Giants in a NSW derby in round 10.