Swifts win last-second netball thriller against Fever
Romelda Aiken-George has nailed a buzzer-beating matchwinner to hand the NSW Swifts a heart-stopping 65-64 Super Netball win against the West Coast Fever at RAC Arena.
The Fever led by three points inside the last 90 seconds of Saturday's blockbuster battle for second spot on the ladder, only to be denied - for the second time in six days - on the final siren.
Sharpshooting Helen Housby buried her 10th two-pointer to reduce the margin to one before Maddy Turner conjured a timely intercept, which was converted by Aiken-George to tie the scores.
With the final possession, Aiken-George scored from close range in the last second after snaffling a long pass from Swifts co-captain Maddy Proud to break West Coast's heart, just as Kiera Austin did last week with the go-ahead super shot on the bell.
"We'd obviously like to win by a few more," Housby said after the Swifts' fifth straight victory.
"We've proven that the fourth quarter is our best quarter and I'm really proud of the girls.
"This is one of the toughest places to play ... we're going to take a lot of confidence from that and it's nice to be moving up the ladder."
The Fever were dealt a cruel double-blow before the match with goal attack Sasha Glasgow and wing defence Jess Anstiss having to withdraw under COVID-19 protocols.
Their absences allowed Jordan Cransberg to make her league debut and 39-year-old former Diamonds legend Natalie Butler (nee Medhurst) to make her first appearance in the competition since 2019 after coming out of retirement.
Fever shooter Jhaniele Fowler was hot early, feasting on the midcourt brilliance of Verity Simmons, but the hosts couldn't quell the Swifts attacking trio of Housby, Aiken-George and Paige Hadley as the visitors moved ahead 19-16 at quarter-time.
Housby and Fowler went goal-for-goal in the second period, at the end of which NSW led 32-30, before the Fever gradually got on top in the third.
Butler received a rousing reception when she started the second half on the court and her connection with Fowler saw West Coast forge ahead by six before Housby's long-range attack trimmed the gap to one at three-quarter-time.
Housby's super shot prowess was always going to pose problems for the Fever across the last five minutes, while Proud, benched for much of the third stanza, returned with a vengeance in the fourth term.