Giants continue on winning roll in netball

·2-min read

A future Diamond has emerged from the shadow of an incumbent as Sophie Dwyer's stunning rise continued in Giants Netball's 68-54 win against the Melbourne Vixens at Join Cain Arena.

The Giants are unbeaten after four Super Netball rounds despite the setback of losing Australian goal attack Keira Austin to a season-ending knee injury.

In Austin's absence, Dwyer's exciting impact has been obvious, with the goaler averaging 22 goals at 76 per cent accuracy.

The 19-year-old added another 23 goals, including five super shots, against fierce Vixens duo Jo Weston and Kate Eddy to prove in just her second season that she belongs in the world's toughest netball league.

Her arrival could not have come at a better time for Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich who is facing many selection questions in the build-up to next year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Dwyer's confidence to keep attempting shots when the game was on the line in the third quarter was precisely what the Giants needed.

"We knew it was going to be a tight tussle with the Vixens, as it always is," Dwyer said.

"We strayed from the game plan in the middle part but really happy with how we finished off."

The brave Vixens remain winless in their title defence but will not be without admirers after Mwai Kumwenda (38 goals) led the home side on a third quarter fightback.

For every blow Kumwenda landed, the Giants had an answer against the last-placed Vixens.

An unruffled Jo Harten sank 29 goals, including three super shots to steady her Giants when the Vixens were charging in the third quarter.

Wing attack Maddie Hay - another in the infancy of her Super Netball career - also made smart decisions and executed brilliantly under pressure, while veteran defender April Brandley finished with seven gains.

The Giants should have made more of their advantage in the first half after a lively opening stint from goal attack Dwyer whose trio of two-point super shots signalled a fearlessness to take aim from anywhere.

Dwyer's Giants pinched 12 gains from their hosts on their way to a commanding first-quarter lead but failed to shake the determined Vixens.

Captain Kate Moloney's leadership and touch around the circle edge kept the Vixens in the hunt when they trailed 32-26 at halftime.

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