Swifts stay top, Phoenix make their move - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swifts stay top, Phoenix make their move

By Adrian Warren 29/07/2005 10:32:26 PM Comments (0)

The unbeaten Sydney Swifts have almost certainly clinched the National Netball League minor premiership while Melbourne Phoenix inflicted a crushing defeat on the Adelaide Thunderbirds to claim second spot on the ladder.

Sydney stretched its near year-long competition winning streak to 15 with a predictable 64-46 away victory over the winless Queensland Firebirds in Brisbane.

The Swifts established a four-point buffer over their two closest rivals after the Phoenix thrashed the Thunderbirds 67-41 in Melbourne.

Sydney play both teams in the two final rounds of the minor premiership. They travel to Melbourne to play Phoenix next Friday and then host Thunderbirds in the last round.

While both the Thunderbirds and Phoenix can match Sydney's points total if they each beat the Swifts, the defending champion's vastly superior percentage will probably enable them to stay on top even if they drop both games.

Veteran shooters Sharelle McMahon and Eloise Southby-Halbish were in scintillating form against Adelaide, which gambled by playing Australian team star Natalie Avellino for half a game after she suffered an ankle injury last week.

However, the Adelaide goalers couldn't match the accuracy of their Phoenix counterparts with Southby-Halbish and McMahon each scoring 36 and 30 respectively at an 88 per cent clip.

McMahon came off the court in the closing minutes after being winded by a knock in the stomach.

Adelaide's most prolific shooter Kristen Heinrich was limited to 24 goals at just 65 per cent.

Starting alongside Heinrich was former Adelaide Ravens shooter Jamie McKinnon, who made 11 of her 13 attempts in the first and third quarters.

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