NSW Swifts refuse to get carried away after favourable start to ANZ Championship

Key player: NSW Swifts veteran Kimberlee Green. Photo: James AlcockNSW Swifts coach Rob Wright is refusing to get carried away after his side’s first-round win over the Melbourne Vixens and wants to push his players towards a perfect four-quarter performance when they take on the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic this weekend.

Wright has been renowned, in years gone by, for never being completely satisfied with results and always striving to instil a ruthless mindset within his teams.

Despite winning the first three quarters comfortably in a 57-42 win against Melbourne, Wright said a two-goal deficit in the last term would be motivation enough when they faced the Magic in Sydney on Saturday.

“I’m not wanting to get too carried away,” Wright said. “In the second half there were only two goals in it. We’ve got to continue to make sure we’re good for 60 minutes, so that’s something we want to improve on. We have to continue to find ways to make sure that we can continue to do that for the four quarters. If we want to be a super competitive team we’ve got to make sure we get a lead in every quarter.”

The Swifts have bragging rights over the Magic after beating them 60-52 in last year’s semi-final before being pipped on full-time by the Queensland Firebirds 57-56 in the grand final.

“There’s no surprise they were the conference champions last year … they’re a really quality side,” Wright said. “It’s going to be a really tough one. I think they’re a really dangerous team across the court.”

Former Swifts coach and Australian Diamonds assistant Julie Fitzgerald is now in charge of the Magic and will be doing everything in her power to thwart Kim Green, who Wright believes is in stellar form after retiring from Australian duties.

“She was brilliant … some of the best netball I’ve seen her play in the last couple of years,” Wright said of Green’s player-of-the-match effort against the Vixens. “She’s said herself she feels refreshed and rejuvenated and it showed on court. Her mind was free and some of her passing was unbelievable. It was vintage Kim Green at her best.”

Sharni Layton is another Diamonds player thrilled to be back in the red of the Swifts and working towards going one better than last season.

“It was a good first round performance,” Layton said. “We probably weren’t as consistent for a full four quarters … we’re always intending to improve on that. It’s about being absolutely prepared for everyone. It’s really nice to get back to clubland though.”

Abbey McCulloch is in doubt for Saturday’s clash after breaking her nose against the Vixens, with Wright set to make a decision about her fitness on Thursday. 

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