After winning the 2019 championship, the NSW Swifts were only half a game away from the top two and earning a double chance. The Swifts lost in the minor semi-final to the West Coast Fever to finish fourth.
The word that comes to mind when you think of the NSW Swifts’ roster is stability.
The shooting circle will again see Trinidad and Tobago shooter Sam Wallace combine her size and athleticism with the speed and creativity of English Rose Helen Housby, with Sophie Garbin to again provide the third prong to their attack circle.
Wallace won the 2019 grand final MVP and in 2020 scored the third most points with 522. She was also equal fourth for super shots made with 46 and fifth for offensive rebounds with 31. Wallace was also the Swifts’ MVP in 2018 and 2019.
Housby was a key member of England’s 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning team and the Swifts’ 2019 championship win. Housby was impacted by injuries in both 2019 and 2020. Fingers crossed she is fully fit for 2021, because she is one of the best players to watch in the league.
The 24-year-old Garbin made her debut with the Swifts in 2018, ably filled in for Housby when she was injured in 2019 and 2020 and was named the NSW Swifts’ players player of the year in 2019 and 2020. Garbin made her debut for the Aussie Diamonds in this year’s Constellation Cup.
The Swifts’ midcourt includes a lot of experience and versatility with co-captains Maddy Proud and Paige Hadley and another English Rose Natalie Haythornthwaite.
Hadley notched up her 100th club game in the hub and Proud is in line to play her 100th club game this season.
Hadley can play centre, wing attack or wing defence and has been with the Swifts since 2012. Proud can also play centre or wing attack and was named Swifts MVP in 2017, her first season with the club after debuting with the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Haythornthwaite, who has also captained England, had 152 assists and 265 centre pass receives in 2020.
Given the make-up of the midcourt this season we may see Hadley playing a lot of wing defence. Youngster Tayla Fraser, who made her debut in 2019 and was included in the extended hub squad in 2020, has fought her way into the ten-player squad.
Sarah Klau leads the Swifts’ defensive circle. In 2020, Klau was fourth in the league for deflections with 97, and Klau also had 28 intercepts and 19 rebounds. Klau was named the Swifts MVP in 2020 and has become a mainstay of the Aussie Diamonds squad.
Maddy Turner made her debut for the Swifts in 2016 and was awarded the Swifts’ coaches award in both 2017 and 2018. Turner was also a member of the Swifts’ 2019 premiership team. Turner has formed an important combination with Klau.
Lauren Moore was signed by the Swifts as a 17-year-old, joining them in 2016. Moore has been involved as both a rostered player and training partner. Moore missed the second half of the Swifts’ 2019 premiership campaign through injury.
The Swifts’ training partners include goal keepers Olivia Coleman and Teigan O’Shannassy, wing defence Leilani Rohweder, midcourter Emily Burgess and goal attack Kelly Singleton.
Likely starting seven: Klau, Turner, Hadley, Proud, Haythornthwaite, Housby, Wallace.
Eight of the Swifts were in their game-day squad for their 2019 grand final win while Maddy Proud and Lauren Moore were missing through injury.
This stability and experience will be a key for the Swifts in 2021, particularly with changes to other rosters. I predict that the Swifts will live up to Meatloaf’s lyrics ‘two out of three ain’t bad’ and make it two premierships in three years.
Predicted finish: first.