NSW Swifts have won the pre-season netball Summer Shootout in Melbourne, finishing the two-day tournament with a perfect 6-0 record.
The new-look NSW Swifts have made a strong statement heading into the trans-Tasman netball competition, winning the pre-season Summer Shootout in Melbourne.
All 10 teams from Australia and New Zealand played six games across the weekend, with the Swifts (6-0) emerging the only unbeaten side.
They clinched outright top spot with a 21-20 final round win over old rivals Melbourne Vixens (4-2).
Shooter Karyn Bailey missed a late chance to equalise for the Vixens, who finished joint second with the Pulse, who were the best-performed New Zealand team and have added Silver Ferns legend Irene van Dyk to their roster for this season.
The Sydney-based Swifts, who have missed out in the trans-Tasman finals for the past two seasons and finished eighth last year, have the competition’s first male coach, Rob Wright.
He fielded their new recruits including Australian representatives Sharni Layton and Caitlin Thwaites but was reluctant to make much of the success with the season proper set to start in two weeks.
“It’s always nice to celebrate a win, let alone be undefeated for the tournament, but that was never our focus heading into the Summer Shootout,” Wright said.
“I don’t think fans should look into the results too much.
“It’s difficult to gauge what the 2014 ANZ Championship will bring based upon 30-minute modified games.”
The top five was rounded out by Kiwi sides Tactix (3-2-1), who beat Vixens 25-21 on Sunday, and Mystics (3-3).
Defending trans-Tasman champions Adelaide Thunderbirds (2-3-1) finished sixth after a mixed Sunday as they lost 28-20 to West Coast (2-3-1) but scored a 26-21 win over Queensland Firebirds (2-4) in a rematch of last year’s grand final.
Perennially powerful New Zealand team Magic (0-5-1), who have lost van Dyk and fellow international star Laura Langman, finished bottom.
The Swifts added to their four first-day wins by defeating Vixens and inflicting a 42-24 loss on Southern Steel (2-4).