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Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel dominate NSW Swifts invitational - February 5, 2023

It’s often said the score means nothing in preseason. Still, the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel would have to be satisfied with a dominant 74-42 victory over the NSW Swifts.

To be fair, the visitors were forced to field an invitational line-up of the club’s brightest young talents after Covid struck all bar one of the Swifts’ senior players just 24 hours before they flew to New Zealand on Friday.

It was a scramble and credit it where it’s due – the Australian’s performed admirably in the circumstances and provided the Steel with a solid opponent for its first official hit-out.

Leading 19-11 after the opening spell, the home side continued its momentum to chalk up a 42-23 advantage at halftime.

The arduous preseason grind was evident from the outset with the Steel’s physical strength lending itself to some stellar play across all facets of the court, igniting the hopes of Steel’s faithful supporters.

The impetus was halted late in the third phase when goal shoot George Fisher hit the court, suffering an injury to her left knee. She will be medically assessed in the coming days.

Fisher can take heart from an impressive display under the post, slotting 44 of her 48 attempts at goal and linking dynamically at times with her teammates.

Boasting a 63-31 scoreline, the final stanza became something of a formality for the home side.

Head coach Reinga Bloxham rated the performance a pass.

“I feel like we are tracking really well. Physically we can run out a full game no problem. Now it’s time to put the other pieces of the puzzle together and cement our combinations. I felt like we still had more to give out there and it’s an exciting time as we keep building towards round one of the ANZ Premiership,” she said.

“The Swifts play the man-on style and it is good physicality for us to come up against.”

The Steel will play the ANZ Premiership defending champions, Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse at 12pm on Tuesday.

Shooting statistics:

Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel

George Fisher – 44/48 (92%)

Georgia Heffernan – 16/25 (64%)

Jess Allan – 14/16 (88%)

NSW Swifts

Lauren Woods – 23/28 (82%)

Sophie Fawns – 17/23 (74%)

Kiara Bloor – 2/3 (67%)


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