Thunderbirds star Maria Folau against the Swifts. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Thunderbirds star Maria Folau against the Swifts. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

‘Professional’ Folau fires in loss to Swifts

Netball sharpshooter Maria Folau left her husband Israel's fight for his sporting career on the sidelines to concentrate on her own - netting plenty of goals but missing the points as the Adelaide Thunderbirds crashed to an inspired NSW Swifts.

The Swifts dominated the round two match from the opening quarter to add the rousing 61-43 win to their 63-56 round one victory over cross town rivals the Giants.

Swifts coach Briony Akle predicted Folau would fire in the round two Super Netball game and the New Zealander lived up to expectations, one of the best on court for the Thunderbirds with 19 from 23 at 83 per cent in only her second game of Super Netball.

"She's a professional," Akle said.

 

Israel Folau, at a hearing on Sunday while his wife plied her trade for the Adelaide Thunderbirds, is fighting for his career after Rugby Australia said it would terminate his contract after he posted homophobic content on social media on April 10.

While Folau has courted controversy with his post, his wife was politely received, as were her teammates, by Sydney netball fans at the Quaycentre on Sunday.

But the bulk of the applause was reserved for the Swifts, who shocked even themselves with the size of their victory over a team who a week earlier ended a 27 game losing streak stretching back to 2017 with a win over the injury-affected West Coast Fever.

It was the first time since the bonus point system was introduced last year that the Swifts have won all four quarters of a game and taken maximum points.

 

Maria Folau looks for a teammate. Picture: Getty
Maria Folau looks for a teammate. Picture: Getty

 

For the second week in a row, Trinidad shooter Sam Wallace was outstanding in the circle (31 from 31) with the Swifts defensive duo of Maddy Turner and Sarah Klau making life difficult for Folau and teammate Sasha Glasgow.

English shooter Helen Housby also stood up for Swifts with an impressive haul of 24 from 28 as the NSW team claimed the match by 18 goals.

"We stuck to our game plan," Akle said.

"No disrespect to them (Adelaide) this team has final potential."

Akle called out Housby for special praise.

"She was exceptional. She took the hits and kept going for over 60 minutes."

The Swifts dominated from the start, opening up a 14-11 lead at the first break which they extended to 35-21 at halftime.

 

Maria Folau tangles with defenders. Picture: Getty
Maria Folau tangles with defenders. Picture: Getty

 

Trinidad shooter Sam Wallace, who was limping post game with an ankle injury, and English circle partner Helen Housby ran circles round the Thunderbirds defence in the first half, netting 19 from 19 and 16 from 18 respectively.

By the third quarter the Swifts has extended their lead to 16 before entering the final period up 48-33.

In an earlier match on Sunday defending Super Netball champions, Sunshine Coast Lightning, demolished West Coast Fever 80-55.

Lightning broke their single game goal scoring record with their 80 goals.

In Saturday's one match, the Queensland Firebirds held the much-vaunted Collingwood Magpies to a 57-57 draw.