Thunderbirds v Swifts at Entertainment Centre Sunday June 23, 2019
Thunderbirds v Swifts at Entertainment Centre Sunday June 23, 2019

Maria Folau miss saves Swifts pride in draw

The conversion of a late penalty shot could have seen the Thunderbirds pull off the biggest upset in Super Netball against the Swifts. But it didn't happen.

It took the scrambling Swifts more than 49 minute to fight their way back from their hefty early deficit before the Briony Akle coached side blew a late four goal lead for the draw.

Kelly Altmann and Maria Folau, right, react after the game ends in a draw.
Kelly Altmann and Maria Folau, right, react after the game ends in a draw.

"I consider ourselves lucky to have even got that draw,'' Akle said.

"We didn't turn up to play. Our hearts weren't in it.

"We didn't take them lightly at all. This was about our own mindset.''

Thunderbirds shooter Folau, who missed a penalty shot which would have given her club the win, and defender Shamera Sterling were the main architects of the upset draw with the league-leading Swifts.

Swifts shooter Sophie Garbin was named Player of the Match after netting 25 of her 29 attempts on goal in a standout performance.

Just prior to the match Netball Australia and the Super Netball league released a statement saying no action would be taken against Folau after she re-posted husband Israel Folau's GoFundMe details on social media.

Folau, who topscored in the game with 26 from 36, put off-court dramas aside to play a mitigating role in the Thunderbirds opening a 14-9 lead in the first quarter and a 29-24 jump at halftime.

"It probably gave her fire in the belly,'' Akle said of the Folau news.

 

Maria Folau escapes from defender Maddy Turner.
Maria Folau escapes from defender Maddy Turner.

 

A purple patch, which saw the Swifts score seven of 10 goals early in the third, put the NSW side back in the game and trailing by just two - 41-39 - going into the final period.

With just over 10 minutes to go the Swifts took the lead for the first time before a late fightback saw the Thunderbirds claim the draw after Folau's missed penalty shot.

Folau's husband has set up a GoFundMe page asking people to donate to pay for his court case in which he is seeking $10 million from Rugby Australia for tearing up his $5 million contract, along with lost future earnings.

"We are aware that Adelaide Thunderbirds' athlete Maria Folau re-posted her husband's GoFundMe page details via social media. There is no action required by the league,'' the netball statement read.

"We will continue to support Maria as a valued member of the Thunderbirds and the Suncorp Super Netball league.''

 

Thunderbirds shooting statistics - 51/63 (81%)

Maria Folau - 26/36 (72.2%)

Sasha Glasgow - 23/25 (92%)

Charles Hodges - 2/2 (100%)

Swifts shooting statistics - 51/62 (82.3%)

Sam Wallace - 5/7 (71.4%)

Helen Housby - 21/26 (80.8%)

Sophie Garbin - 25/29 (86.2%)

News Corp Australia


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