Super Netball 2023: Donnell Wallam nails ‘one of the best shots ever’, NSW Swifts defeat Queensland Firebirds 74-71
The NSW Swifts have defeated the Queensland Firebirds 74-71 to record their first win of the Super Netball season.
It was a back-and-forth battle between the interstate rivals as Swifts shooter Romelda Aiken-George celebrated her 200th game in style against her former team.
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The score was tied 20-20 at quarter time before the Firebirds edged three points in front at halftime, thanks largely to the efforts of Donnell Wallam.
The shooter is shouldering a huge load for the Firebirds this season in the absence of pregnant Gretel Bueta, and she stood tall at Ken Rosewall Arena on Saturday.
Wallam was a commanding presence in the circle, doing almost all of the Firebirds’ scoring on her own.
She finished with 60 goals from 66 attempts while goal attack Mia Stower played a supporting role with eight goals.
Wallam produced a moment of brilliance early in the third quarter when she juggled the ball and managed to flick it back up into the hoop while she was falling out of court.
It was reminiscent of her spontaneous matchwinning lay-up on debut for the Diamonds against England last year.
Australian netball legend Cath Cox called it “one of the best shots ever” on Fox Netball.
“I can’t say I have ever seen anything quite like that!” Cox said.
“What a game changing move from Donnell Wallam. She’s falling out of court, doesn’t even sight the goalpost and drops it. If that doesn’t fire up this purple side, nothing is going to.
“Wow, put that on your highlights reel over and over again. Donnell Wallam, a bag full of tricks. I just can’t get my head around that one.
“The juggle, the lookaway and there’s that face we’ve seen before when she won the Test match for Australia up in Newcastle.”
At one stage it looked like West Coast Fever shooter Jhaniele Fowler’s record of 66 goals in a game was under threat, but Wallam’s output tailed off as the Swifts’ defence tightened the screws.
The Firebirds led 58-57 heading into the fourth quarter but Swifts veterans Maddy Proud and Sarah Klau led a comeback to deny Wallam the ball and secure a three-point win.
It was the first victory of the season for the Swifts after an opening round loss to the Magpies and their game against the Adelaide Thunderbirds was abandoned and declared a draw in chaotic circumstances in Round 2.