EasiYo Tactix v NSW Swifts

A half-time rocket from the normally measured Leigh Gibbs and a gritty final quarter has broken a lengthy hoo-doo for the Canterbury Tactix.

It had been 1031 days - nearly three years - since the Tactix last beat an Australian team in the ANZ Championship, but a 54-51 win over the New South Wales Swifts last night at the CBS Canterbury Arena ended that horrible drought.

Gibbs was already warning her team not to get ahead of themselves after the win, but she showed her value to the franchise with a clever game-plan.

She also took a punt when her side started to slip in the second quarter.

After turning a four-goal advantage at quarter-time into a four-goal deficit by half time, the Tactix risked repeating their opening game slump, but Gibbs rung the changes.

Four positional switches and two replacements gave the Tactix a new lease.

"We just needed to get a bit quicker," Gibbs said.

"And that's one thing this team has, a few different combinations, but we had to do something after that second quarter."

At the final whistle Gibbs, who hasn't been party to the recent history of losses as she only joined the franchise late last year, was just as rapt as the rest of her side.

High fives and hugs were dished out as experienced players like Anna Galvan, Maree Bowden and Anna Thompson enjoyed the franchises 13th win in five seasons and just their third in the last three.

But two new players, who'd both stood up hugely in the win, were also buzzing.

Jo Harten had been one of the Tactix' best and had clearly learnt her lesson from last week's loss to the West Coast Fever where she was bounced around and struggled.

"We started well last week and perhaps I just got a bit carried away with that start and never got into the second half," she said.

"We did the same today, but got to half time and Leigh gave us a real rocket and we went out with more fight and wanted the ball more."

The English import said while she hadn't been here during all the tough times, she knew how much this win meant to her team-mates and the region and because of that it meant more to her.

Half time substitute Keshia Grant is also new to the Tactix this season, but was over the moon to be on the winning side.

"That was great. Awesome," she said.

"The crowd were incredible, you could tell how much it meant to them and I know the girls are so happy to do it for them."

Grant and fellow sub Kiley Hikawai made a huge difference to the Tactix when they were brought on as, clearly, did Gibbs' fired-up team-talk.

The home side went on a 6-1 break shortly after the break to re-gain the lead before going goal for goal with the Swifts until the final break.

The last quarter was a nail-biter, but key intercepts to Grant and hard working goal keep Bessie Manu lifted the Tactix and their boisterous supporters and the home side held on.

Back to her measured self, Gibbs warned her players that it was just one game and she wanted them to expect to put out performances like that.

But another home game this Sunday, against the Steel now looks far more winnable than it perhaps did a week ago.

"We'll savour this one and we deserve to," Gibbs said.

"But then it'll be back to work and looking to next week."

Canterbury Tactix 54 (15-9-14-16) New South Wales Swifts 51 (11-17-11-13)


Canterbury Tactix: Ellen Halpenny 13/19 68.4%, Jo Harten 38/46 82.6%, Anna Thompson 3/5 60%. New South Wales Swifts:  Susan Pratley 24/27 88.9%, Carla Dziwoki 27/32 84.4%.


Article courtesy of Matt Richens at The Press