29.07.2008 – Graham Croker

Sydney University Sports Scholarship holder Susan Pratley is celebrating today after playing a leading role in the NSW Swifts’ 65-56 win over Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in ANZ Championship final played at Sydney’s Acer Arena last night.

The Economic/Business student shot 24 from 30 (80 per cent) to go along with captain Catherine Cox’s 41 from 46 (89 per cent) as the Swifts collected the inaugural trans-Tasman league title. Cox was named player of the final, which was played in front of a crowd of 12,099.

At the start of the season the Swifts were not mentioned in semi-final discussions, but last night’s win was their ninth on the trot as they outplayed the star-studded Waikato Magic.

The Swifts led at every quarter and weathered a Kiwi comeback in the third quarter when the scoreline closed to within two goals.

The crowd figure was a record for the new league, but just short of the 14,399 who turned out to see Australia beat New Zealand in 2004.

Pratley, a former Australian Under 21 captain, already has a title in the bag. She was a member of the Sydney Swifts side that won the 2007 Commonwealth Bank Trophy in the national league.

And she was a member of the Australian team that reclaimed the World Netball Championship in New Zealand last November.