After three disappointing seasons of Suncorp Super Netball, the Adelaide Thunderbirds are on the rise after defeating the Collingwood Magpies 60-52 at USC Stadium on Wednesday night.Winners of four premierships in their 23-year history, the Super Netball era has not been kind to the South Australian club with a meagre four wins in the opening three seasons.
But the ‘easybeats’ tag appears to be a thing of the past as the 2020 squad recorded their third victory in the opening five rounds to rise above West Coast Fever into the top four.
“It feels good to win and I think the beauty of it is no-one really still expects us to,” co-captain Chelsea Pitman said after the Thunderbirds won consecutive games for the first time in the Super Netball era. We know we can do it and we have belief in there and we’re getting more confident every single time we go out there.”
Goal keeper Shamera Sterling (12 gains, six intercepts, nine deflections) continued her stellar start to the season while the Thunderbirds’ slick transition from defence to attack laid the foundation for goalers Lenize Potgieter (39/39) and teenage sensation Georgie Horjus (17/20).
The Thunderbirds opened with the first eight goals of the match and while Gabi Sinclair finally broke the Magpies’ scoring drought before adding three Suncorp Super Shots in the rebel Power 5 period, Adelaide still enjoyed a 17-11 edge after the opening quarter.
The Magpies’ attacking woes were further exposed in the second quarter as the Thunderbirds piled on nine of the first 11 goals, setting up a 32-22 halftime lead while holding the Magpies to 70 per cent shooting accuracy.
The Magpies rallied in the third quarter with Geva Mentor making an impact at the defensive end, shooters Shimona Nelson and Nyah Allen finding the target to reduce the Thunderbirds’ lead to four goals.
But two late Potgieter goals helped steady the Thunderbirds as they took a 44-38 advantage into the fourth quarter then answered every challenge to leave the Magpies languishing in seventh spot with a 1-4 record.
The Thunderbirds will shoot for an unprecedented third win in a row when they take on the Sunshine Coast Lightning at USC Stadium on Sunday while the Magpies play the NSW Swifts at Nissan Arena on Saturday.
Q1: Magpies 11 v Thunderbirds 17
Q2: Magpies 11 v Thunderbirds 15
Q3: Magpies 16 v Thunderbirds 12
Q4: Magpies 14 v Thunderbirds 16
Nissan Player of The Match – Chelsea Pitman (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Magpies shooting statistics
Nyah Allen: Total points – 10 G1 4/4 (100%) G2 3/5 (60%)
Shimona Nelson: Total points – 23 G1 23/25 (92%)
Emma Ryde: Total points – 5 G1 5/7 (71%)
Gabrielle Sinclair: Total points – 14 G1 6/9 (66%) G2 4/7 (57%)
Thunderbirds shooting statistics
Sasha Glasgow: Total points – 3 G1 3/3 (100%) G2 0/3
Georgie Horjus: Total points – 18 G1 16/17 (94%) G2 1/3 (33%)
Lenize Potgieter: Total points – 39 G1 39/39 (100%)
Magpies starting seven: GS – Shimona Nelson GA – Gabrielle Sinclair WA – Kelsey Browne C – Madi Browne WD – Molly Jovic GD – Jodi-Ann Ward GK – Geva Mentor
Thunderbirds starting seven: GS – Lenize Potieter GA – Georgie Horjus WA – Chelsea Pitman C – Hannah Petty WD – Shadine van der Merwe GD – Layla Guscoth GK – Shamera Sterling