The Adelaide Thunderbirds’ new and old guard finally clicked to restore hope to the proud club in a 59-51 Super Netball win against the Giants at Nissan Arena.
Goal attack Jo Harten was exceptional for the Giants with 20 goals but could not do enough to disrupt the strong connections built by the Thunderbirds.
Circle partners Lenize Potgieter (43/45) and Georgie Horjus (12/16) were the perfect targets for an Adelaide side still searching for its first finals appearance since the national league was re-engineered in 2017.
Adelaide led by six goals at three-quarter time and needed to hold their nerve to keep at bay the talented and skilful Giants.
They had already been steered into a strong position by youngsters Horjus and Maisie Nankivell and by the dynamism of defensive stalwart Kate Shimmin whose afternoon included a pair of flying intercepts and a blocked shot. Centre Tayla Williams, 20, was another who promised much in a second half cameo.
“I feel like a proud mum when I see Georgie out there,” Thunderbirds co-captain Chelsea Pitman said.
“She’s such a quiet go-getter and she’s got such a mature brain the way she reads the game. I really like that because she makes my job easy.”
The Giants could not match the smooth substitutions of the Thunderbirds who were without ill co-captain Hannah Petty.
Star goal shooter Caitlin Bassett sat on the bench for the entire third quarter in a worrying sign for the national team captain.
The Thunderbirds would be kicking themselves for not having made better of a polished start. Shamera Sterling and Shimmin looked to have an edge over the Giants’ all international shooting circle. But a couple of hard-won intercepts from Sam Poolman and a super shot spree from Harten wrestled back the initiative in the Giants favour.
Sterling and Shimmin regrouped with a second quarter blitz to drive Adelaide back into the lead. The defensive pair restricted the Giants to just 11 shooting attempts for the term while the Thunderbirds sank 17-of-20 to establish a 33-27 lead at halftime to set up the win.
Q1: GIANTS 19 v Thunderbirds 14
Q2: GIANTS 8 v Thunderbirds 19
Q3: GIANTS 12 v Thunderbirds 12
Q4: GIANTS 12 v Thunderbirds 14
Nissan Player of The Match – Kate Shimmin (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
GIANTS shooting statistics
Caitlin Bassett – Total points – 12 G1 – 12/15 (80%) G2 – 0/1 (0%)
Jo Harten – Total points – 26 G1 – 14/17 (82%) G2 – 6/13 (46%)
Kiera Austin – Total points – 13 G1 – 9/14 (64%) G2 – 2/9 (22%)
Thunderbirds shooting statistics
Lenize Potgieter – Total points – 44 G1 – 42/44 (95%) G2 – 1/1 (100%)
Georgie Horjus – Total points – 15 G1 – 9/11 (82%) G2 – 3/5 (60%)
Samantha Gooden – Total points – 0 G1 – 0/0 (0%) G2 – 0/3 (0%)
GIANTS starting seven: GS – Caitlin Bassett GA – Jo Harten WA – Kiera Austin C – Jamie-Lee Price WD – Amy Parmenter GD – Kristiana Manu’a GK – Sam Poolman
Thunderbirds starting seven: GS – Lenize Potgieter GA – Georgie Horjus WA – Chelsea Pitman C – Maisie Nankivell WD – Shadine Van Der Merwe GD – Kate Shimmin GK – Shamera Sterling