Team Girls Cup Session 3 Wrap
Sunday’s finals matchups are now set after a thoroughly entertaining session three of the Suncorp Team Girls Cup in Melbourne came to a close on Saturday night.
The final pooling round kicked off at 5pm local time with only two undefeated teams and three winless teams. The ladder was tight, exactly how you want it to be in a four session tournament.
The Adelaide Thunderbirds had the honour of “hosting” the winless GIANTS Netball to open the session, and these two put on a show! The GIANTS were in control for much of the match, jumping out to a seven point lead midway through the third. But the Thunderbirds snatched the lead late and held on to win it by one.
Hannah Petty had a blinder of a game at the wing defence position, making things difficult for the GIANTS all game at circle edge. She had three gains for the game, none bigger than the one with just over two minutes remaining deep in the GIANTS attack end. Petty is a workhorse and gives it her all whenever she plays, so this kind of thing shouldn’t surprise us.
It was a tough loss for the GIANTS in the end, and you could see it in the face of the players when the final siren sounded. The timeout address from Jo Harten which we saw in the broadcast showed a captain keen to get her team on track before the big show starts in March. They’ll get another crack this weekend in the fourth placed playoff tomorrow at 1pm.
Next up it was the undefeated West Coast Fever going up against the Collingwood Magpies, who were fresh off a big 10 point win in the second session. This one threatened to be a blowout for the Fever, but a big third quarter from the Magpies drew them level with 12 minutes to go. But the Fever steadied and ran away with a 10 point win.
We’ve spoken a lot about Courtney Bruce in these wraps so far, and she was at it again here, but I loved the game from new recruit Rudi Ellis. We know that Bruce and Sunday Aryang are probably going to own those starting defensive spots again this season, but Ellis is showing she has all the speed and ball-hawking ability needed to come on and make a difference whenever Dan Ryan feels like a change is needed.
Jacqui Newton’s game, particularly in the third, must have had the Magpies fans up and about, as she took it right up to that juggernaut Fever attack end with Jodi-Ann Ward. With Geva Mentor coming off to ice some sort of lower body injury early, Newton and Ward getting as much court time together as possible could prove invaluable, although it seemed like all smiles from Mentor on the bench.
The two winless teams of Pool A hit the court next, with the Queensland Firebirds keen to claim the scalp of the reigning champion NSW Swifts and jump them on the ladder. And it was about as classic as a preseason match can be, with Swifts shooter Laura Towell having a chance to win it in the dying seconds with a Super Shot. Unfortunately for NSW fans, the shot fell short and the Firebirds hung on.
Donnell Wallam and Gretel Bueta starred again for the Firebirds, particularly with Wallam’s ability to hit those Super Shots. The extra space that makes in those Power Five sessions (Three this weekend) means that Bueta might have more room to work with than she ever has before. Exciting times for Firebirds fans.
Without head coach Briony Akle and leading scorer Sam Wallace, this weekend was always going to be a challenge for the Swifts, particularly in attack. And this contest was made all the more difficult with Helen Housby not being available to play. The absence of those two star shooters meant that Kelly Singleton and Towell had the run out the full match, and did it a pretty stellar job. Singleton in particular looked very calm with ball in hand and should have won plenty of admirers with her play.
A place in the TGC Final was on the line in the final match of Saturday, as the Sunshine Coast Lightning could jump into top spot with a win over the undefeated Vixens. But Melbourne would not be denied, keeping the Lightning at arm’s length from start to finish, to come away with a six point win.
Liz Watson’s third game of the weekend might just have been her best, as the Diamonds captain ran wild at circle edge, finishing with 15 goal assists from 24 feeds. It’s an exciting prospect, knowing Watson will return this season. Hannah Mundy had a rough start to 2021 but grew into a solid contributor by the end of the season. With her backing up Kate Moloney, Kate Eddy and Watson, this midcourt is suddenly looking like one of the best in the comp again.
Maddie Hinchliffe has had a great second and third session today, impressing in the early game as well. But she certainly did not look out of her depth against a strong Vixens midcourt. While she doesn’t have that blistering speed that other centres/wing defences possess, she always seems to get herself in the right position and clearly has a great motor, giving and going all night. A great player to have waiting in the wings.
Match Reports and Image : https://supernetball.com.au/