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SSN R11: Magpies v T’Birds

Depleted Thunderbirds take important win.

A complete team performance led by acting captain Shamera Sterling saw the Adelaide Thunderbirds withstand a late surge from Collingwood Magpies to take a 58-53 win

Severely-depleted Adelaide Thunderbirds have catapulted to third position on the ladder by notching a courageous 58-53 victory over Collingwood Magpies at Melbourne’s State Netball Centre.

The Thunderbirds went into Sunday’s match in sixth place and without three of their regular starters due to influenza, skipper Hannah Petty and sharpshooter Lenize Potgieter ruled out on Saturday and vice-captain Maisie Nankivell withdrawn hours before the game.

Despite the tumultuous backdrop, Adelaide – who leapfrogged past Queensland Firebirds, NSW Swifts and the Giants – rallied thanks to a gutsy all-court performance with many heroes stepping up to fill the required gaps.

Tayla Williams lowered Molly Jovic’s colours in the centre, acting captain Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson were magnificent in defence, and replacement shooter Lucy Austin poured in 49 goals on Geva Mentor.

“It’s obviously disappointing not having three of our main girls here today,” Williams said.

“We wouldn’t have liked it (margin) to get so close in the end – you can tell we’ve had three games in seven days.

“But really happy to get over the line.”

A strong finish to the opening term saw the Thunderbirds move ahead 15-13 at quarter-time and they were seldom seriously threatened for the rest of the contest.

Austin benefited from the expert playmaking of Williams and Georgie Horjus in the second stanza, while Collingwood could not get anything of substance going at the other end.

It was more of the same in the third term, which was dominated by the inspirational Sterling and featured the rare sight of Jovic, Mentor and Sophie Garbin all sitting together on the bench.

Adelaide’s lead stretched to 16 goals in the fourth quarter before Magpies coach Nicole Richardson called a time-out and implored her charges to “show some character”, limit the percentage damage and “get this under 10 goals”.

Collingwood’s players responded to Richardson’s plea as a burst of super goals from Gabrielle Sinclair and some sudden signs of nerves from the visitors sliced significantly into the Thunderbirds’ big lead and minimised some of the earlier damage.

Match Report and stats: Suncorp Super Netball

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