T-Birds give Magpies huge fright
ADELAIDE Thunderbirds' first win for the season was there for the taking at three-quarter time in the battle against Collingwood at the Entertainment Centre on Sunday.
For three quarters the Thunderbirds produced inspired netball and had a Magpies side loaded with internationals on the ropes.
It had been a stunning performance by a spirited, hungry home side who had secured two bonus points for claiming the first two quarters.
The defence was simply outstanding, Kate Shimmin in career-best form as she secured turnover after turnover and gave the side so much hope of ending the winless suffering.
And then it all fell apart in the final 15 minutes. Those issues which have plagued the side again became an anchor as too many wayward passes and clumsy actions were punished by the Magpies.
Thunderbirds coach Dan Ryan was gutted. But he was justifiably proud.
Told he would not have his contract renewed next season, he has not wavered in his devotion to the cause.
"It hurts to lose, even more so like that when we did so well," Ryan said. "The first three quarters the girls were gutsy and stuck to task beautifully.
"They were fearless in their approach and as a result put ourselves in a winning position. In the last quarter we lacked a bit of poise and composure.
"The experience of the Magpies made us pay and that was the difference. Netball is a simple game, score of your centre passes and turn your turnovers in goals."
Ryan made a brave call with his starting seven, using South African Bongi Msomi from the opening pass and she relished the opportunity.
The connection of goal attack Charlee Hodges with shooter Shimona Nelson was also applauded by Ryan, while he described Shimmin as the most fierce and fighting player in the team.
The Thunderbirds won the first two quarters by a goal and still had a one-goal lead at the final change.
However, the Magpies nailed the first six goals of the final quarter on the back of terrific defensive pressure.
The visitors pounced on any Thunderbirds' mistake and their confidence grew.
Thunderbirds shooter Cat Tuivaiti made her Super Netball debut when introduced into the contest midway through the final period.
She replaced Nelson, who again impressed with 32 goals from 34 attempts.
Diamonds shooter Caitlin Thwaites bagged 50 from 54 for the Magpies.