Sport Netball Super Netball: New-look Thunderbirds break the drought

Super Netball: New-look Thunderbirds break the drought

Adelaide's Chelsea Pitman plans an attack against Fever. Photo: AAP
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Adelaide has broken a losing streak lasting almost two years with a 61-60 home win over West Coast in the opening round of Super Netball season.

Fever was ahead by two points in the final quarter when star goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler (51 goals from 51 attempts) went down with an ankle injury, and spent the remaining seven minutes sidelined at Priceline Stadium.

The new-look Thunderbirds line-up looked dominant from that point, allowing Fever just three more goals while scoring six of their own to end the club’s sorry sequence of 27 losses in a row.

Star recruit Maria Folau (24 goals, 31 attempts) stepped up in the game’s most crucial moments, while goal shooter Sasha Glasgow looked equally impressive with 37 goals from 47 attempts.

The game was the first for the Thunderbirds under new head coach Tania Obst, after Dan Ryan was dumped before the end of last season.

Obst said she didn’t feel the team got lucky just because Fowler was sidelined in the deciding minutes.

“It would have been interesting if she was still out there, but I think that we went ahead, we just sort of let them get back in there at the end,” she said.

We’ve kept them to 60 goals … to keep them there, defensively I think we did a pretty good job.”

While she said the win was encouraging, Obst conceded there was still plenty to be done.

“There’s some really good game plan execution that we did and there was some stuff that we probably need to tidy up,” she said.

NSW Swifts upset Giants

An inspired performance from Paige Hadley helped NSW Swifts deliver a statement of intent as they toppled the Giants 63-56 to claim just their second Super Netball derby win.

The Swifts were without stars Nat Haythornthwaite and Kate Eddy but they brushed those setbacks aside as player of the match Hadley delivered 25 goal assists, import Sam Wallace landed 46 of 49 goal attempts and Maddy Turner and Sarah Klau turned up the heat in defence.

NSW Swifts’ Helen Housby. Photo: AAP

The Swifts have made it clear it is no longer good enough to be considered a promising young team and they want their first taste of finals action in this third season of Super Netball.

It was just their second derby win in five attempts, the first since Round 3 of the inaugural Super Netball season in 2017.

“We took it upon ourselves and knew that we needed to step up our intensity this season and today was a pretty good start on that,” Hadley said.

“We had a couple of girls out today and we are mainly worried about the process and know each game is going to be tough for us.”

Australian captain and goal shooter Caitlin Bassett made her debut for the Giants on return from the fractured arm suffered on national team duty in England in January.

There were signs of rust in a solid performance after just one full week of training with the team as Bassett landed 28 goals from 36 attempts before being subbed during the final quarter.

The Giants have welcomed several new faces to their squad this season along with superstar Bassett, and were realistic that it would take a little time for combinations to gel.

“It’s not going to happen overnight. We have some young girls in our side now and we just need to keep working with a positive attitude regardless of what the scoreline is,” Price said.

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