MAGPIES SLAY GIANTS, CLAIM MAJOR SCALP IN SSN

Tiarne Swersky - April 23, 2017

Collingwood Magpies Netball has produced its best performance of the season to topple league leaders, the GWS Giants, in a thrilling 59-56 victory at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Despite a fast finishing Giants outfit, the Magpies held onto victory to claim its first consecutive wins of the Super Suncorp Netball (SSN) season.

“I’m so excited to have two wins in a row for the first time in our club," head coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell said post-game.

"The girls are just stoked. Today, I think we saw their best netball for more minutes than we’ve seen for the entire the season.

“I’m so proud of all of them. It was such a team performance."

Led by captain Madi Robinson and goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites, Collingwood fashioned its most consistent four-quarter performance to date; claiming its first major scalp of the SSN season.

Thwaites picked up where she had left off before the Easter break, shooting a perfect percentage in front of goal in the first quarter.​

She was matched by former Swifts shooting partner and now Giant, Susan Pettitt, who responded with her own impeccable shooting at the other end of the court.

The second quarter was tightly contested, with both teams going goal for goal to leave a two goal differential in favour of the Magpies at the long break.

Keppich-Birrell says the Magpies' ball-movement was crucial to her team's performance. 

“It was the treasuring of the ball and being prepared to be patient. The way they went backwards to go forwards to gain space was great. We showed today that we can use that ball movement to frustrate and put the pressure on our opposition.”

Thwaites would finish the game with an impressive 48 goals from 51 attempts, but it was Magpies mid-courters Kim Ravaillion and Robinson who were able to stem the flow of Giants momentum and extend the Magpies’ lead in the second half.

The Magpies skipper was influential in the middle, amassing 27 goal assists, 30 centre-pass receives and 39 feeds to her shooters. For the second week in a row, Robinson was named the match MVP and led her Magpies to victory.

After a steady first quarter, goal attack Cody Lange replaced Alice Teague-Neeld on court, stepping in to partner with Thwaites.

Lange was briefly subbed out in the fourth quarter for Shae Brown, but returned to the court with seven minutes to play.

One year on from her ACL injury, the goal attack proved to be a clutch performer for the Magpies, slotting three goals within the final three minutes to seal the team’s victory.

Collingwood defenders Sharni Layton and April Brandley had their hands full all game, with Giants’ attacking weapons Jo Harten and Pettitt showing their worth in front of goal for the home team.

The win sees the Magpies jump back into fourth spot over the Queensland Firebirds, while the Giants will fall out of top place on the ladder following the weekend’s results.

“The win felt like it had been building. The way the girls prepare for a game is always fantastic and professional but there is a different feeling at the club since the break.”

“It was a good chance to have a mental rest over that bye and put together all of the things we'd been talking about.”

"It’s going to be a lot of work to try and beat every team in this league. The Giants are an outstanding outfit and we’re so happy we were able to execute our plans today."

With two wins on the trot, a confident Magpies squad will travel to Tasmania on Thursday for the ‘Festival of Netball’ to be held in Launceston ahead of their round 10 game against the Firebirds at the Silverdome on Sunday afternoon.

For tickets and information on the Magpies’ Festival of Netball, head to magpiesnetball.com.au/Tasmania

Giants shooting statistics
Jo Harten 30/34 (88%)
Susan Pettitt 26/29 (90%)

Magpies shooting statistics
Caitlin Thwaites 48/51 (94%)
Cody Lange 8/11 (73%)
Alice Teague-Neeld 2/3 (67%)
Shae Brown 1/2 (50%)