REPORT: PIES EDGE THUNDERBIRDS IN SECOND-HALF SURGE
A second-half resurgence has lifted the Collingwood Magpies to its third win of the 2018 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season, overcoming a winless Adelaide Thunderbirds for a tough 58-48 victory on Sunday.
Sitting 16 competition points adrift of the SSN top four, the Magpies need to make winning a habit to try and sneak their way into finals contention by Round 14.
But it wasn't the ideal start for the black and white army as an energetic Thunderbirds outfit jumped out of the blocks and won the opening two quarters to lead by two goals at half-time.
The Magpies grafted their way back into the game in the third quarter before finally exploding to life in the final term, putting the Thunderbirds away with a dominant 19-8 quarter.
Collingwood Head coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell lauded her team's ability to withstand the Thunderbirds' pressure throughout the game.
"The style of the play the Thunderbirds enforced today was really effective and they really challenged us," Keppich-Birrell said post-game.
"I was so proud of the girls and the way they stuck together.
"We've had a mindset throughout the season of building on each quarter and we did that today and to be able to dominate in that final quarter was exceptional for us."
Both sides made changes for the clash, with the Thunderbirds electing to start Bongi Msomi over English star Chelsea Pitman, while the Magpies called upon Sharni Layton to goalkeeper and started Alice Teague-Neeld at goal attack.
The Magpies looked off the pace early, struggling in the face of a determined Thunderbirds defence, with the home side racing out to a 6-1 lead. Madi Robinson steadied the ship for the Magpies, dishing off three assists, while Caitlin Thwaites was reliable and accurate to help the visitors cut the margin back to two goals.
Layton built plenty of pressure at the defensive end to help swing the momentum, with the Magpies quickly drawing level after consecutive turnovers from the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds found early success with the long ball into Shimona Nelson, but the Magpies picked them off three times in the second quarter to steal the lead.
It was a ferocious battle from that point on, with former Thunderbird Erin Bell injected for the Magpies, but it was the Thunderbirds who kept their noses in front to claim a second bonus point and a 26-24 half-time advantage.
Adelaide was dealt a blow with Kaitlyn Bryce sidelined with an apparent minor knee complaint, but it didn't slow the Thunderbirds' assault, with the home side pushing their lead out to five goals.
The Magpies surged time and time again and a late turnover gave the Magpies the bonus point for the third quarter and allowed them to close to within one goal.
Collingwood maintained the rage in the final quarter, peeling off the first five goals of the term to take the lead and open up a 44-40 advantage.
The Thunderbirds were under the pump and looked for inspiration from their bench - unleashing New Zealand international Cat Tuivaiti for her first minutes in the Suncorp Super Netball league after tearing her ACL 12 months ago, along with Pitman at wing attack.
They weren't the miracle the Thunderbirds needed, however, with the home side swamped by the Magpies to extend the margin out to 10 goals by the final siren.
Q1: Thunderbirds 13 v Magpies 12
Q2: Thunderbirds 13 v Magpies 12
Q3: Thunderbirds 14 v Magpies 15
Q4: Thunderbirds 8 v Magpies 19
Suncorp Super Netball premiership points
Collingwood Magpies 6
Adelaide Thunderbirds 2
Thunderbirds shooting statistics
Shimona Nelson 32/34
Charlee Hodges 11/11
Cathrine Tuivaiti 5/5
Magpies shooting statistics
Caitlin Thwaites 50/54
Alice Teague-Neeld 0/2
Erin Bell 8/13
Thunderbirds starting seven
GS: Shimona Nelson, GA: Charlee Hodges, WA: Bongi Msomi, C: Kaitlyn Bryce, WD: Fiona Fowler, GD: Leana de Bruin, GK: Kate Shimmin
Magpies starting seven
GS: Caitlin Thwaites, GA: Alice Teague-Neeld, WA: Madi Robinson, C: Kim Ravaillion, WD: Ash Brazill, GD: April Brandley, GK: Sharni Layton
Match MVP: Caitlin Thwaites