TASMANIAN MAGPIES MARCH TOWARDS FINALS
Alanna Mullan - June 19, 2018
The Tasmanian Magpies have booked in a 2018 finals berth after going 1-1 in their weekend of matches against the Giants in Canberra.
Despite registering their first loss in four weeks of Australian Netball League (ANL) action, the Magpies bounced back in game two to reaffirm their finals credentials.
The Giants had the Magpies’ number in game one, defeating the away side by 11-goals on Friday evening.
However, the Tasmanian franchise ensured they didn’t go home without a win, claiming a two-goal victory on Saturday afternoon to conclude the round six action.
The Tasmanian Magpies were without key goaler, Jane Cook, who didn’t travel to Canberra due to illness.
“It changed our attacking structure to a moving circle without Jane and it took a couple of quarters to get the connections working in the goal third,” Head Coach Kate Upton said post-game.
“Our depth was challenged in a positive way over the weekend. The group really stood up to the challenge and showed us what they are capable of.
The Giants did dominate the majority of the first hit-out, with the score inflating out to 19 goals at the final break.
Despite the margin, the Pies managed to pull the Giants’ lead back to 11 at the final buzzer.
“I wasn’t disappointed with the team’s overall performance.”
“When you’re down by such a big margin late in the game, your players can either give in or fight back, and it was encouraging to see our players close the gap late in the game.
“We took a little bit of that momentum into the second game, so it was important for us to close out that match, regardless of the result.”
Launceston local Dannielle Picket and Magpies captain Cody Lange showed positive signs in and out of the ring, providing movement and fluidity despite of Cook’s absence in goals.
Game two proved to be another physical and competitive contest, but it was the Magpies who came out on top, securing a two-goal victory on the road.
Upton highlighted the changes made to the team’s line-up, with winger Sharni Lambden moving over into goal-defence.
“Once we realigned our defensive structure, the team was really effective in moving the ball down the court and capitalised on some important turnovers.”
“This was the result of great one-on-one and team defensive pressure by all players on the court.”
Kelsie Rainbow showcased her speed down the court and offered some important feeds into Cody Lange and Gabi Sinclair, who paired nicely together in the ring.
“Kelsie was a clear standout; her work rate is elite. Her ability to execute in attack and then transition into defence is flawless”, Upton said.
The Magpies will now turn their attention to the final weekend of matches of the regular season, where they’ll host the Victorian Fury in Melbourne before the 2018 finals campaign begins.
“We’re really excited for this weekend. It’s a great opportunity to display the depth of netball talent in Victoria.
“It’s a top of the table clash, with us being second on the ladder and the Fury in number one spot.
“We’re going up against the benchmark in the competition, so it’s a great opportunity for us to measure ourselves and make adjustments before the finals begin.”
ROUND 6 WRAP
GAME 1 - Canberra Giants (52) defeated Tasmanian Magpies (41)
GAME 2 - Tasmanian Magpies (53) defeated Canberra Giants (51)
ROUND 7 FIXTURE VS. VIC FURY
GAME 1 - Saturday 23 June, 7pm, Waverley Netball Centre.
GAME 2 - Sunday 24 June, 3:30pm, Margaret Court Arena.