Magpies Netball (62) defeat NSW Swifts (50) at Hisense Arena.
Collingwood has bounced back from last week’s disappointment with an emphatic 62-50 victory over the NSW Swifts at Hisense Arena on Saturday night.
In what was a physical, tough contest in the first half, the Magpies flexed their muscle after the long break to edge ahead in the race for the Super Netball final four.
“It was a really important win," coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell said post-game.
"We saw so many more minutes of our best netball out there, both in offence and defence. There was some pretty spectacular plays, but there was some really hard fought defensive plays as well which put pressure on the other team to make mistakes.”
Set up by the gritty defensive performances of Ashleigh Brazill (two interceptions, four deflections) and April Brandley (three interceptions, two deflections) in the first 30 minutes, the Magpies were able to nullify the Swifts quick pace and ball movement, and pressure them into a game total of 33 turnovers.
“Tonight, we saw Braz lift to another level, again. She shut down both players who came on at wing attack.”
“We saw April get her hands on the ball a little bit more than we often do which was really exciting for her because she does all that hard work and doesn’t often get the stat next to her name.”
Centre Kim Ravaillion returned some sizzling form, amassing an impressive stat line of 13 goal assists, 34 feeds, two interceptions and the match MVP award.
“Kim’s game tonight was amazing – both in offence and defence. Tonight, she was the complete package and her defensive pressure and combination with Ash Brazill made sure the Swifts mid courts did not get to circle the edge which was really important for our game plan.”
Goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites was prolific in goals, shooting 48/51 at 94 per cent. Thwaites partnered with 21-year-old Alice Teague-Neeld in the first half, and the youngster put in a strong performance with six goal assists, 16-centre pass receives, two interceptions, 12 feeds and 5/9 in goals.
In the third quarter, coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell called on her first substitution, with Teague-Neeld being replaced by fellow GA Cody Lange.
Lange worked herself into the contest, finishing with 9/13 shooting and 11 centre pass receives.
Lange wasn’t the only substitution utilised, with the Magpies calling on Micaela Wilson in GD (for Brandley) and Shae Brown at WA (for Robinson) in the second half.
In just nine minutes of play - similarly to last week - Brown proved to be an injection of energy for the Magpies, securing three goal assists and eight feeds.
“To be able to get every single player out on the court tonight - and not just because we were ahead - was exciting."
“For us as a coaching staff tonight, it’s about finding out what other options we have as well as we move forward towards the finals.
"It’s about making sure everyone is on task in the plan and what they can offer within the game plan.”
Collingwood leaders Madi Robinson and Sharni Layton had fairly quiet games by their lofty standards, but in what is sure to be a pleasing sign for the coaching staff, it was a complete team performance by the Magpies.
After dismantling the Swifts, Collingwood will look ahead to next week’s game, where they travel to Western Australia to meet the West Coast Fever on Saturday evening.
“It’s really important over the next few weeks to make sure we don’t think of our opponents as being at the bottom of the ladder."
"We need to make sure we play out our game plan so we are in total control from the start until the end. It doesn’t matter who our opposition is.
“We are really close to playing our best netball. The challenge is to put it out there all the time, but tonight there was some spectacular play and I hope the fans enjoyed it, because I did.”
Magpies shooting statistics
Caitlin Thwaites 49/52 (94%)
Alice Teague-Neeld 5/9 (56%)
Cody Lange 8/12 (67%)
Swifts shooting statistics
Sam Wallace 33/36 (92%)
Helen Housby 17/17 (100%)
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
Swifts starting seven – GS: Sam Wallace, GA: Helen Housby, WA: Paige Hadley, C: Maddy Proud, WD: Abbey McCulloch, GD: Maddy Turner, GK: Sarah Klau
Match MVP: Kim Ravaillion (Magpies)Photos - Getty Images