Shamera Sterling reaching for an intercept

Shamera Sterling reaching for an intercept .Credit: Suncorp Super Netball/Twitter

The Adelaide Thunderbirds recorded their third win of the season of the Magpies by eight goals to keep in touch with the top four.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds started slowly, but rounded into a rhythm to dominate the second quarter by five goals, and never looked back, running out eight-goal winners over the Magpies.

The Thunderbirds came out after their bye and built on the strong finish in their disappointing loss to the Giants. Their second home victory of the year builds on the positive signs seen in recent weeks.

After the game, coach Tania Obst noted that it was a slow start, but that the team rounded into a strong finish, led by Maisie Nankivell and Shamera Sterling.

“Shamera was pretty brilliant in some critical moments in that third quarter, turning the ball back for us when we were giving it up too easily in the forward line,” Obst said. “I’m enjoying the leadership that has developed with her over the last two and a half years, and she wants to be a leader, and what she’s doing on the court is showing that.”

Sterling had 12 gains, which was more than the Magpies had as a team, and had four in the third quarter to keep the Thunderbirds in the game despite their eight turnovers. Sterling was also crucial with five gains in the final quarter as the Thunderbirds fought to protect their lead against the fast-finishing Magpies.

Nankivell stamped her authority with 17 goal assists in the first half and finishing with 31 for the match. So strong was Nankivell in Wing Attack for the Thunderbirds, that even when Centre Hannah Petty suffered a corked thigh, they kept her in the attacking third.

“We weren’t sure whether we swing Maisie into Centre or not, but she was actually controlling that area of the Court, so we were pretty loath to take her out of that,” Obst explained. “She’s [Nankivell] physically very strong, and when her connections with Lenize [Potgieter] is on song, it’s pretty nice to watch, but I thought for the majority of the game she was critical for us.”

While Petty was off the court receiving treatment, Elle McDonald stepped into the Court and made a positive impact on the match.

“Elle has been really plugging away at our training’s, she’s very diligent with her preparation with her analysis of what her game is and what she needs to bring for us,” Obst said. “She [McDonald] brought a steadiness at times, she is a little bit older and more mature, so I think that while our structures changed a little bit, her maturity at times showed on the court.”

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Obst was positive about the win, despite the slow start, and noted that there is still plenty for the Thunderbirds to work on.  

“With our younger forward line, we’re still working through when we play fast, and when we do need to just maintain possession and have a bit of control, and release,” Obst explained. “We have to look at the start of the games because we’re not able to score on ours, and they were still able to get the ball through”

Adelaide Thunderbirds will now turn their attention to the Firebirds in Round 10 and will be hoping to remain in touch with the Top Four in the back half of the season.

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