Magpies skipper Geva Mentor battles for possession in the Magpies loss to the Thunderbirds. Image: @Collingwoodsn. Twitter

The Collingwood Magpies fell to the Adelaide Thunderbirds by eight goals in Round 9 of the Super Netball Season, leaving them adrift of the top four.

The Collingwood Magpies started well in their Round 9 clash against the Adelaide Thunderbirds. That was as far as it got, as the Magpies trailed the rest of the way and went down by eight goals at Netball SA Stadium.

The Mapgies jumped out to an early four goal lead, but that evaporated by the end of the first quarter, and they never made it back to equal footing. They faced a number of injuries, and battled errors in the attacking third as they gave the ball away on the attack a number of times.

After the game, coach Nicole Richardson was frustrated with the result.

“We started really well, so I was very happy with the start, but we lost our way in the back five minutes of the first quarter, and then ordinary through the second,” Richardson explained.

“We needed to go back to playing basic netball, and simple netball, and play the short game, to take [Shamera Sterling] out of the equation.”

Sterling dominated from defence, with 12 gains for the Thunderbirds, totalling more than the Magpies had as a team.  

“It’s one of those things that each of the other seven clubs are trying to work with, and it’s the capacity to be able to play 60 minutes,” Richardson said. “Particularly at this level, the teams are so competitive and even across the board… it’s just making sure we value the ball more in attack, and particularly when we create a turnover.”

“It’s hard to win ball at this level, so any turnover we create, we’ve really got to make sure we value the ball and get it down to a scoring position” Richardson said.

Richardson was disappointed with the overall result, after a strong performance last week that also ended in a tight loss. Last week the Magpies went down to the Sunshine Coast Lightning in extra time.

“it didn’t play out the way we wanted it to play out, it’s a very disappointing result for us, and the competition is that even that we’re in a position to be able to push for Top Four,” Richardson said. “It’s disappointing that we let that one go.”

Richardson lamented the Thunderbirds defence forced the Magpies to change their process moving the ball down the court, and the fact that her charges failed to make the change fast enough.

“It’s having the capacity to be able to switch between game plans seamlessly, which we struggled with today,” Richardson said. “We didn’t recognise quickly enough to switch between the two styles of games, so that’s something I’d like to see the girls address a little more next week.”

The Magpies were up against it from the beginning, with star Gabby Sinclair a late withdrawal the morning of the game with a quad injury. Nyah Allen received the late call-up and was injected into the game in the second quarter.

“Gabby injured a quad in our training environment, so that was a bit disappointing,” Richardson said. “We thought she’d be able to get up this morning but wasn’t able to, so we’d be hoping to have her back on court next week.”

Allen worked hard while in the game, but her shooting let her down during her 37 minutes on court, shooting at just 53% (with most of those coming from the Super Shot range). Allen worked well with Kalifa McCollin and Shimona Nelson throughout, with nine goal assists and 11 feeds a strong return for the Training Partner.

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To add to those injuries, defender Jodi-Ann Ward was injured in the second quarter as well, but she returned in the last quarter.

“Jodi-Ann had a little injury, but structurally she’s all good, so it’s just a knock to the knee on landing so she should be right moving forward,” Richardson said. “We probably looked a little battle-wounded during the game, with Gabby early and [Jodi-Ann] but we should be alright next week.”

It’s the second week in a row that Richardson has pushed for more courage in attack from her team and ensuring that they convert their turnovers.

“It’s the courage to go, I keep saying to this group that I want them to get off the leash a bit, and have the courage to fly at balls, and start trying to create something defensively,” Richardson explained.

Collingwood Magpies remain a game outside of the Top 4 and face the Giants next week.  

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