It was set up as a day of celebration for Magpies skipper Geva Mentor as she notched up 200 league games, but her milestone celebrations did not go to plan as the Magpies were beaten by the Giants 49-58.
It was a fairly even start for the two teams, with Shimona Nelson getting Collingwood on the board first.
Though, after some poor feeds into the circle, the Magpies found themselves down five goals at the first break. While they remained around the mark all afternoon, the Magpies were ultimately beaten by the Giants by nine goals.
Post-match, head coach Nicole Richardson felt the game lacked energy and spark.
“I thought the game felt pretty flat across the board from both teams. There didn’t seem to be a lot of energy in the game,” Richardson said.
“I thought we did a good job defensively.
“I thought we really shut them down and made them work hard. We denied them a lot of their strengths. Their strength is their two-point shot and I thought our defenders did a really good job to deny that.
“Unfortunately we were just a bit off the mark with our energy and our enthusiasm,” she said.
Collingwood remained in the hunt for the four points throughout the match, never more than a few goals down. There were some strong passages of play, particularly a run of four goals in the third quarter, but it wasn’t enough to sneak in front.
“In a game like that, it was there for the taking in the last quarter and it was the team that stepped up. I don’t think neither team stepped up. It was just the way the game ended up falling I think, which was disappointing.
“I think most disappointing for me was our last five minutes.
“Where you get yourself in a position to be able to really go hard in the last five minutes and I just don’t think we were able to raise the bar there, to get to the next level that was required to win the game,” Richardson said.
English Rose Mentor was brilliant in her milestone match, as was her fellow International defender Jodi-Ann Ward. Together they combined for 13 deflections, while Ward took four intercepts.
“I thought she [Ward] was outstanding in the first half.
“Not only did she shut players down, but she won ball off her own back herself.
“I thought she had a really really good first half. Probably not as impactful in the second half where there was a bit of fatigue that set in, but you know she worked so hard in the first half.
“Credit to her, Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer have proved to be a formidable goaling circle. To be able to keep them down to what I would have thought was a lower score for them – I thought they did well,” she said.
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Richardson felt that, despite the loss, the milestone match was Mentor’s best performance individually for the season.
“I thought that was her best game this year by far, to be honest,” Richardson said.
“She was in the contest, she was moving her feet to the ball, she was getting to balls and creating some turnover for the group.
“Geva’s someone that if she doesn’t actually create the turnover herself, she’s actually setting up plays for others to create off her.
“I just thought she looked better on court, I thought her movement looked better and I thought she did a really good job today,” she said.
After the match, Mentor reflected on her career so far. She joked with the crowd that after premierships at each of her previous Australian clubs, she won’t be retiring until she gets a premiership at Collingwood.
The Magpies will face the Firebirds next weekend, whether they travel north for the clash will be confirmed by the league during the week.
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