It’s been a long time since the Thunderbirds were holding up the trophy, with the club’s last premiership being back in 2013. Sharpshooter Erin Bell looked back on that groundbreaking grand final, that saw the Thunderbirds become the first team in the ANZ Championship to win dual premierships.
It was a strong line up running out in the Pink dress, including Sharni Norder (nee Layton), Natalie Von Bertouch, Erin Bell, Renae Ingles (nee Hallinan.) just to name a few.
Erin Bell spoke with The Inner Sanctum to look back and relive the 2013 Grand Final.
The Adelaide Thunderbirds were able to secure a Home Grand Final, with the Thunderbirds fans filling the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
The Adelaide crowd, have always been amazing and still are,” Bell told The Inner Sanctum.
“Adelaide is such a netball town, to be able to play in front of our home crowd at the entertainment centre, I think it really did help us get over the line.
“The crowd definitely gets into it and it was a close game so it was really exciting to play in front of them.”
The Thunderbirds had a strong season, finishing the home and away season as minor premiers. There were heaps of close wins for the Thunderbirds which held them in good stead for the grand final.
“We had a pretty good season, in terms of wins but all of our games were really close.
“I remember that season we won, I can’t remember exactly how many games but quite a lot of our games by only two goals.
“I think we went into the grand final pretty confident that we were able to win those close games and we knew the Firebirds were always going to be a tough opposition, so it was probably going to be a close game.
“I guess we were relaxed, pretty pumped about it, and confident. Also knowing we had to play our best on the day to win.”
The Firebirds got off to a flyer, going into the first break with a handy four-point lead, but the Thunderbirds had been in that position before and were able to back themselves to get the job done.
“I think as I said, we’d done that most games of the season and we’d been able to get it back in the end and win the close games so I that was a real strength of our team.
“If there was a few goals in it or we didn’t start as strong as we wanted to we knew were capable of pulling it back, not that you’d want to.
“We knew that we were capable of it and the fact that everyone stayed really calm, stuck to the game plan and trusted in each other and trusted in the game plan, we’d be able to get back and finish off the job which we did.”
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The Thunderbirds went into the final break with a three-point lead going into the final quarter, the final message from coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson told her side to stick to the game plan.
“I can’t remember the exact words, just to stick to that game plan. Jane, her style of coaching was quite structured, she always had a game plan to combat any opposition.
“What we knew and what we had learnt from that year and previous years with Jane was that if we stuck to it would work and we’d get the outcome.
“Not get too far ahead of ourselves, stick to the plan and just play to the very last minute. I think she made a bit of a crazy change somewhere in there were Nat Von [Bertouch] ended up going to Wing attack and Leigh Waddington came on in centre and there was bit of a mix-up.
“Every single player knew exactly what their role was and exactly what the plan was we were able to execute no matter who was on the court.”
It was a hectic final minute of the game, with a turnover in the final minute from the Firebirds that allowed them to edge closer to the Thunderbirds. Which was culminated by a goal from Bell in the dying seconds to secure the win.
“I was so focused and so in the moment as a goaler that is so important because you can’t be overwhelmed by the occasion, it’s a grand final, you’re down by one or up by 10 at the end of the day you’ve got to get that goal in.
“I think for me to in that moment to stay calm and confident with my process, treat that shot like any other shot in any other game is what allowed me to get that goal in and that doesn’t happen all the time and I’ve had games where that certainty hasn’t been the case I was in the moment in that particular game.”
“I think as well I had Carla Borrego under the ring and she was one of the best rebounders in the league so I had complete confidence if I put it up she would get that rebound and nail the goal. Having that security under the post for me really helped as well.”
Bell was awarded player of the match which was icing on the cake after securing the premiership.
“I think I was so pumped regardless, we won the grand final it was a close game.
” I was so pumped anyway and that was a bit of icing on the cake. I’m not someone who gets player of the match often, it was just a bit of icing on the cake and a bit of a pat on the back but at the end of the day as a team, we got that win and that was really all that mattered.”
The win meant a lot to the Adelaide Thunderbirds side, after having an up and down past two seasons, to finally get the ultimate success was a dream come true.
It meant a lot, 2012 we had a pretty tough year, and the year before in 2011 we didn’t even make the finals so we were definitely hungry for it.
“To get over the line, to win that game with that group of girls was really special and the fact that the club hasn’t been in that position since then as well shows you how hard it is to make grand finals and how special it really is.
“I really hope the Thunderbirds can get back in there soon.”
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