Fresh faces and finals the goal for Thunderbirds: Sterling

Shamera Sterling defending a shot on goal last season. Photo: Adelaide Thunderbirds

The Adelaide Thunderbirds took great leaps forward in 2020 with five wins in the Suncorp Super Netball competition, but the team is aiming higher with finals in its sight for 2021. 

Shamera Sterling is coming into her third season as a Thunderbird and the Jamaican has quickly become a fan favourite in the defensive goal ring. 

The Inner Sanctum spoke with Sterling about pre-season, the new faces in the Thunderbirds’ defensive line-up as well as the team’s goals for the 2021 season. 

Sterling completed mandatory hotel quarantine in early March before joining back up with the squad in Adelaide. 

“We were in lockdown in Jamaica so you couldn’t do anything. I was finally happy to be back training, playing netball, and getting to know the new girls who have come into the team,” she said to The Inner Sanctum

“[Quarantine] was alright, it was a bit hard but I was with one of my fellow Jamaican’s, Kadie-Ann Dehaney (Melbourne Vixens) so it worked out fine,” she said. 

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Adelaide’s list management made some decisions in the offseason that raised eyebrows among fans, with Chelsea Pittman (released), Sasha Glasgow (West Coast Fever) and Kate Shimmin (Sunshine Coast Lightning) all departing the club.

With Layla Gusgoth also returning to England to work as a doctor, the Thunderbirds’ defence has been rebuilt around Sterling.

“It’s good to have some new faces in the backline,” Sterling said.

“It’s good to try something different and having the new defensive line up teams will be wondering what we will be coming with.”

Those new faces are fellow Sunshine Girl Latanya Wilson and Matilda Garrett, who has moved across from the Collingwood Magpies. 

“I like their work ethics. Latanya is a go-getter and Tilly, she seems a bit humble but is very dangerous on the court,” she said. 

“I’m excited and looking forward to what our combination will be like.”

The Thunderbirds have already played pre-season games against Giants Netball and the Collingwood Magpies, and Sterling said the team had a few key things to work on in their upcoming hit outs against the Melbourne Vixens and West Coast Fever. 

“Just some small things that we need to work on, such as our communication. It was our first time playing together. With one month to go, we will get it together.

“Not saying it’s bad, it’s just some little things we need to work on.”

The Adelaide squad is now complete, after South African stars Lenize Potgieter and Shadine van der Merwe arrived in Adelaide at the end of March.

The team has one month together before the season gets under way at home against the Giants on Sunday May 2. 

As for what Sterling sees ahead in 2021, she wants to help the Thunderbirds get to the Super Netball finals series for the first time.

“We want to make it to top four and if we do make it to top four, we take it a step at a time,” she said.

“We got some wins in last year but we want to improve on that in 2021.” 

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