Magpies piled on the pain in derby win

Gabby Sinclair prepares to shoot
Gabby Sinclair is Player of the Match as the Collingwood Magpies dominant the Victorian Derby. Photo: Collingwood Super Netball Twitter

The Collingwood Magpies have piled on the pain, dominating across the court in a 16-goal victory over Melbourne rivals the Vixens.

In the Melbourne Derby, which was relocated to Sydney due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria, the Magpies were jumped early but restructured and found their way to a derby win.

Head coach Nicole Richardson was positive about the venue move, appreciating that they were able to have a crowd.

“It was a good atmosphere, otherwise we would have been playing in front of an empty crowd at home. So it was great to see the Sydney people stay out and support both Melbourne-based teams.”

Richardson was pleased with her side’s ability to change up their structures in attack and defence.

“To start, the game was pretty ugly. We didn’t start the way we wanted to start and the Vixens jumped us early, but to the credit of the girls they found a way in the end and got the result that we were looking for.”

Gabby Sinclair’s performance in attack earned her the Nissan Player of the Match. Her two supershots in the first Power 5 kept the Magpies in the contest.

“Gabby made two shots at the end there to equal [the score], otherwise we would have been in a bit of trouble going into the second quarter,” Richardson said.

“They denied us depth across the transverse line, so we had to adapt there.

“I thought the girls did well to chip away and it was about working that extra pass in attack before trying to find Shimmy (Shimona Nelson) underneath the post.

“I thought the girls did that well.”

Shimona Nelson played a solid game in the goal circle as well; the cohesion in attack improving as the game went on.

“We struggled to find the feed into her on the back hold with Kadie (Kadie-Ann Dehaney) out there, so we needed to change her structures up a little bit,” Richardson said.

“I think she did a really good job of finding the front space today.

“Rather than being predictable and going over the top, I thought she mixed up her game quite well and offered that front space.”

The Magpies dominated right to the end and piled on the pain, scoring eight of the final 10 goals.

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Defensively, the Magpies also made some adjustments to their structure during the match.

Jodi-Ann Ward played a strong match at goal defence for Collingwood, making 10 deflections and three intercepts.

“With the Jamaican’s, we’ve got structure and Jodi knows how to play within that. But you’ve got to also let them play their natural flare,” Richardson said.

“Jodi is a ball-getter and a ball-winner. We spoke about making sure we weren’t giving, whether it was Rahni, Kaylia or even MJ when she came out there, we wanted to give them some presence.

“The umpires are really tight at the moment in terms of the contest. So we needed to show a bit of light between the attack and defence and find a stronger line to the ball.

“We always encourage balance between our structure and what we need her to play, and then also allowing her to play her own natural, creative game.”

Captain Geva Mentor was back to her best, hunting the netball with two intercepts and five deflections.

“That was probably close to Geva’s best game. She was hit hard early on in the season with a bit of a bad back, which then contributed to a calf injury. So Geva is starting to find her feet and moving like we know Geva can.”

It’s been a challenging stretch on the road for the Magpies, today’s win snapping a two-game losing streak. The squad is looking for the positives in the time away together.

“It’s always tough to be away from home, but we’ve been very well supported by the Sydney people and Netball NSW have been very supportive.

This is like a home court to us at the moment. It’s a home away from home.”

“Depending on what happens with borders, we’re hoping to get back home sometime next week if the Queensland border opens back up again,” said Richardson.

“You’ve got to see the positives in being away on the road with the group, you get to develop stronger bonds and relationships with each other and build on the culture we’re starting to build at the club.”

Collingwood now has a bye weekend, and will return to the court against the Sunshine Coast Lightning on June 26.

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