For the first time in Suncorp Super Netball history, the Adelaide Thunderbirds have punched their ticket to the Suncorp Super Netball finals.
Despite a Round 12 loss to the Collingwood Magpies, the Thunderbirds have locked up a spot in the top four, as teams in the bottom half of the ladder sit three games out with two rounds remaining.
Their captain Hannah Petty fronted the media ahead of their marquee match against the Sunshine Coast Lightning at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
“It has been a long time coming, we haven’t made finals for 10 years,” Petty said.
“[It’s good] to have that locked away and we are fighting it out for the top two, [for us] to have a home final hopefully, it means the world.
“The team has been working so hard towards it, and we are just so keen to get out there.
“We want to go all the way, but we have ticked the first box making finals to start with.”
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Petty will make a long-awaited return to the Thunderbirds line-up when they take on the Lightning in Round 13 of the competition.
In a year where Petty has been in and out of the squad, it will be a much needed boost for the Thunderbirds as they get themselves set for a strong finals campaign.
“I am super excited, I’m going to be back on the court this weekend,” continued Petty.
“Can’t wait to get out with the team, but we are really looking forward to playing in front of a full house at AEC [Adelaide Entertainment Centre].
“It’s going to be an awesome atmosphere and we really want to put a good performance on heading into finals.”
It has been eight long years for Petty – who is a South Australian native and captain of the Thunderbirds, to finally get a chance to suit up for a SSN finals series for the first time.
A career which started at the Thunderbirds in 2016, the excitement for Petty and what it means to finally get to represent her home state is not lost on the 26-year-old.
“It’s super exciting, I mean all the hard works paid off I guess,” said Petty.
“We have gone through some really difficult times as a team and as a club, but to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we have made that first step towards where we want to go.
“Personally, I can’t wait to get out there with this group of girls, we set it out early that we wanted to be there, and to do that and to achieve it, now we just gotta go one step further and win the whole thing.”
As a club there have been challenges on and off the court over the past ten years, for the Thunderbirds having a strong core support from the city of Adelaide hasn’t been taken for granted.
Furthermore, for Petty and the Thunderbirds bringing a finals series to Adelaide for the first time in a decade is exciting as they look to repay the faith shown across those difficult years.
“It’s as much about them as it is about us,” continued Petty.
“We put a lot of hard work in off the court, but it’s not possible without our fans coming along, they support us, they get us through the hard times.
“We know they are going to back us in no matter what, so I always think it’s as much for them as it is for us.”
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