22/04/2024

The Adelaide Thunderbirds are ready to take their place in the SSN Grand Final on Saturday night (Picture: Adelaide Thunderbirds/Facebook)

Ten years since their last Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) grand final appearance, the Adelaide Thunderbirds are looking to recreate their stellar 2013 season, and once again become crowned this year’s premiers.

As the team awaits to play in this Saturday’s grand final on Saturday against the NSW Swifts, former Thunderbirds captain Natalie von Bertouch spoke with media to reflect on the club’s last grand final appearance back in 2013, where she helped to led the side to premiership success against the Queensland Firebirds.

“I remember not sleeping a wink the night before and kept thinking to myself ‘oh my gosh, I just gotta play four fifteen minute quarters’. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t slept, and I knew it was my last game as well, so I remember feeling really nervous.” von Bertouch shared with media on Wednesday.

“But when we got together as a team at the court, it was almost like we’re together now, we’ve got this.”

The 40-year-old spoke fondly on the event, which saw the Thunderbirds claim victory after pulling off a stunning two-point win against the Firebirds. Playing in front of a sold-out Adelaide home crowd, von Bertouch says she will always cherish the moment.

“Heading out in front of that huge, loud crowd was a moment I’ll never forget,” she said.

“I watched a bit of the footage. In my memory, it was like we were gonna win that game. But then in reflection, watching the game back, I knew it was very close and so you know, I think that confidence was pretty important in that win and I know this team going into this grand final has a huge amount of confidence.

“If you dare to dream and you are thinking and believing it, you never know what might happen.”

When asked what the Thunderbirds’ keys to their premiership success, von Bertouch touched on the team being “tight-knit” bond between the group, as it’s “more than just talent”.

From watching on from the sidelines, the former captain is impressed with what she has observed from the team heading into the finals and says the Thunderbirds “do have that connection to one another”.

“I think it’s how we go under pressure and I think when you’ve got that connection, everyone can pull through for that matter,” she said.

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Von Bertouch admitted that she was “so proud just like every other South Australian” for Thunderbirds efforts.

She also shared advice for current Thunderbirds captain Hannah Petty, advising the 26-year-old to “take every moment” as it comes and not overanalyse things constantly in her head prior to the game.

Von Bertouch acknowledged the efforts made the Thunderbirds to bounce back from last season, where the group finished off their 2022 campaign seventh on the ladder.

“It was so exciting to see them win that [semi-final], and now I’m just so proud that they get to be in the grand final. You know, finishing seventh last year to now playing in a grand final is no mean feat and I’m just incredibly proud and just behind the girls like everyone else,” she said.

“I think their fierce determination when they’re down is something this team really has. They know that they can win from any position, and so I think you know, who knows what will happen during the game.

“They may be up the whole game or they may be down the whole game. But I think what this team has is that they’ve got a never give in attitude and they’ll fight to the last moment and that’s what I think will get them over the line.”

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