MAGPIES NETBALL HAVE FINALLY PRODUCED DREAM TEAM FORM TO CRUSH THE ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS IN THEIR SUNCORP SUPER NETBALL CLASH AT HISENSE ARENA.
The club everyone expected to dominate the new league had been inconsistent over the first three rounds before unleashing a fearsome display in the 64-45 victory.
Adelaide had no answer to the Magpies’ Australian representatives, including peerless goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites.
Thwaites didn’t miss a goal until the third quarter, by which time her side already had the competition points in its keeping.
The Diamonds shooter finished the afternoon with 46 goals from 47 shots after providing the Magpies with a strong target both at the post and from mid-range.
But it all started with Ash Brazill who, before this round, had been overshadowed by the performances of her higher profile teammates.
The former Fever skipper showed the sort of hustle that earned her four caps for the national team.
She built a road block for the Thunderbirds feeders and helped herself to four intercepts and three deflections in a dynamic exhibition.
For Adelaide, there was just one positive, the confident shooting of rookie Sasha Glasgow who landed 19 goals from three quarters.
There was no excuse for a flat performance from either team – victory would elevate either side within striking distance of the fourth-placed Melbourne Vixens.
With so much on the line, it was no surprise to see the respective defence lines control the opening quarter.
Magpies wing defence Brazill, in particular, was intent on making life unbearable for the Thunderbirds’ Chelsea Pitman.
Fiona Themann was just as troublesome at the other end where her pressure contributed to a shaky start from Magpies goaler Cody Lange.
With Thwaites offering a flawless shooting performance, the Magpies ran away with the game in the second quarter.
Sharni Layton preyed on the Thunderbirds’ inexperienced goal shooters, using all her experience and strength to shunt her opponents into poor positions.
From there, the Diamonds’ defender was free to win ball almost at will.
The home side led by 15 goals at the long break, when Adelaide coach Dan Ryan challenged his players to make more of a contest.
After losing the third term by four goals, Ryan sent a message to his team by changing every position on the court.
photos Janos Schmidt