Thunderbirds beat Magpies to climb into Super Netball top four

The Adelaide Thunderbirds have continued their Super Netball resurgence following a 60-52 defeat of the Collingwood Magpies in round five at USC Stadium on the Sunshine Coast.

The Thunderbirds won four premierships in the pre-Super Netball era, but the revamped national competition has not been so kind.

They produced a meagre four wins in the opening three seasons but can no longer be considered pushovers after recording the third win of their 2020 campaign to leapfrog the West Coast Fever into the top four.

The win over the Magpies, which followed Sunday’s upset of the previously unbeaten Melbourne Vixens, has given the Thunderbirds consecutive victories for the first time in Super Netball.

“It feels good to win and I think the beauty of it is, no-one really still expects us to,” Thunderbirds co-captain Chelsea Pitman said.

“We know we can do it and we have belief in there and we’re getting more confident every single time we go out there.”

Goalkeeper Shamera Sterling was outstanding for the Thunderbirds, with 12 gains, six intercepts and nine deflections.

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The Thunderbirds’ attack was led superbly by Lenize Potgieter (39 from 39 shots) and teenage rising star Georgie Horjus (17/20).

The South Australians enjoyed a 17-11 lead after the opening quarter and established a 32-22 advantage by half-time.

The Magpies fought back in the third quarter with Geva Mentor effective at the defensive end, while shooters Shimera Nelson and Nyah Allen found the target to reduce the Thunderbirds’ lead to four goals during the term.

But Potgieter slotted two late goals to give the Thunderbirds a 44-38 lead at the final break before they did enough in the fourth quarter to repel the Magpies, who are in seventh place in the eight-team competition with a 1-4 win-loss record.

The Thunderbirds next face the Sunshine Coast Lightning at USC Stadium on Sunday and the Magpies play the NSW Swifts in Brisbane on Saturday.

ABC/AAP

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