Round eleven saw the Giants produce a much needed win against the Adelaide Thunderbirds on Sunday to move to the second position on the ladder ahead of a tough road to the finals for the NSW-based team.

Still suffering from the crucial loss of Kimberly Green in round five and the late injury withdrawal of Sarah Wall, the Giants mid court was still giving head coach Julie Fitzgerald headaches, forcing the relatively untested duo of Serena Guthrie and Jamie-Lee Price to take up the WA/C positions respectively. The Thunderbirds, arguably producing their best performance of the season to date, had opportunities aplenty to seize control and run out the game, but ultimately, the siege was left too late in the final term.

Early within the first quarter, both teams produced a measured yet safe contest, with notable performances from the Giants shooting duo of Jo Harten and Susan Pettit. Susan Pettit’s ability to be crafty along the baseline whilst being handy on the rebound, led to the Giant’s finishing the quarter with a 4-goal advantage, 15-11.

Whilst at the other end, the dynamic and tenacious defensive duo of Rebecca Bulley and Sam Poolman caused headaches for the Thunderbirds attack, with their spilt circle defence thoroughly confusing the space and the feeders and caught the untested duo in Erin Bell and Sasha Glasgow static within the circle. Renae Ingles, in a stellar performance, shut down Serena Guthrie’s ability to feed the Giant’s attack to full capacity, whilst increasing feeds through the young Jamie-Lee Price.

Leading into the second term, the Thunderbirds entered a solid run, reducing the margin from six early in the piece to just one half way through the quarter. Sensing a change in the game, the Giant’s called their tactical time out for a major re-jig of the centre court and attacking end, with impact player Kristina Brice taking the court and Susan Pettit shifting out to a unfamiliar wing attack position.  These changes paid dividends for them momentarily, however a late surge from the home side levelled the score 24-all leading into the main break.

The third quarter saw both teams settle and lull into a goal for goal momentum until the Thunderbirds gained the upper hand with calls, breaking the built up momentum of both sides. The home side showed their fire and ability to surge and brought the margin back to a mere two goals.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds reignited their passion and intensity for the game during the final quarter whilst the Giants just held on to clench the victory. Jamie-Lee Price was instrumental in the final quarter, quietly going about her business and making a hard time for the opposition. Combined with the work of Serena Guthrie, the duo wore English international Jade Clarke down. The Thunderbirds opted for a change with young Gia Abernathy midway through the final quarter; the fresh legs brought a new spark for the birds but ultimately it was not enough.

 

Giants 49 def Adelaide Thunderbirds 47
Player of the Match: Serena Guthrie (Giants)

 

Giants
Harten 23/29 79%
Pettit 7/9 78%
Brice 19/20 95%
49/58 84%

Thunderbirds
Glasgow 27/35 77%
Bell 20/21 95%
47/56 84%

 

What they said after the game:

Jo Harten, Giants

On the win
“Relieved to get the win, two tough away trips with Perth and Adelaide, so good to go home with the two points but we have a lot to work on”.

“… we were sloppy in patches and it’s probably not good enough going into finals netball so we have a lot to work on going into raining next week”.

On the changing starting seven
“I’m not sure we have a settled 7 but it’s good to get everyone out on court, get everyone exposed to a higher level of netball and then hopefully come finals we will get successful with confident players”

 

Renae Ingles, Thunderbirds

On the game
“To only go down to the Giants by 2 is really positive they are one of the top two teams, we could have had that match there were certainly patches of brilliance and then some not so great patches where  we let ourselves down”.

On youngster Sasha Glasgow
“All of our youngest are doing such a great job and Sasha each and every week when she is given the opportunity steps up and show us what she’s got, so she’s just going to get better and better”.

 

Cover image: Marcela Massey