GIANTS fightback not enough against Pies

GIANTS Netball were unable to repeat their Round 3 performance, falling to the Collingwood Magpies Netball Club, 59-56, in front of a packed Qudos Bank Arena.

It was a topsy-turvy game for the hosts who battled their way back into the contest multiple times, however were never able to completely disrupt the Magpies’ momentum.

Head Coach Julie Fitzgerald said while she was pleased her side were able to continually fight back into the contest, it was disappointing they were never able to finish it off.

“It was really frustrating (not to be able to finish it off),” Fitzgerald said post-match.

“At various stages throughout the match we were able to launch great fight-backs, and when we got (back to) level I thought we were there. But really we just didn’t do enough early on; we didn’t get any ball defensively and didn’t convert our opportunities in attack. Collingwood are too good to not take your chances.

“I definitely thought our defensive pressure was better in the second half of the match. I’m proud of the fact that we could be five goals down against a quality side like the Magpies and fight our way back.

“I have no doubt had the game gone on for a few more minutes we would have fought back again.”

It was a flustering start for the hosts with the GIANTS turning over their first entry into the attacking third, resulting in the Magpies quickly jumping out to an early three-goal lead. It set the tone for the match as the GIANTS were forced into chase mode.

The Magpies’ charge was led literally from the front by goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites who provided a strong, consistent target up forward – creating all sorts of headaches for the GIANTS circle defenders.

But the GIANTS weren’t be deterred, recovering from their lapse to stay within the contest. Some strong defensive work helped create turnover opportunities, but the GIANTS were just as guilty of lifting their foot off the pressure with costly errors giving Magpies chances to extend their advantage.

With Captain Jo Harten converting a goal from long range within seconds of the first break, it lifted the GIANTS confidence and the side duly entered the second period with momentum. Thanks to slick play, the hosts found the equaliser within the first five minutes – setting up an arm wrestle for the packed Qudos Bank Arena crowd.

The two sides continued to trade goals until the Magpies found a purple patch late in the quarter, putting up five goals to the GIANTS’ one within two minutes. Again the GIANTS found themselves on the back foot but were able to keep the deficit within two goals, Magpies leading 31-29 at half-time.

The story continued into the second half as the teams went toe-to-toe on the scoreboard, only for the visitors to find an extra gear late in the term. The Magpies defenders were relentless, meaning every GIANTS scoring opportunity was hard-earned; Harten and shooting partner Susan Pettitt doing their best to provide a target for their midcourters.

But this time the GIANTS weren’t able to work themselves back into the contest with the Magpies taking a six-goal lead into the final quarter.

Whatever Fitzgerald said at the final break obviously had an immediate impact on her GIANTS charges, who were able to put up the first four goals consecutively to get back within two goals – the Magpies quickly calling a tactical timeout to stem the momentum shift; a move the vocal NSW crowd wasn’t happy with.

But the GIANTS had a tailwind and soon were within one goal, every player lifting their efforts to stymie their opponents. With ball safely in Pettitt’s hands, the GIANTS found the equaliser with seven minutes on the clock to set up a thrilling finale to the already epic contest.

Despite winning the final quarter by three goals, the GIANTS were unable to prevent another Magpies resurgence for the visitors to claim a three-goal victory.

The GIANTS are back on the road next weekend to take on the West Coast Fever in Round 10 at HBF Stadium (Perth, WA), Sunday 30 April.

MVP: Madi Robinson (Magpies)

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
GIANTS | Q1: 13 – Q2: 29 (16) – Q3: 41 (12) – Q4: 56 (15)
MAGPIES | Q1: 15 – Q2: 31 (16) – Q3: 47 (16) – Q4: 59 (12)

Starting Line-ups
GIANTS | GS Jo Harten (C), GA Susan Pettitt, WA Taylah Davies, C Serena Guthrie, WD Jamie-Lee Price, GD Bec Bulley, GK Sam Poolman

MAGPIES | GS Caitlin Thwaites, GA Alice Teague-Neeld, WA Madi Robinson (C), C Kim Ravaillion, WD Ash Brazill, GD April Brandley, GK Sharni Layton

Shooting Statistics
GIANTS: 56/63 @ 89%
J. Harten: 30/34 @ 88%
S. Pettitt:  26/29 @ 90%

MAGPIES: 59/67 @ 88%
C. Thwaites: 48/51 @ 94%
A. Teague-Neeld: 2/3 @ 67%
C. Lange: 8/11 @ 73%
S. Brown: ½ @ 50%

Positional Changes
GIANTS | Q4: WA Sarah Wall.

MAGPIES | Q2: GA Cody Lange; Q4: GA Shae Brown; Q4 Timeout: GA Lange.

Match Statistics