GIANTS Netball have survived a scare in Adelaide, claiming an important 49-47 victory against the Thunderbirds on their home court at Priceline Stadium.
The Thunderbirds played far better than their ladder position portrays, pushing the GIANTS throughout the 60 minute contest. The visitors showed great composure to withhold a late assault from the hosts, who would not give up the chase.
For Head Coach Julie Fitzgerald there were two clear positives to take from the game – a win on the road as the Finals Series approaches, and that the GIANTS showed great courage in the process.
“While far from our best performance, I’m really proud of the courage our players showed against a really determined Thunderbirds outfit today,” Fitzgerald said.
“We gave up a lot of ball but when the moments counted we were able to stand up and keep our composure. The Thunderbirds were very good today, probably one of their best games this season, and they really took the contest to us.
“We had a lot go against us which is frustrating, but thankfully we made it count when it mattered and can go home with the two points.”
The GIANTS looked shaky up front with the relatively untested WA/C combination of Serena Guthrie and Jamie-Lee Price, however as the minutes ticked over the attacking line began to settle. While the Thunderbirds were able to hit the lead early, the visitors never allowed them to get out of reach.
Off the back of some tight defensive play from Bec Bulley and Sam Poolman, the GIANTS were able to put up six consecutive goals to stamp their control on play. In her first start of her young career, Toni Anderson grew in her role at WD which assisted her side to an early first break lead.
But it was the Thunderbirds who emerged from quarter time with their tails up, making the most of possession gains to get back within touch. Young replacement player Sasha Glasgow provided a strong target in the Thunderbirds circle and helped her side take the lead, with the GIANTS calling a tactical timeout to try and stem the flow of goals against them.
The break in play did little to stymie the Thunderbirds’ momentum, resulting in wholesale changes to the GIANTS line-up; Kristina Brice coming onto GS, moving Harten (GA), Pettitt (WA), Guthrie (C) and Price (WD) all back one position. The changes shook up the visitors, and with a minute and half until the big break the GIANTS were back on level footing.
Returning to the court for the start of the second half, Brice got things underway within the first 10 seconds to edge the GIANTS ahead. The two sides settled into a goal-for-goal exchange until a couple of calls went in favour of the hosts to disrupt the GIANTS’ momentum. The Thunderbirds took full advantage, taking control of play to get back out to a handy advantage.
But the visitors weren’t done and off the back of six unanswered goals were able to take a two goal advantage into the final quarter, setting up for a thrilling finish for the last 15 minutes.
Just as the previous three quarters before, the final term was an evenly matched affair. Just as the GIANTS were able to go on a run, the Thunderbirds answered back with their own to keep within the contest. Even in the final minutes no team was comfortable with both going hard at the contest.
In the end nothing could separate the two sides, both putting up 12 goals for the quarter, as the GIANTS showed strong composure in the final minutes to claim an important two-goal victory on the road.
The GIANTS will be back in Canberra next Sunday 14 May to take on competition leaders, the Melbourne Vixens, for Round 12 at AIS Arena. Some great seats are still available, so join us in the ACT – secure your seat today via TICKETEK.
GIANTS | Q1: 15 – Q2: 24 (9) – Q3: 37 (13) – Q4: 49 (12)
TBIRDS | Q1: 11 – Q2: 24 (13) – Q3: 35 (11) – Q4: 47 (12)
GIANTS | GS Jo Harten (C), GA Susan Pettitt, WA Serena Guthrie, C Jamie-Lee Price, WD Toni Anderson, GD Bec Bulley, GK Sam Poolman
TBIRDS | GS Sasha Glasgow, GA Erin Bell (C), WA Chelsea Pitman, C Jade Clarke, WD Renae Ingles, GD Fiona Themann, GK Ama Agbeze
GIANTS | Q2 Timeout: GS Kristina Brice, GA Harten, WA Pettitt, C Guthrie, WD Price.
TBIRDS | Q4 Timeout: C Gia Abernathy.
GIANTS: 49/58 @ 84%
J. Harten: 23/29 @ 79%
S. Pettitt: 7/9 @ 78%
K. Brice: 19/20 @ 95%
TBIRDS: 47/56 @ 84%
S. Glasgow: 27/35 @ 77%
E. Bell: 20/21 @ 95%