GIANTS Netball have continued their undefeated start to Suncorp Super Netball after defeating a spirited Adelaide Thunderbirds outfit, 53-38, at Canberra’s AIS Arena.
It was a strong team performance full of comradery and mateship which saw the home side get over the line after Captain Kim Green was forced onto the sidelines early in the opening quarter with a knee injury.
Green re-emerged from the change rooms for the second half and cheered on her teammates, with Head Coach Julie Fitzgerald commenting she couldn’t be prouder the way her troops rallied together.
“It took us a little while to get into the game [following Green’s injury], but we knew we had to refocus and get on with it,” she said.
“We had a good chat during the half-time break and I thought our second half we showed a lot of courage, so that was really good. We have a strong team culture and that shone through today.”
“There were still a lot of errors today … but I won’t go away and be too concerned because they are things that we can fix up. We know we have a lot more improvement in us and we know we have a lot of work to do, but I know the team is up to the challenge.”
The GIANTS looked sharp from the first centre pass and it wasn’t long before the Thunderbirds were forced to re-think their plans in the circle thanks to a strong defensive display from Player of the Match Sam Poolman.
“I thought Sam Poolman had a great game. She started off a little bit slow but she came into it in the end – much like the rest of the team,” Fitzgerald said.
“Everyone had really good moments… generally across the board I thought the team really came together and supported each other very well.”
While Poolman did her job in the circle it was young Jamie-Lee Price making a statement in the middle third with a number of critical intercepts and touches that gave the GIANTS an early upper hand.
The GIANTS went into the first break on top but the Thunderbirds hit back with an impressive second quarter performance which saw them level the score, with Thunderbirds’ Jade Clarke producing an entertaining one-on-one contest against her international teammate Serena Guthrie.
With Adelaide’s defensive end producing some possession winning performances, Fitzgerald identified the need for change – introducing Susan Pettitt to Goal Attack while Jo Harten went to Goal Shooter; Pettitt having an immediate impact thanks to her mobile game.
However the Thunderbirds were valiant in their efforts, taking the competition to the GIANTS to produce some incredible contests across the court. In her 200th game Bec Bulley was getting involved in everything; her strong combination with Poolman growing with each outing.
As the game drew to a close the GIANTS began to pull away from the Thunderbirds, allowing Fitzgerald to trial more combinations including Rookie Toni Anderson at WD.
With five minutes to go the GIANTS were in the driver’s seat, and there was no hiding the fact Green was stoked with the team’s performance, unable to wipe the smile off her face at the full time mark.
The GIANTS will now head on the road to take on the Melbourne Vixens at Hisense Arena next Saturday 25 March.
GIANTS: Q1: 14 – Q2: 27 (13) – Q3: 40(13) – Q4: 53 (13)
THUNDERBIRDS: Q1: 10 – Q2: 24 (14) – Q3: 32(8) – Q4: 38 (6)
GIANTS: GS Kristina Brice, GA Jo Harten, WA Kim Green (C), C Serena Guthrie, WD Jamie-Lee Price, GD Bec Bulley, GK Sam Poolman
THUNDERBIRDS: GS Karyn Bailey, GA Sasha Glasgow, WA Erin Bell (C), C Gia Abernethy, WD Jade Clarke, GD Fiona Themann, GK Ama Agbeze
GIANTS | Q1 Timeout: WA Taylah Davies; Q2 Timeout: GS Harten, GA Susan Pettitt; Q4: C Price, WA Guthrie, WD Toni Anderson; Q4 Timeout: C Davies.
THUNDERBIRDS | Q3 Timeout: GS Bell, WA Chelsea Pitman; Q4: GS Bailey, WA Bell; Q4 Timeout: GA Charlee Hodges
GIANTS: 53/69 @ 77%
J. Harten: 26/35 @ 74%
K. Brice: 10/14 @ 71%
S. Pettitt: 17/20 @ 85%
THUNDERBIRDS: 36/56 @ 68%
E. Bell: 3/5 @ 60%
K. Bailey: 13/18 @ 72%
C. Hodges: 1/ 2 @ 50%
MVP: Sam Poolman (GIANTS)