The Collingwood Magpies have held on in a nailbiter to defeat the Adelaide Thunderbirds and produce their first win of the Super Netball season.
As both sides chased their first triumph of 2021, the difference was ultimately the impeccable Shimona Nelson, who scored 36 goals from 37 attempts along with a Super Shot in an entertaining battle with fellow Jamaican Shamera Sterling.
Meanwhile, Kelsey Browne continued her strong form with 35 feeds and 25 goal assists, and was ably supported by centre Molly Jovich, who combined 29 feeds with 17 assists as the pair powered the home side to the 60-56 victory at John Cain Arena.
For the visitors, Maisie Nankivell and Hannah Petty combined for 53 feeds to provide shooters with enough opportunity, but not even a Super Shot quartet from Sam Gooden could match the feats of Nelson at the opposing end.
In the early stages of the contest, the Magpies’ transition from midcourt into attack looked improved on previous weeks, with Jovich returning from injury at centre.
She wasted no time in forming a smooth partnership with Browne, the Magpies were on a mission to expose a Thunderbirds defence which had been leaky in the season’s opening fortnight.
But the Thunderbirds matched the home team through Petty, whose midcourt class provided shooters with ample opportunity.
And coming off a dose of Power 5 pain in their loss to the Giants last week, the Magpies were also exposed by the competition’s Super Shot leader Gooden, whose first-quarter pair of double pointers threatened to undo Collingwood’s early efforts.
But at the other end, Sinclair proved her long-range capabilities were just as impressive. Her pair of well-guided Super Shot attempts in the twilight of the second term delighted the home crowd, and kept the Magpies’ beaks in front by the main break.
Also going for blow-for-blow were goalers Nelson and Potgieter. Neither missed a regular shot until the third quarter, when the latter’s misguided attempt gave the Magpies some breathing space early in the second half.
The Thunderbirds, though, were slightly bettering the Magpies in link-up play through the gelling trio of Petty, Nankivell and Horjus, and managed to level the scores by the last break to set up a thrilling final quarter.
It was ultimately accurate shooting which proved the slight gap between the two sides, and the game ended in fitting fashion when Nelson confirmed a four-goal win by shooting her 36th on the buzzer.
Originally published as Magpies hold on in Super Netball thriller