Netball: Thunderbirds blast clear after thriller in Sydney

The Magic's Casey Kopua defends against the Steel's Jhaniele Fowler in Rotorua.  Photo / Christine Cornege
The Magic's Casey Kopua defends against the Steel's Jhaniele Fowler in Rotorua. Photo / Christine Cornege

Thunderbirds 46
Swifts 43

Vixens 53
Firebirds 47

The Adelaide Thunderbirds edged past the NSW Swifts by three goals in a thrilling netball championship clash in Sydney yesterday.

The 46-43 win sees the Thunderbirds go six points clear at the top of the championship table with 10 victories from 11 matches, their only loss this year coming in round two.

Adelaide were without the services of captain Natalie von Bertouch who aggravated her injured finger at training on Friday, but were able to pressure the Swifts for the entire match.

The two teams played just two weeks ago with the Thunderbirds winning by two goals, and once again the contest was tight throughout.

The Thunderbirds held a two-goal advantage at quarter time before the Swifts levelled 21-all at halftime.

In the third quarter the Thunderbirds threatened to pull away, opening a four-goal lead, their biggest of the game.

However, a timely interception from Swifts co-captain Mo'onia Gerrard - returning after missing the last game - helped steady the ship and cut the Thunderbirds' lead back to just two goals going into the last quarter.

In the final period the Swifts had several chances to draw themselves back into the game, but were unable to capitalise as the Thunderbirds collected their tenth win of the year.

For the Thunderbirds, Carla Borrego put in a dominant four quarter display, converting 31 from 32 at 97 per cent, despite close attention from Swifts goalkeeper Sonia Mkoloma.

Erin Bell was also highly efficient for the visitors, converting 15 from 16 attempts at 94 per cent.

For the Swifts, Susan Pratley shot at 90 per cent (26 from 29) while Carla Dziwoki converted 14 from 16 attempts at 88 per cent.

In Brisbane, the Melbourne Vixens gained sweet revenge on the Queensland Firebirds with a hard-fought 53-47 victory yesterday.

The Vixens dished out some payback after the Firebirds thrashed them by 11 points in Melbourne two weeks ago.

The Vixens stay in second place on the ladder behind the Thunderbirds while the Firebirds are in third spot with three rounds left before the finals.

Former Diamonds skipper Sharelle McMahon (six goals from seven attempts) came off the bench for the final quarter to cement the Vixens' win after Tegan Caldwell (17 goals, 19 attempts) had set the platform.

The visitors led 27-25 at halftime and went into the final quarter with a handy 41-37 advantage over the hosts, who were coming off a draining overtime loss to defending champions Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic.

The match was tied at 46-46 deep into the final quarter before the Vixens bagged four straight goals to grab the winning edge.

- AAP

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