Adelaide Thunderbirds extend Super Netball winning run
Perennial Super Netball strugglers Adelaide Thunderbirds are on track to break their long semi-final drought after defeating Collingwood 52-47 to chalk up their third win on the trot.
Having knocked off last season's grand finalists in consecutive weeks, the Thunderbirds maintained their recent hot form at Netball SA Stadium on Sunday to win three straight games for the first time since Super Netball's inception in 2017.
The result ensures Adelaide maintain second spot on the ladder with five wins and one draw for the season.
It's already their best return of any Super Netball campaign as they take a major step towards qualifying for the finals in a national competition for the first time since they won the ANZ Championship in 2013.
The Thunderbirds continue to excel at the defensive end with the combination of standout goal keeper Shamera Sterling, fellow Jamaican international Latanya Wilson and new Australian Diamonds squad member Matilda Garrett laying the platform for Adelaide's success.
"I think of my five years of being here, this is the best I've ever seen the Thunderbirds play consistent netball. I'm really proud of that and looking forward to what's next for us," Sterling told Fox Sports.
Sterling was the dominant force in Adelaide's defence as she racked up 11 deflections, eight gains, four intercepts and three rebounds.
Rocked by the late withdrawal of co-captain Ash Brazill due to illness, the Magpies fell behind early thanks to an ill-disciplined first-quarter effort that resulted in just four goals over the first 11 minutes, along with five unforced turnovers.
"At this level, you can't afford to start a game with that many turnovers. I think we went five-zip to start with and it just puts the pressure on, it builds it all the way down (the court)," Collingwood co-captain Geva Mentor said about her side's error rate after Adelaide closed the opening quarter with a 14-7 lead.
After committing 30 penalties in the opening stanza, Collingwood played with greater discipline in the second quarter and managed to double their offensive output but the home side still managed to increase their advantage to 29-21 by halftime.
The defensive stalemate continued in the third quarter with both sides managing 10 goals apiece but a 5-2 start to the final quarter put Collingwood in the running for an improbable comeback win.
But Sterling intervened with a timely intercept to prevent the Magpies closing the gap to four and the home side went on to secure the win despite a trio of late two-pointers from Kelly Singleton.
The loss leaves Collingwood languishing in seventh place ahead of a must-win clash against the Queensland Firebirds in Brisbane on Saturday.