Suncorp Super Netball is heating up with round six producing some cracking games.
Sunshine Coast Lightning 64 d Melbourne Vixens 56
The Lightning secured their third straight win in Suncorp Super Netball after a less than ideal start to the season.
The opening half was hotly contested before the home team stamped their authority on the game and built what would eventually be an eight point lead.
Both Caitlin Bassett and Mwai Kumwenda were accurate, shooting at 96% and 94% respectively. But it was the defensive efforts of Karla Pretorius – who had an intercept, six deflections and two rebounds – that had a huge impact on the game.
Heading into the bye, last year’s champions find themselves in third spot on the ladder while the Vixens, who have the same 3-0-3 record as the Lightning, sit in sixth.
Post-game, Melbourne captain Kate Moloney told the club’s website the team expected a strong Lightning but there is still belief that the team can and will do better.
“I was really impressed with the way the girls kept fighting back no matter how far in front Lightning got in those first couple of quarters, we managed to swing it back.”
“The pressure they put on us in the end got to us and that’s not good enough. It’s something we need to work on; that four-quarter performance.” Moloney said.
West Coast Fever 63 d Giants Netball 61
This top of the table clash lived up to expectations with the Fever returning to the winner’s list with a two point win over the Giants.
While there was controversy surrounding blood on Serena Guthrie’s sock which forced the Giants to play briefly with six players, most of the drama came from a great game.
For every lead the Fever built, the Giants were able to peg it back with the team from the West doing enough to secure the win.
The Fever is top of the table heading into the bye and coach Stacey Marinkovich was delighted with the way her team handled the high intensity game.
“This is massive for us,” she told the club’s website.
“I wanted to see how we responded and that was a big question mark over the group.”
“Each game is like a finals game at the moment, this shows we can cope under pressure.”
Giants head coach Julie Fitzgerald was pleased with her team’s ability to stay in the match and was full of praise for the Perth crowd when she spoke to the media post-game.
“There was a lot of pressure out there, it’s hard to play over here, it’s such an awesome stadium and a great crowd.”
“We just needed a couple of things to turn our way” she said.
NSW Swifts 51 d Adelaide Thunderbirds 49
The Thunderbirds collected their first points for the season and came agonisingly close to their first win, ultimately losing by two points to the Swifts.
The final two minutes of the game had it all with scores tied, a positive umpiring decision going the way of the Thunderbirds and clutch moments from Swifts Paige Hadley and Abbey McCulloch.
While obviously disappointed about coming up just short, there were lots of good things to come out of the game for the Thunderbirds.
“Across the court we had contributors all over the place, but our defence had persistence today to keep working hard and create opportunities for the forward line, and that was outstanding,” Adelaide coach Dan Ryan said to the media post-game.
“We can also start to fine tune what we do in critical moments and put ourselves in those situations more often in training because now we know we’re capable of getting there.” he added.
For the Swifts, their spot in the top four is set heading into the bye week. Coach Briony Akle was happy with the performance.
“What pleased me most was how we toughed it out in the end to come away with the win,” Akle told the club’s website.
“I thought our defence was excellent and stepped up when we needed it most.”
Collingwood Magpies 67 d Queensland Firebirds 62
A trip to Tassie was just what the Magpies needed to grab an important five point win over the Firebirds.
Goal attack has been the problem position for Collingwood but Erin Bell came out with a bang in this game shooting 33 from 39 attempts – Caitlin Thwaites shot 34 from 40 attempts.
There were some personnel changes in the starting seven for the Magpies that seemed to pay dividends with Kim Ravaillion and Sharni Layton making important cameos in the second half of the match.
On Layton’s injection into the match, Magpies coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell told the club’s website: "The momentum in the third quarter was swinging and we thought something needed to change.”
"Sharni injected immediate and impact into the contest, and that was great for the team."
It was a less than ideal result for Romelda Aiken in her 150th game for the Firebirds who shot 42 goals from 51 attempts – her least accurate performance under the post all season.
The Firebirds are now two points outside of the top four heading into the bye week while the Magpies remain in seventh.