Thunderbirds defender Shamera Sterling battles with superstar Giants shooter Caitlin Bassett. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images
Thunderbirds defender Shamera Sterling battles with superstar Giants shooter Caitlin Bassett. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Sterling effort not enough to slay Giants

ADELAIDE Thunderbirds were punished for a poor first quarter with a 40-54 loss to a Giants Netball outfit fighting for a finals berth in Mile End on Sunday.

The Giants attacked the Thunderbirds with a physical approach and the home side failed to find the answers when it dropped the opening quarter by a commanding 10 goals to be under massive pressure.

To add to the misery of defeat, Thunderbirds shooters Sasha Glasgow and Emma Ryde will have scans after being forced out of the contest because of knee injuries.

Kelly Altmann of the Thunderbirds collides with Jamie-Lee Price of the Giants at Priceline Stadium. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images
Kelly Altmann of the Thunderbirds collides with Jamie-Lee Price of the Giants at Priceline Stadium. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images

"We did not have the start we wanted," Thunderbirds coach Tania Obst said. "We got caught between waiting for the penalty calls and some decision making.

"But take that first quarter out and I thought we held our own. That physicality is something we have not had in the past couple of weeks.

"The umpires are in charge of controlling that and they thought it was okay. Our skill execution and decision making, all those things we are trying to be better at, were down and the Giants were clinical.

"After quarter-time we were able to adjust and lost the second half by one goal. We were down to one shooter so it was almost a win for us."

Giants midcourters Kim Green and Jamie Lee-Price are known for testing the boundaries with their physical games and they were in the thick of the action from the outset.

Glasgow left the game late in the opening quarter and was replaced by Ryde, who gave the side a strong target until she was also helped off the court in the third period.

There was also a scare for gun Thunderbirds defender Shamera Sterling when she limped from the court after the end of the first quarter. The Jamaican stayed in the game, however, and finished with a Super Netball record 10 intercepts.

Maria Folau of the Thunderbirds under pressure. Picture: AAP Image/Kelly Barnes
Maria Folau of the Thunderbirds under pressure. Picture: AAP Image/Kelly Barnes

The Giants' pressure was unrelenting and they had 28 more attempts at goal in the first half when the Thunderbirds coughed up too many turnovers.

Obst introduced South African Shadine Van Der Merwe into the game at quarter-time and gave Kelly Altmann court time in the third quarter.

The injury to Ryde prompted the move of Chelsea Pitman from wing attack to goal attack and Hannah Petty returned to the game at wing attack.

The home side showed plenty of fight, but the damage was well and truly done in the first quarter.

News Corp Australia


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