The Adelaide Thunderbirds have lost to the Queensland Firebirds by 24 goals – 66 vs 42 – at Priceline Stadium.
The T-Birds, who showed great improvement against NSW Swifts last round, started the game with the same intensity that tested the Swifts and were in a position to take the first bonus point of the match leading 11-10 with less than three minutes to go. However, late goals by the Firebirds resulted in the away team taking the first quarter, 15 vs 12.
The start of the second quarter continued to be an arm-wrestle, with the Adelaide Thunderbirds continuing to fight hard and frustrate the Firebirds at times, but the Queenslanders worked their way further ahead to lead 31 vs 23 at half-time.
In the third quarter, Firebirds stepped their performance up a notch to score 17 goals to the T-Birds 10.
Going into the last quarter, Ryan mixed up his seven moving Abigail Latu-Meafou into GA replacing Charlee Hodges and Kaitlyn Bryce was subbed for Bongi Msomi in C. Half-way through the term, Hodges was brought on in GS replacing Shimona Nelson.
In the last quarter, the Firebirds duo Gretel Tippett and Romelda Aiken doubled the T-Birds score 18 vs 9.
Adelaide Thunderbirds Head Coach Dan Ryan said his team’s performance was frustrating and disappointing.
“We played 20 minutes of netball that we had produced over the last month in today’s game, and the most frustrating, disappointing thing is that it’s a step back overall,” he said.
“We started the game really well. We had ourselves in a winning position in the first quarter and from there things got harder and harder. Full credit to a ferocious opposition in Firebirds who wore us down.”
Ryan urged his players to be resilient this week.
“The previous six weeks we have been building and today was certainly not a building block. We need to be more resilient to bounce back and play more than 20 minutes of quality netball.”
The Adelaide Thunderbirds young goalers in Charlee Hodges and Shimona Nelson were tested today, with Nelson going head-to-head against Australian Diamond’s GK, Laura Geitz.
Ryan said his young goal circle was aware of where improvements in their game are needed.
“The beauty about the young players is that their self-awareness is really high. They come off the court knowing they were costly with some turnovers and they can straight away tell you the errors they made and where they need to improve,” he said.
“Charlee learns at a rapid rate and Shimona has learnt a lot based on the discussion I had with her straight after the game.”
The Adelaide Thunderbirds play West Coast Fever next weekend in Perth for Round 8 of the Suncorp Super Netball season.
Adelaide Thunderbirds shooting statistics
Shimona Nelson 23/25
Charlee Hodges 14/19
Abigail Latu-Meafou 5/5
Queensland Firebirds shooting statistics
Romelda Aiken 46/61
Gretel Tippett 20/21
Adelaide Thunderbirds starting seven
GS: Shimona Nelson, GA: Charlee Hodges, WA: Chelsea Pitman, C: Kaitlyn Bryce, WD: Fiona Fowler, GD: Leana de Bruin, GK: Kate Shimmin
Queensland Firebirds starting seven
GS: Romelda Aiken, GA: Gretel Tippett, WA: Caitlyn Nevins, C: Mahalia Cassidy, WD: Gabi Simpson, GD: Tara Hinchliffe, GK: Laura Geitz
Nissan MVP: Gretel Tippett