Thunderbirds smash Swifts to top Super Netball ladder

The Adelaide Thunderbirds have leapt to top spot on the Super Netball ladder with one round left to play after smashing the NSW Swifts 60-48 at Ken Rosewall Arena.

The Thunderbirds were never headed or remotely threatened in Sunday’s rout in Sydney, joining the Melbourne Vixens and West Coast Fever on 10-3, but moving past both rivals by virtue of their league-best percentage.

Shamera Sterling-Humphrey (10 gains, nine deflections, three rebounds) spearheaded a suffocating defensive display from the visitors, who ensured a torrid time for the Swifts shooters, who hit just 67.2 per cent of their shots.

The fortunes of last year’s grand finalists couldn’t be more stark, with the Thunderbirds marching to their fifth successive victory and NSW slumping to their seventh straight defeat.

Chasing back-to-back titles, the T’birds can secure the minor premiership by beating Sunshine Coast Lightning next Sunday at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

“It (finishing top) would mean a lot to us,” Sterling-Humphrey said.

“We really want to get to that No.1 spot, just to get the double chance.

“We know that (Lightning match) is going to be a tough one

“It’s good that we came out and won this one.”

Jamaican book-ends Sterling-Humphrey and Romelda Aiken-George were influential from the opening pass as Adelaide moved ahead 15-12 at quarter-time, an advantage they stretched to 31-23 at half-time after Georgie Horjus came alive.

Swifts coach Briony Akle swapped and changed the formation of her side’s attacking circle but all three shooters – Sophie Fawns, Helen Housby and Uneeq Palavi – were out of sorts.

Adelaide skipper Hannah Petty was injected off the bench in the second term and starred in the third, as did Horjus, who moved seamlessly between wing attack and goal attack.

The Thunderbirds dominated the third stanza 17-10 to motor ahead 48-33 at three-quarter-time.

NSW captain Paige Hadley and defender Sarah Klau refused to throw in the towel as the home side won the last quarter but the reality is the Swifts need to beat the Giants in next week’s derby to avoid a shock wooden spoon.


Steve Barrett
(Australian Associated Press)


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