Magpies reignite season with strong win over Fever
COLLINGWOOD has given its Super Netball season a much-needed boost ahead of the bye after scoring a hard-fought win over the West Coast Fever at Hisense Arena.
After dropping their second match to cross-town rivals Melbourne Vixens last week, the Magpies hit back with a 56-43 victory over the sixth-placed Fever to push inside the top four and nudge ahead of the Queensland Firebirds.
The star-studded Magpies will now take a 4-4 season record into the Easter break where they will have the chance to regroup before the run towards the finals, which will start with a big clash against the Giants in Sydney after the bye.
The pre-season flag favourites were unable to shake the Fever in the tight first half, but pulled away in an impressive third quarter when they outscored the Fever 13-6.
Goaling machine Caitlin Thwaites again dominated under the ring for the Magpies to top-score for the match with 50 goals from 54 attempts, while captain Madi Robinson was named MVP for the match for another starring role at wing attack.
Young Magpies goal attack Alice Teague-Neeld was given the chance to search some form on court, playing out the full match to finish with 6/10, while Kaylia Stanton lead the Fever scoring with 32/42.
With Cody Lange having emerged as the team's favoured starting goal attack in recent matches, Teague-Neeld was again given her chance to start on court after struggling to make an impact in her matches earlier in the season.
While Teague-Neeld still had some shaky moments under the ring, she showed some encouraging defensive play with an opening quarter intercept and deflection.
After a slow start, the Magpies switched into gear as Robinson's brilliant delivery into the power-scoring of Thwaites powered the Magpies to a five-goal lead mid-way through the term.
But the Fever, on the back of some dogged defence from Stacey Francis and Courtney Bruce, cut the margin to three goals at the first change.
The Magpies were able to stretch their lead to four goals early in the second quarter, but the impressive shooting of goal shooter Stanton and some tenacious midcourt play helped the Fever close the gap to just one goal at the halftime break.
Magpies coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell kept her faith with Teague-Neeld, who had three goals for the first half, at goal attack for the start of the third quarter, but Francis was making her earn every ball.
At the other end, Fever veteran Nat Medhurst's frustrations were clear to see as the Magpies' defensive pairing of Sharni Layton and April Brandley started to assert their authority in the goal circle.
The lift in defensive intensity delivered an eight-goal lead for the Magpies at the final change, with Keppich-Birrell taking the opportunity to give her players on the bench with Micaela Wilson and Shae Brown coming on at goal defence and centre respectively late in the quarter.