THE Collingwood Magpies have claimed an emphatic first win of the 2018 Super Netball season with a 70-50 victory over the improving Adelaide Thunderbirds, featuring Shoalhaven product Kaitlyn Bryce, at Hisense Arena.
The most encouraging element of the win for the Magpies was the performance of goal keeper Sharni Layton, who had her best game for the season to date.
After being challenged for the best part of two-and-a-half quarters, the Magpies started to find their connections – largely built on the impact Layton was having at the defensive end.
That allowed Thwaites to dominate at the other, with 55 goals from 57 attempts.
The loss means the Thunderbirds remain winless this season, but with a dramatically revamped roster built on talent from all corners of the globe, there were encouraging signs in round three.
Thunderbirds coach Dan Ryan again tinkered with his roster to find a winning formula, this time putting a new defensive trio in place with Leana de Bruin, Fiona Fowler and Kaitlyn Bryce named to start.
Adelaide started well, with a 3-1 advantage including a fantastic goal scored after Shimona Nelson soared over the top of Magpies goalkeeper Sharni Layton to claim the ball.
Despite being beaten soundly in their opening matches of the season, the Thunderbirds weren't afraid to play direct and chance their arm against the Magpies.
But Collingwood soon moved out to a three-goal buffer, which they held for most of the first quarter, however the dogged Thunderbirds refused to let them skip away – shooting at over 90% to stay in touch, 17-13 at quarter-time.
Caitlin Thwaites threatened to take the game away from Adelaide, shooting a perfect 15/15 to open up a six-goal lead early in the second quarter.
With zero intercepts midway through the second quarter, Ryan called for his charges to be more courageous.
But in pressing at the attack end, Adelaide played into Collingwood's hands, with Layton taking three intercepts in as many minutes.
But Adelaide scored the final two goals of the quarter to stay in touch at 32-27 at halftime.
Frustration began to creep into the Adelaide attack as Collingwood turned the screws and pushed the lead out to 10 goals late in the third quarter.
The scoreline blew out from there, giving the Magpies a vital win while consigning the Thunderbirds to a 0-3 start to the season.