Adelaide Thunderbirds coach Dan Ryan hailed his side’s fearless fightback to mow down West Coast Fever 56-51 in their season-opening Super Netball clash at Priceline Stadium.
After trailing by seven goals at three-quarter-time and still 46-50 in arrears with 7:59 on the clock, the Thunderbirds dominated late in Sunday’s match, with eight unanswered goals amid a 10-1 overall flurry.
“In the last quarter we just encouraged them to be fearless and go for it,” Ryan said.
“With that lack of hesitation and basic structure in defence things just fell into gear.
“They were very unified and very connected.
“It looked like we were dead and buried, seven goals down in the third term.
“All guts in the end to get across the line.”
With Kate Beveridge proving a handful in the shooting circle early, the visitors had their noses in front following a topsy-turvy, fast-paced first half.
The Fever led 16-14 at quarter-time and 29-27 after a goal-for-goal second stanza. They got the better of Adelaide again in the third period with skipper Nat Medhurst taking control and Courtney Bruce shining in defence.
The home side kept Beveridge largely under wraps after halftime when the hosts substituted Jamaican Malysha Kelly in for Fiona Themann at goal defence.
The injection of debutant Gia Abernethy sparked the Thunderbirds in the middle as the Fever lost their grip on the contest.
West Coast coach Stacey Marinkovich accused her charges of playing too much like individuals in the fourth term, veering away from the team ethos that served them well for the first three quarters.
“You’ve got to be able to keep to your game plan and we probably detoured away from that and put ourselves under more pressure than we needed to be,” she said.
“We started to try and do everything individually and didn’t stay to our structures.
“It’s certainly a valuable lesson.”