Better days ahead for Thunderbirds: coach

Adelaide Thunderbirds coach Dan Ryan believes his long-suffering side will go into this Saturday’s Super Netball clash with the NSW Swifts knowing what it takes to be successful after a win over West Coast Fever.


The Thunderbirds overcame a seven-goal three-quarter-time deficit to finish over the top of the Fever 56-51, courtesy of an explosive 10-1 finish in the final seven minutes.

There is a renewed buzz in the Adelaide camp, with last year’s cellar dwellers currently sitting second on the ladder.

“We went into this game (Fever) with so many unknowns but we leave knowing we’ve got what it takes to be successful,” Ryan said.

“Next week is a whole new ball game but we’ll take the energy from this win and move forward.

“What we’ll take out of this game is we can be really ugly for three quarters and then get it together when it matters.

“The players will see the potential this group has now.”

Pivotal in the remarkable comeback against West Coast was nerveless debutant Gia Abernethy, the daughter of former SA football great Bruce Abernethy.

The 22-year-old was promoted to the senior line-up to replace injured midcourter Hannah Petty and made an immediate impact.

Abernethy’s energy and calmness in the midcourt sparked the Thunderbirds and afforded experienced Chelsea Pitman more freedom at wing attack.

She looks destined for a long, fruitful career.

“Unbelievable,” Ryan said of Abernethy’s debut.

“She gave us a sense of calm in that front line and gave Chelsea Pitman lots of room to work.

“Gia looked like she’d been out in that league for a long, long time.”