Thunderbirds hand Mavericks Super Netball reality check

Steve Barrett |

Romelda Aiken-George (right) propelled the Thunderbirds to a 16-11 quarter-time lead.
Romelda Aiken-George (right) propelled the Thunderbirds to a 16-11 quarter-time lead.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds have made it three wins in a row after romping to a clinical 59-37 victory over the Melbourne Mavericks at John Cain Arena.

The reigning premiers were never threatened on Saturday evening, winning every quarter and strengthening their title defence with a classy display all over the court.

Georgie Horjus was dynamic in attack, Tayla Williams easily won the battle of the middle and Adelaide’s defenders forced the Mavericks’ front-court into repeated errors.

Thunderbirds' player Georgie Horjus.
Georgie Horjus scarcely put a foot wrong as the Thunderbirds crushed the Mavericks. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

“We’re really happy after two weeks in a row of pushing all four quarters out,” Horjus said.

“We have all 10 players able to be out on court at any time.

“That’s really special that we can draw on everyone to stand up at important moments.”

Romelda Aiken-George buried 12 without a miss to propel the Thunderbirds to a 16-11 quarter-time lead before the visitors pressed home that advantage with an even more commanding 16-7 second term.

Adelaide coach Tania Obst threw the magnets around with a throng of substitutions and positional changes – and every move she made struck gold.

The most devastating was the decision to shift Horjus from wing attack to goal attack.

The home side had no answer to Horjus’s playmaking and lethal finishing, nor Williams’ sublime play in the centre as the Thunderbirds marched to an imperious 32-18 halftime advantage.

The Mavericks were far too regularly the authors of their own demise, coughing up 14 first-half turnovers, to leave coach Tracey Neville frustrated.

“At the start of the game, if you don’t make your stamp on it, then you start to get scared,” she told the host broadcaster at halftime.

“At the moment we’re not willing to work our ball and have repeatable effort, and that’s quite shameful from our team.”

Mavericks coaches.
Mavericks head coach Tracey Neville was far from impressed with her team’s performance. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Molly Jovic, the hero of the Mavericks’ first-ever win last week over Sunshine Coast, was uncharacteristically harried into 10 turnovers, while star shooter Gabby Sinclair threw the ball away nine times.

Conversely, Adelaide’s ball movement remained slick and their connections sharp as they extended their buffer to 47-27 at the last break.

“We’ve not even won a quarter,” Neville forcefully told her players at the three-quarter-time huddle.

“You’re blowing yourselves up.”

The Mavs improved defensively in the fourth but their attackers were left out of breath by Shamera Sterling-Humphrey’s late blitz, which capped Adelaide’s authoritative performance.