Fever caught cold as Thunderbirds return to form

Steve Barrett |

Romelda Aiken-George racked up 50 goals as the Thunderbirds beat the ladder-leading Fever.
Romelda Aiken-George racked up 50 goals as the Thunderbirds beat the ladder-leading Fever.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds have issued a striking Super Netball statement by trouncing the ladder-leading West Coast Fever 68-50.

Shocked last week by lowly Queensland, the Thunderbirds bounced back emphatically, bossing the opening half of Saturday night’s blockbuster at a sold-out Adelaide Entertainment Centre before blowing the Fever away down the stretch.

Tayla Williams dominated in the centre bib, Romelda Aiken-George notched 50 goals and Georgie Horjus celebrated her maiden Diamonds selection with a wonderful performance swinging between wing attack and the circle.

Pivotally, Adelaide led the gains count 19-9 against the uncharacteristically careless, out-of-sorts Fever.

“We were really disappointed with our efforts last week, and right from the get-go we didn’t play how we wanted to,” Williams said of the round-eight loss to the Firebirds.

“We had a good hard look at what we wanted to do for the rest of the season.

“Fever have been at the top of the ladder all year and we know they’re an incredible team, so we knew we had our work cut out.”

Tayla Williams.
Tayla Williams was a dominant presence in the centre for the Thunderbirds. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

Behind Williams’ midcourt exploits, the Thunderbirds started strongly, not coughing up a single turnover in the opening term, at the end of which they led 20-15.

The reigning champs ramped the heat up even more after quarter-time, dominating the second term 19-9.

Horjus was creating continual havoc in the frontcourt, while Adelaide goal keeper Shamera Sterling-Humphrey was on top in her marquee match-up with fellow Jamaican Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard.

Frustrated Fever coach Dan Ryan, interviewed by the host broadcaster after halftime, said his side’s opening two quarters were “nowhere near standard” and that they were “not good enough in all parts of our game”.

Ryan conceded the Thunderbirds were “really tearing us apart”.

The margin ballooned out to 18 goals in the third period, before West Coast regrouped momentarily and won the quarter 17-12, thanks largely to the work of English defender Fran Williams.

But Adelaide responded strongly, blanketing the Fever attack in the fourth, a Fowler-Nembhard two-pointer the visitors’ only score across the last eight lopsided minutes.