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Thunderbirds too powerful for Firebirds

The Adelaide Thunderbirds have kept their finals hopes alive after finishing with a flurry to steamroll the Queensland Firebirds 68-55 at Netball SA Stadium.

The match was in the balance when the Thunderbirds led by four early in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night, before the home side completely blanked the Firebirds late, holding them scoreless for almost the last seven minutes.

Shooter Lenize Potgieter drained 46 goals without a miss, while at the other end goalkeeper Latanya Wilson was magnificent in defence, creating absolute havoc with 10 deflections, five gains and three intercepts.

“Very happy,” captain Hannah Petty said after the Thunderbirds (4-6) moved to sixth spot. “We had to win tonight and we have to win every game, really, to cement finals.

“We were pretty upset with the performance we put out there (in losing to NSW Swifts on the weekend).

“We thought we needed to show more heart and that’s what we did today.

“We know this is our standard we need to play at now.”

Wing attack Georgie Horjus was unstoppable early, chalking up a staggering 17 feeds and eight assists in the first stanza to propel Adelaide to a 20-16 lead.

The Thunderbirds’ ball movement was confident and creative, while the Firebirds’ defence became plagued with penalties and turnovers.

Wilson and fellow Jamaican Shamera Sterling shone in the second term, but Queensland’s accuracy limited the damage and kept them in the game.

Donnell Wallam was benched for the latter stages of the half as the Firebirds instead opted for the long-range expertise of Mia Stower.

Wallam then sat out the entire third quarter but concerns the powerful shooter had sustained a leg injury were allayed when she returned in the fourth.

Firebirds skipper Kim Ravaillion was magnificent in the third period and did her best to help her side chisel into the deficit.

Ravaillion helped trim Adelaide’s cushion to three points before Potgieter got going again.

The South African buried a goal on the three-quarter-time siren to make it 52-47 to the hosts, before dominating the final term and consigning the faltering fifth-placed Firebirds (4-6) to their third successive defeat.

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