Thunderbirds beat Fever in Super Netball thriller
The Adelaide Thunderbirds have come from behind to pinch a heart-stopping 54-53 win over West Coast Fever at Netball SA Stadium.
The Thunderbirds, coming off a horror 21-goal loss to Melbourne last week, started shabbily on Saturday night before slowly clawing their way into front position and ultimately extending their lead atop the Super Netball ladder.
Adelaide's players were jumping for joy after the final whistle but there was some brief conjecture around the final score, with the scoreboard at the venue giving Adelaide a one-goal lead and the television broadcast declaring a 53-all draw.
The score bench officials eventually confirmed Eleanor Cardwell's long-range bomb with just over two minutes remaining was a two-pointer, after being awarded just one point on the broadcast, and the Thunderbirds resumed their celebrations.
"I'm super proud of the effort to come from behind," English import Cardwell said.
"It was hard last week mentally, and this week the girls have trained super hard and we've had some honest conversations.
"It took a while to get going.
"We stuck together when it was tough."
The Fever, coming off a record-breaking performance against Queensland last week, dominated play early, leading 20-12 at quarter-time against a tentative Thunderbirds line-up.
Jordan Cransberg, playing just her second game and making her maiden start in the absence of first-choice centre Verity Simmons (COVID-19), was white-hot early while shooter Jhaniele Fowler had fellow Jamaican Shamera Sterling's measure initially.
Sterling lifted in the second term as Adelaide applied the defensive screws and trimmed the margin to 31-26 at halftime.
West Coast became momentarily plagued by penalties and turnovers and the Thunderbirds continued to eat into the deficit in the third.
Tippah Dwan, making her return from an ankle injury, re-tweaked the same ankle early in the fourth stanza and was replaced by Lucy Austin, whose height troubled the Fever's defence.
Captain Hanny Petty, returning from injury, also made an impact when injected off the bench in the final period.
Adelaide stole the lead for the first time inside the last five minutes and kept the momentum down the stretch as Cardwell's two super shots ensured heartbroken West Coast's fourth one-goal defeat of the season.