MAGPIES NETBALL HAVE BARGED INTO THE SUNCORP SUPER NETBALL TOP FOUR WITH A 56-43 DISPOSAL OF WEST COAST FEVER AT MELBOURNE’S HISENSE ARENA.
Star midcourter Madi Robinson and shooter Caitlin Thwaites (50 goals at 93 per cent) torched the Fever who were right in the contest before being ruthlessly swept aside in the second half.
Time will tell whether the inconsistent Magpies can sustain the quality of that performance but they have stripped fourth place from the Firebirds at least until their clash with GIANTS Netball.
Sharni Layton was another contributing factor in the win.
After a gripping battle early, she stormed home over the top of Fever goal shooter Kaylia Stanton (32/42).
But the MVP was undoubtedly Robinson for her 41 feeds which sliced open the West Australians.
The Magpies’ revolving door at goal attack spun again to hand a start to Alice Teague-Neeld who has been restricted to the bench since the Round 3 loss to the Giants.
Facing Teague-Neeld was a settled Fever defence that has been strengthening by the week.
The ace up the Magpie’s sleeve was the creative work performed by skipper Robinson.
The champion wing attack’s fingerprints were on everything the Victorians did well in the first quarter.
Her peerless skill was demonstrated in one five-second drive during which Robinson handled and swiftly offloaded on three occasions.
Robinson was clearly in charge of the midcourt but it was fascinating to watch the learn-as-you-go progression of Stanton throughout the second quarter.
The Fever shooter had a torrid time from Layton.
With every involvement, however, she made increasingly smarter decisions concerning how she used her 1.89m frame to combat Layton’s strength.
Her 13 second-quarter goals helped the Fever nibble the deficit back to one goal at halftime.
The spectre of Layton could not be quelled indefinitely, and it was in the critical third quarter that the acting Diamonds captain bludgeoned her way back into the game.
Layton and defensive partner April Brandley restricted the Fever to six goals for the quarter as the hosts jumped to a 41-33 lead at the final change.
Teague-Neeld was unable to make an impact on the scoreboard but what she did offer was a defensive presence at the attack end.
Her two intercepts formed the first line of defence for the Magpies.
Nissan Player of the Match: Madi Robinson (Magpies)
Kate Battersby, Roland Garros
Team Bath Netball produced their highest-scoring performance of the Vitality Superleague season so far as they beat Sirens 63-47 to move up to fourth in the table.