Thunderbirds are go: Adelaide squeak to winning start

Firebirds shooter Donnell Wallam has missed two super shots inside the last nine seconds, allowing the Adelaide Thunderbirds to start their Super Netball title defence by escaping with a thrilling 63-62 win.

With the Queenslanders trailing by one at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Saturday night, Wallam went for glory but overcooked her first two-point attempt, which was rebounded by Thunderbirds defender Shamera Sterling-Humphrey, who celebrated enthusiastically.

But Sterling-Humphrey misfired the ensuing inbounds pass, which landed in the lap of Wallam - who was off-line again with her second attempt for the victory.

Adelaide's champion Jamaican defenders Sterling-Humphrey and Latanya Wilson were huge all evening, combining for 17 deflections and nine intercepts.

"I've got to turn up when my team needs me - and that's what I did," Sterling-Humphrey said.

"Myself, Latanya and Matilda (Garrett) bring experience in our defence and we have an awesome midcourt."

At the other end, Adelaide's third Jamaican, Romelda Aiken-George, scored 48 goals and proved a handful for the Firebirds, particularly early.

Romelda Aiken-George fires home one of her 48 goals against Firebirds.
Romelda Aiken-George fires home one of her 48 goals against the Firebirds.

After Queensland moved ahead 7-5, Sterling-Humphrey and Aiken-George masterminded an 8-1 Adelaide response to push the Thunderbirds ahead 18-14 at quarter-time.

Debutant Lauren Frew joined Aiken-George in getting the scoreboard moving as the Thunderbirds drew clear 34-26 before a burst of Queensland super shots ate into the deficit, Wallam's super shot on the halftime siren scaling the home side's advantage to 37-33.

Wilson was enormous in the third period as Adelaide's cushion grew to seven before the Firebirds forged another fightback.

Queensland captain Kim Ravaillion, playing her 150th game and on the comeback trail following spinal surgery, subbed in midway through the third term and her presence inspired the visitors.

Wallam's fourth super shot from as many attempts on the cusp of three-quarter-time reduced the Thunderbirds' lead to one goal.

The fourth quarter was a goal-for-goal arm wrestle, Georgie Horjus influential when shifted into Adelaide's circle while Remi Kamo's defence almost capped a miraculous steal.

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