The Collingwood Magpies and Sunshine Coast Lightning put on one of the best games of netball for the season, with plenty to learn from the extra-time thriller.
1. Netball is a game of inches
The Magpies barely put a foot wrong in Saturday afternoon’s clash but unfortunately, one side had to go home empty handed.
"I'm shattered for the girls," Nicole Richardson said, post-match.
"But on the flip side, I'm really proud of what they put out there."
“I don’t think our players could have done much more, they fought hard, and they fought right to the end.”
The Magpies produced their lowest turnover game of the season, valuing the ball and hitting their centre-pass conversion targets.
If not for some Karla Pretorius heroics in extra-time, the Magpies may just have stolen the four points.
The result only proves the strength of the competition, with the Lightning coming to the party to produce one of the best games of the season so far.
2. The stat line doesn’t always tell the story
There’s no column for hard work on the stat sheet.
Looking at Ash Brazill’s numbers from Saturday, she may not have boasted her usual impressive tally of intercepts, however there’s no denying that her performance was stifling.
Brazill kept the typically instrumental Laura Scherian quiet, whilst also providing vital defensive transition through the mid-court.
Brazill recorded the same number of centre-pass receives as her wing-attack opponent, and added two long-bomb feeds to her highlights reel.
3. We couldn’t be prouder of this group
An unexpected month-long stint away from home without a defined finish line in sight would be tough for anyone.
The Magpies packed their bags not knowing what awaited, to eventually be met with the news that they would be partaking in an extended stay in Sydney and then, the Sunshine Coast.
The group took every challenge in their stride.
The coming together of the netball community was something special, with both NSW and the Sunshine Coast assisting with the scramble to organise accommodation, training venues and match day logistics.
While taking that final win back to Melbourne would have been the fairytale finish, the Magpies are still heading home with their heads held high.