Round 1 preview: Magpies ready for season opener

1 month ago

The Collingwood Magpies will begin their 2022 season with an away trip to South Australia, facing the Adelaide Thunderbirds on Saturday afternoon to open the season.

Sophie Taylor

The scenario:

New season, fresh faces, same fight.

Collingwood is in with a real chance to showcase what they’re made of this season, and that starts with a Round 1 performance to remember.

The Pies look to beat the Adelaide Thunderbirds at their own game, on their home court, with a win here vital to kickstart the Pies’ season and really prove what they are capable of.

While the Pies have not won a Round 1 clash since 2019 – the last time they made finals - there is nothing to say this match will not break the hoodoo with the close-knit group forging newfound connections and ready to step up to the task.

Unfortunately, head coach Nicole Richardson will not travel with the team, with assistant coach Kate Upton stepping up to the match day role this week. Ash Brazill is also out with a concussion.

Coming off preseason:

It has been a long, hard preseason for the Magpies as they gear up for a bigger and better year. The side has shown marked improvement since Richo took the helm in 2020, and will look to showcase that this season.

The pressure is well and truly on as the Magpies look to take advantage of their exciting squad list, with some fresh faces paving the way for a more successful season in 2022.

Watch out for the influence of Sophie Garbin in the Pies new-look attack end, teaming up with Shimona Nelson’s sticky fingers and Gabby Sinclair’s smooth moves to create an exciting three-pronged attack.

Geva Mentor returns for her 22nd season of netball at the elite level, and holds the co-captaincy with Brazill. Despite easing back into training following an ankle injury during the Team Girls Cup, expect Mentor to be back in business this week and raring to go.

An eye on the opposition:

The Thunderbirds are no easy beat, especially on home turf. After their preseason form at the Team Girls Cup, finishing third overall, they will be coming into Round 1 with plenty of confidence.

Shamera Sterling was in fine form during the preseason, with her rangy arms continuously wreaking havoc in defence. A new addition to the front-end in Tippah Dwan will also draw plenty of attention, adding to the team’s versatile, speedy attack.

Last time we met:

A slow start cost the Magpies during the Team Girls Cup, going down to the Thunderbirds by 15 goals (30-45) during the shortened format. While the Pies showed improved form across the remainder of the weekend, the Thunderbirds will take a heap of confidence out of that clash.

With a Round 9, 2021 loss to the T’Birds also in the books and a slightly shaky recent history, the Magpies will be fighting to show just what they are capable of, especially away from home.

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