Talking points: Round 1 v Thunderbirds

1 month ago

With Round 1 done and dusted, we run through the biggest talking points from our 50-54 loss to the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Sophie Taylor

A debut and a milestone for Sophie Garbin

Is there any better way to make a club debut than to hit game number 50 along with it? That's exactly what new recruit Garbin did on the weekend, officially lining up in the black and white for the first time on Saturday evening.

Taking the court in goal attack, Garbin played a key role early, providing excellent vision and feeding into the sticky fingers of Shimona Nelson. She then suited up in her preferred position of goal shooter to finish off the game alongside Gabby Sinclair.

Garbin also racked up two intercepts to go with her five goals and eight centre pass receives, proving she can be a key cog in the Magpies front-line and transition down court.

Attacking versatility could be the game changer

The newfound versatility in the Magpies front-end is threatening to say the least, with the trio of Nelson, Garbin and Sinclair all able to have a real impact inside the goal circle.

While Nelson was the main goal scorer for the night, both Garbin and Sinclair had a real impact out the front, combining for 20 goal assists from 25 circle feeds. The rotation between the three could well and truly become key for the Magpies, with all three goalers offering very different options both inside and outside the goal circle.

While the trio's flair did not entirely come to fruition credit to the defensive pressure of the Thunderbirds, there were great signs in the Pies goal circle as the three goalers continue to build up their on-court connection.

Key outs make for a tough challenge

It is never ideal to play without an experienced face in the side, especially one as pivotal as co-captain, Ash Brazill. Out with concussion, Brazill's omission forced a midcourt reshuffle with Molly Jovic pulling on the wing defence bibs instead.

Whilst Jovic put in a monumental effort, finishing with three gains (two intercepts), the restructure forced changes across the remainder of the court making for some new-look combinations and allowing the Thunderbirds to get on top of the midcourt battle.

Factor in the loss of head coach Nicole Richardson through government Covid-19 protocols, and the Pies will look to step up upon Braz and Richo's return in the coming weeks.

Unforced errors the big question mark, but defensive pressure is ON

While the stats show that neither the Magpies nor the Thunderbirds treasured the ball, it was the unforced errors in attack that really hurt the Pies. 25 general play turnovers - almost all in the front half of the court - made it tough to capitalise at the post, with errant passes the main offender.

With greater cleanliness in attack the Magpies could pose a real challenge to their opposition, with some great vision into the goal circle showcased throughout the match.

The competitiveness and hunt were certainly there, with five players picking up defensive ball - Jacqui Newton (three intercepts), Jodi-Ann Ward (four gains), Geva Mentor (seven deflections), Jovic (two intercepts) and Garbin all showcased that nous. Translating that into goals is the next step.

There are plenty of good signs for the Magpies, making for a huge match this weekend as we host our first home game for the season against West Coast Fever on Sunday afternoon at John Cain Arena.

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