Talking points: Round 6 v Firebirds

22 days ago

We run through the talking points of our 67-59 win over the Queensland Firebirds in Round 6.

Sophie Taylor

The return of four stars paid dividends

It's been a tough few weeks for the Pies, but it all paid off in spades with a huge effort from returning talent this week.

Co-captain Geva Mentor made her return alongside player of the match Molly Jovic and goalers Sophie Garbin and Gabby Sinclair, with all four players more than playing their roles across the court.

Spirits were high, with Mentor's experience working to the Magpies' advantage, while Jovic played a full 60 minutes and was well and truly rewarded for her effort.

Mentor and Jovic's work rate also allowed Ash Brazill to have a major impact in the defensive pockets, coming away with five gains (four deflections and an intercept).

The combination of Garbin and Nelson continues to grow

There is no doubt the connection between Garbin and Shimona Nelson is still building, but Sunday's game was a great indicator of what the duo is capable of.

The pair put up 83 goal attempts between them, and while the accuracy was lower than intended at 78 percent, it is the volume and rebounding effort (combining for seven) that really stands out.

Factor in Garbin's 10 goal assists and both Garbin and Nelson picking up a gain apiece, as well as the input from Sinclair during the second and third quarters, and the goaling end seems to be traveling along nicely despite the early season hiccups.

Richo's clear instructions pave the way

Head coach Nicole Richardson's energy was palpable at every turn, with her composed delivery off the bench making it really clear exactly what she wanted from her team.

Richo's well-timed tactical timeouts also proved significant, allowing the returnees to have a much-needed breather and put a stop to any momentum the Firebirds could rustle up.

Most notably, Richo's pep talk with Nelson early on in the clash was pivotal to how the goal shooter finished out the game with confidence, holding strong against the physicality of Eboni Usoro-Brown and using her aerial leap to advantage against Kim Jenner.

Consistency is key

Consistency seemed to be the difference in this one, with the midcourt not seeing a rotation throughout the game and only minimal movement in goal defence and goal attack.

The next step will be to bring the high powered game and great confidence into the next game to string some good form together as we reach the mid-point of the season.

With the ladder-leading Melbourne Vixens up next week, the Magpies will need to maintain this form and work rate to really test their cross-town rivals.

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