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Thunderbirds celebrate Hallinan milestone

Image Peter Argent

Adelaide Thunderbirds 47 (Borrego 24/32, Bell 23/30) Melbourne Vixens 45 (Bailey 23/26, Philip 18/21, Dziwoki 4/5)

Adelaide Thunderbirds have celebrated captain Renae Hallinan's 100th game defeating the Melbourne Vixens by two goals at Netball SA Stadium, 47-45. The Thunderbirds captain was instrumental in the win and clearly defeated the world's best wing attack Maddi Robinson in a dominant display. "It's about shutting her down all across the court, that's not just one matchup that's going to beat Maddi Robinson its the entire seven players," Hallinan said. "It's a team game plan and we went out there today and executed that which is what we are most thrilled with." The Thunderbirds captain was pleased with the win for many reasons and believes no one should underestimate them. "I don't think everyone lifted for my 100th game, I really think that this week we have been building and building across the four weeks," Hallinan explains. "We were really excited to take on the Vixens again this week. "It's been about our game plan each and every one of us executing that for 60 minutes and then celebrating a nice milestone after that "I'm just thrilled and so proud of the girls that everyone of us stuck to the game plan and essentially came out and showed ourselves our staff and also our fans what this team still is capable of and no one underestimate us." Adelaide's next three matches are against West Coast, Queensland and Sydney with Hallinan expecting more 'one on one' Aussie style netball over this period. "Against Aussie sides its always that hard one on one game plan and coming off a great win against - who everyone is voting as the best Australian side at the moment - gives us a lot of confidence." Hallinan said. Thunderbirds coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson was pleased that when her team were challenged late in the last quarter they were able to hold off the reigning champions. "I'm not disappointed by any of it they are the premiership team we've played them twice in three weeks, I think they were on some massive winning streak that was almost challenging ours there, so they were always going to come back at some stage," Woodlands-Thompson said. "I'm more proud of the fact that we kept them for about 50 minutes without a comeback and when they did comeback they made a couple of little mistakes and we were able to still hold it out when it counted. Adelaide went into the match with a major focus on Liz Watson (centre) and Maddi Robinson (wing attack) with Waddington and Hallinan playing deciding roles on the Vixens stars. Waddington was replaced at half time by Maddy Proud after her exhausting effort to keep Vixens Liz Watson quiet.

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"The game plan we gave Waddington was absolutely tiring to say the least we were expecting her to almost work double time on Watson and we really needed too," The Adelaide coach explained. "Watson's always done really well against us and that's one player I deliberately targeted today that we needed to cut down and to do that we gave Leigh the start and defensively she has been awesome for us. "So to do that in centre when she hasnt really played a full game at centre for us (coming back from last year) was a phenomenal job and I just think that it was always the plan to bring her back into the game late but we weren't going to get 60 minutes doing that particular game plan, that's not to say we cant get 60 minutes from her against another opponent, it's just what we needed her to do against Watson today, it required a lot of cookies to be spent and she (Waddington) spent nearly all of them at half time."

AMY STEEL STEPPING UP Steel has been terrific in defence, her two jobs on Tegan Philip within three weeks have been outstanding. "She (Steel) was fantastic today and she was on the Australian goal attack and she has squashed her twice now," Woodlands-Thompson said. "She is such a delight to coach, she is so receptive to advice, she will clarify what she doesn't know and work overtime to make sure she has done her preparation to play well. "I thought she was spot on today and she just didnt come off that mark for one minute against a fantastic goal attack, I'm rapt for her."

WOODLANDS-THOMPSON'S MESSAGE "I said to the girls that its just four lots of 15 minutes," she said. "We are not going to worry about cumulative's we just have to break it down quarter by quarter, centre pass by centre pass, contest by contest and you absolutely have to do that against a team with the quality that they have got in there."

CONFIDENCE BUILDING "The most pleasing thing about today is we are still playing with confidence despite the fact that we didn't have a win on the board until round four given we had played the best three teams in the competition at the moment," Woodlands-Thompson said. "In a way I guess a little bit of doubt can creep in, if it was a final and we had gone down today I think that probably would have really effected our confidence. "But we've kept on believing, we know that we weren't quite ready, the couple of injuries we have had, we've had a bit of a rough start to the year. "To play with the spirit we have played with the last two weeks I think stood us in really good stead for today. "We just had to get the skills and the execution right as well as keep the confidence so when those things come together then you can get that kind of result. "I thought Borrego was terrific for us again today."

VIXENS COACH SIMONE McKINNIS ON THEIR LOSS "It wasn't just the defensive pressure it was the Thunderbirds intensity being the focus right from the word go all over court," McKinnis said. "We didn't match that and didn't step up to that, we probably didn't step up to that and challenge until the last quarter," "I thought we had a really good training week, and we just really didn't play with the intensity and focus that we needed that the Thundebrirds did all the way from start to finish "We had a good start and we were 5-1 up thats the annoying part for me, those opportunities there then make it 6-1, its gone back then it was just we didn't have the lift from there on. "I think it was the last quarter we got five in a row and it was like where was that in the game. "It was a tough one for us, Thunderbirds played very well and we just didn't match them for intensity and focus.

VIXENS POST GAME ADDRESS TO PLAYERS "We just spoke about the Thunderbirds, how good they were and their intensity and they were just on everything from start to finish and why wasn't that there for us, they just have to have a look at themselves and we doing what we say and saying what we do. "We had a great start against the Pulse and the last two weeks have been a slog, and we've got the wins, we've certainly got to have a look at ourselves and ask are we fair dinkum? "The players are hating their game and that result and the best way is to turn that around is when we step back on for training next week."

QUARTER ONE- Adelaide started with Waddington in Centre and Maddie Proud on the interchange. The Melbourne Vixens made the most of their early attempts going out to a 5-1 lead, Adelaide showed some nerves early looking nervous under the ring missing some early attempts. The Thunderbirds scored four in a row to level the scores 5-5. The Vixens again ran away scoring three in a row. Adelaide called a time out during the 11th minute and came back to pile on five in a row. Bell a held ball and Borrego two short attempts were looking nervous under the ring.

QUARTER TWO- Biggest lead of the match for the Thunderbirds at the eight minute mark with four goals. Both Teams going at 100% shooting up to the time out of the 7th minute of the second term.

QUARTER THREE- Waddington taken off for Proud at Half Time. Carla Dziwoki for Karyn Bailey for the Vixens. Both sides went goal for goal for over 11 minutes with the Thunderbirds eventually scoring two goals in a row for the first time since the 9:30 mark of the second quarter.

QUARTER FOUR- Karyn Bailey replaced Carla Dziwoki at Goal Shooter. Madi Robinson went into centre with Liz Watson going to wing attack. Adelaide were dominating the match and this was evident when Bianca Chatfield called a time out at 6:06 after the Thunderbirds were out to a six goal lead 42-36. The home side looked like they were about to notch up their first season win with less than nine minutes left in the last term. With scores at 44-38, the Vixens had the momentum and scored the next three goals before Thunderbirds time out at 10:45. The Vixens scored the next two goals to make it five in a row and bring it back to a one goals game But the Thunderbirds did enough to hold for a two goal win 47-45.

Consecutive Goals- AT: 3 in a row- 0, 1, 1, 1. (3), 4 in a row- 1, 0, 0, 0. (1), 5 in a row- 1, 0, 0, 1. (2)

MV: 3 in a row- 1, 0, 0, 0. (1), 4 in a row- 1, 0, 0, 0. (1) 5 in a row- 0, 0, 0, 1. (1)

Images - Peter Argent/Kelly Assender OSLSA - copyright