Manchester Thunders back into NSL decider after classy win

MANCHESTER Thunder are back in the Netball Super League Grand Final after a 63-54 win over first-time finalists, Severn Stars. Ultimately the gulf in experience and class was the difference, with the Thunder proving why they have been one of the top teams for so long.

The Thunder got the better of the starts to the match, and by the time the halfway mark of the opening term came the margin was already out to five goals. The play kept breaking down on attacking first phase for the Stars, with passes being wasted and calls going against them.

It was a stark contrast to the Thunder, who were passing down the court with a speed and precision far higher than the Stars. That strong start for the Thunder helped them take a four-goal lead into the first change.

The second quarter began with a goal for goal battle, but after a crucially timed fumble from the Stars, the Thunder really bounced and doubled their quarter time lead. The Thunder were able to generate and capitalise off a lot more turnovers than the Stars did, and as such took a nine-goal lead into the main break.

Half number two began with the Stars taking a chunk out of the deficit, but ultimately they could not get more than a couple of goals closer to taking the lead. No matter how hard players like Jo Trip and Gabby Marshall tried, the Stars just couldn’t get any closer.

But, that changed as the quarter progressed, and all of a sudden the Stars were back within three. The Thunder did then steady like the champion side they are, but the Stars had shown that this result was far from decided. It was ultimately a four goal margin as the teams turned for home.

Despite the Stars having the momentum heading into the final term, Josie Huckle and later Imogen Allison had other ideas, and after both successfully pulled off several intercept and Elmere van der Berg and Paige Reed continued to convert up the other end, the margin was all of a sudden back up to seven goals.

This shift in momentum saw the Thunder’s class really come to the fore, and the Stars’ finals inexperience perhaps came back to bite them in the end. The Thunder lead quickly grew to a double-figure margin and it ultimately proved too much for the Stars to reel back in.

MANCHESTER THUNDER 17 | 15 | 12 | 19 (63)
SEVERN STARS 13 | 10 | 17 | 14 (54)

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