Magpies make statement win after historic low
After being accused of lacking heart by the coach in their biggest loss of the season last week, the Magpies found their ticker again to reclaim a place in the top four with a strong win over the Queensland Firebirds on Sunday.
The Magpies were held to their lowest ever score in Super Netball in last week's 23-goal loss to the Sunshine Coast Lightning and coach Rob Wright didn't hold back in his assessment, labelling the effort "unacceptably bad" and calling on his players to take accountability for their performance.
The players responded with a 63-50 victory against the winless Firebirds at Melbourne Arena, claiming three bonus points along the way to push back to fourth place on the ladder.
In the final match before the month-long mid-season break for the netball World Cup, it was a critical win for the inconsistent Magpies to set themselves up for finals charge when the league resumes.
After last week's heavy loss, Wright made a statement with his starting seven, leaving centre Kim Ravaillion on the bench.
New Zealand recruit Kimiora Poi, who was drafted into the team mid-season to replace the injured Madi Browne for the remainder of the season, got the starting nod at centre in her place.
It was the first time this season Ravaillion had started on the bench and came after being overlooked for the Diamonds' team for next month's netball World Cup in Liverpool.
In just her fourth game with the Magpies, Poi acquitted herself well in her starting role, despite her limited time with the team. Ravaillion was injected into the game late in the third quarter.
Magpies goal attack Nat Medhurst often plays more of a feeding role to tall shooter Shimona Nelson these days, but she reminded everyone of her sublime shooting skills against the Firebirds.
Medhurst was named player of the match for her attacking performance that saw her score 18 goals at 100 per cent accuracy, her highest score of the year.
She also fired off a game-high 31 goal assists. Nelson was the game's top scorer with 45 goals from 50 attempts.
Jamaican spearhead Romelda Aiken made her return to the Queensland Firebirds line-up after a month on the sidelines with a stress fracture in her leg.
Aiken started on the bench with South African Lenize Potgieter (29/36), who has filled Aiken's shoes while she has been sidelined, remaining at goal shooter alongside Gretel Tippett (19/22).
But when Aiken did take the court for a short stint in the second quarter, it was at the other end of the court as goal keeper on fellow Jamaican Shimona Nelson, who was dominating under the post for the Magpies. She returned to the court in the fourth quarter at goal shooter.
Despite her shooting prowess as a goaler, goal keeper is not a foreign position for Aiken, who has been thrown into defence before and is often used there for Jamaica.