Collingwood Magpies defeat Queensland Firebirds 71-67, NSW Swifts defeat Adelaide Thunderbirds 54-40

The Collingwood Magpies gave a 71-67 loss to the Queensland Firebirds in Hobart as the race to the Super Netball Finals heats up.

In Sunday’s final game, the NSW Swifts kept their play-off hopes alive in a 54-40 win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.

The Firebirds remain third in the standings but are one of four teams – including Magpies and Swifts – with 16 points.

Firebirds star Gretel Bueta struggled in the second half of her 100th national league game, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Magpies from joining the Queenslanders in the final match with four wins from 10 games.

Sixth-placed Magpies nearly squandered a 14-goal lead in the second half as the Firebirds chased hard in the closing minutes.

After being dominated early on by Jodi-Ann Ward, Bueta found his range and benefited from some gritty, precise advances from his midfield.

The big breakout was on target as they trailed by just two, but a desperate gain in possession by Magpies center Molly Jovic helped their team steady.

Ward set the stage with his pressure on Bueta, Shimona Nelson had 65 goals in 66 attempts and Kelsey Browne (34 feeds) was very quick and decisive for the Firebirds.

Bueta finally broke free from Ward’s clutches to shoot 20 goals and two super kicks for the game.

Swifts too strong for Thunderbirds

Sarah Klau planted a marker for the Commonwealth Games selection with a winning performance in the Swifts’ victory over the Thunderbirds.

Klau has served as a substitute for Diamonds goalkeeper Courtney Bruce in recent years.

Bruce will now be looking over his shoulder at the former Southern Australian, who stood alongside Thunderbirds marksmen Lenize Potgieter and Tippah Dwan.

The fact that she managed seven interceptions and seven deflections, while conceding just five penalties, would have caught the attention of Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich.

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Swifts co-captain Maddy Proud had another powerful performance at center, while teenager Sophie Fawns (17 points) was a live wire coming off the bench in support of Helen Housby (29 goals, a super kick).

Center Tayla Williams enjoyed her best game for the Thunderbirds, who wasted too much of the ball to be a genuine threat.

AAP/ABC

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