GIANTS Netball barely flinched after a knee injury to skipper Kim Green to record the expansion side’s fifth straight win against the Adelaide Thunderbirds at Canberra’s AIS Arena.
The Giants were patient and professional as they absorbed a wholehearted charge from the visitors before running out 53-38 winners.
A revamped Adelaide showed enormous pluck, led by captain Erin Bell who was a spark at wing attack and in a short burst at goal shooter.
For three quarters it did not resemble a first-versus-last battle and the final score was misleading.
But when the Giants shifted up a gear, the Thunderbirds did not have the class to match the Suncorp Super Netball pace setters.
Defenders Sam Poolman and Rebecca Bulley eventually crushed their younger opponents, while Susan Pettitt (17 goals from 20 shots) made a telling second half cameo.
Both coaches shuffled their starting lines, with Adelaide’s Bell moved out to wing attack and the Giants starting with Susan Pettitt on the bench.
The Giants’ afternoon could not have got off to a worse start when Green landed in a heap after getting her legs tangled in a mid-air collision with Bell.
A shriek from the former Diamond alerted those around her to the seriousness of her knee injury and both Bell and Jade Clarke showed great sportsmanship to attend to their former Swifts teammate.
Taylah Davies replaced her Giants captain and quickly established herself on the circle edge.
Giants defender Bulley, in her 200th national league game, had a surprisingly tough time from second-gamer Sasha Glasgow.
A shoulder from Glasgow floored Bulley in the first quarter, and the young goal attack repaid her coach’s faith with a reliable first half shooting performance.
The Thunderbirds’ fight ensured the Giants had to compete for every ball as they held a three-goal lead at halftime.
Pressure from the Giants defenders began to wear on the Thunderbirds in the second half.
Bulley and Poolman had more wins against their direct opponents, forcing Adelaide to pair Bell and Glasgow in a moving shooting combination as the margin stretched to eight towards the end of the third term.
Bell finished the game back at wing attack and compiled a game-high 27 feeds but it was not enough to turn back momentum against the Giants.