TOO GOOD: Renae Ingles (left) competes with Madi Robinson.
TOO GOOD: Renae Ingles (left) competes with Madi Robinson. James Elsby

Finals-bound Magpies hold off Thunderbirds

NETBALL: The Adelaide Thunderbirds almost gave Renae Ingles the perfect retirement present with an upset victory over the Collingwood Magpies in the final round of the inaugural Super Netball regular season.

The bottom-placed club pushed the fourth-placed Magpies all the way but eventually slipped to a 12th straight defeat, 49-47 at Titanium Security Arena.

Ingles, the wife of Utah Jazz NBA star Joe, was playing her 161st and final game after announcing her retirement earlier in the week.

The Magpies, led superbly in defence by ex- Thunderbird Sharni Layton, took early control and led by as many as 11 points late in the second quarter.

They held a 28-20 half-time lead before the home team staged a stunning 15-7 third-quarter revival.

The Thunderbirds levelled the scores at the end of the third quarter and then took the upper hand early in the final term.

Collingwood, with league-leading scorer Caitlin Thwaites on target, finished with a 7-3 bang in the final five minutes to deny Ingles the fairytale finish.

The Magpies finished the season with six wins from the last seven games after a slow start to the campaign.

They now take on fellow expansion side the Giants next weekend in the semi-final. The Lightning clashes with minor premier Melbourne Vixens in the other semi.

The Magpies were too slick and clinical in the first half, while the Thunderbirds were wayward, connecting at 60% at the break.

Adelaide coach Dan Ryan reacted by subbing in shooter Karyn Bailey for the inaccurate Sasha Glasgow in the circle after half-time, which sparked the comeback.