Sharpshooter Caitlin Thwaites has helped to secure Collingwood a berth in the Super Netball semi-finals, with the Magpies recording a thrilling 49-42 victory over a gallant West Coast Fever at Perth Arena.
In an overwhelming performance, Thwaites connected on her first 24 attempts and scored the Magpies’ first 32 goals on Saturday night to be the difference between the two teams.
Thwaites, the leading scorer in the competition, overpowered Fever goalkeeper Courtney Bruce to connect 45 from 48 shots overall.
The win lifts the Magpies three points clear of the fifth-placed Queensland Firebirds and ensures they finish fourth, regardless of what happens next week during the 14th and final round.
The Magpies were sharper throughout and threatened to pull away several times in the first half, when they led by nine goals midway through the second stanza. However, fuelled by a near capacity crowd and playing against several former teammates, the Fever were unwavering and levelled the scores in the third term to set up a thrilling finish.
The Magpies led by just two goals with four minutes remaining before ex-Fever player Shae Brown broke local hearts with a clutch conversion as the visitors pulled away to seal victory.
The Fever showed plenty of pluck during a second-half fightback but goal attack Kate Beveridge (24 from 31) was unable to match Thwaites’ peerless shooting. She faced tight pressure from star Magpie defender Sharni Layton, who displayed trademark hustle with three intercepts and eight deflections.
Sitting second last on the ladder with just two wins, the Fever’s season ends next Saturday night against the Melbourne Vixens at home.