Magpies, T'birds in Super Netball draw

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Collingwood Magpies narrowly avoided an upset defeat that would have badly damaged their Super Netball finals chances as they drew 46-46 with Adelaide Thunderbirds.

The lowly-placed home side led for the majority of Sunday's clash at Adelaide's Priceline Stadium but the Magpies fought to the end with their finals hopes on the line.

Collingwood recovered from a slow start to win three quarters but missed a golden opportunity to make up ground on the fourth-placed Giants as Shimona Nelson's potential game-winning goal bouncing out in the final seconds.

With the Giants recording a six-goal win over Queensland Firebirds earlier in the day, the result leaves Collingwood four points adrift in fifth spot with three rounds to play.

"You probably feel a little bit deflated coming away like that," Magpies co-captain Geva Mentor said.

"Obviously happy to get some points on the board and I thought there was a lot of learning that we could take from that game."

Both sides struggled to find their attacking flow with goal keepers Shamera Sterling and Mentor the standout performers for their teams.

Sterling made life difficult for her Jamaican compatriot Nelson (28 goals from 38 attempts) as she racked up five intercepts, 11 gains and 14 deflections while Mentor (six intercepts, 12 gains) was equally imposing for the Magpies.

Goal shooter Maria Folau (15 goals) made her return for the Thunderbirds after missing last week through illness but appeared to fade as the game wore on after a strong start.

Magpies coach Rob Wright opted to leave experienced campaigners Nat Medhurst and April Brandley out of the starting seven but both were influential after coming on in the second quarter.

The home side made a promising start as they capitalised on a series of Magpies turnovers, Chelsea Pitman providing good service to the goal circle to help build a 15-11 edge in opening quarter.

Collingwood's defence settled with the introduction of Brandley for the second quarter and when Medhurst came into the game, the Magpies reeled off the next five goals to draw level.

But with Emma Ryde joining Folau in attack, the Thunderbirds countered to take a 24-21 lead into halftime though the bonus point went the way of the Magpies.

Adelaide appeared to regain control in the third stanza as they jumped out to a six-goal lead but a late charge from the Magpies set up an enthralling final quarter, Nelson's late goal earning the Magpies a second bonus point as they cut the lead to 34-32.