The brilliance of Georgie Horjus has steered the Adelaide Thunderbirds to a 54-50 win over Collingwood in their Super Netball season opener.
Horjus set Netball SA Stadium alight in the first half with her exciting play-making from wing attack, racking up 21 feeds and 11 assists, before putting the Magpies to the sword in the shooting circle after the break.
Collingwood endured an interrupted build-up to the match with coach Nicole Richardson forced to isolate in Melbourne after being a close COVID-19 contact.
Richardson was afforded special dispensation to coach remotely and relay messages via mobile phone to stand-in coach Kate Upton.
The Magpies were also without co-captain Ash Brazil, who was a late scratching after suffering concussion at training, but welcomed veteran England defender Geva Mentor, who was cleared after suffering a rolled ankle.
Thunderbirds spearhead Lenize Potgeiter notched her 1,000th career goal and off-season recruit Tippah Dwan made an early impression with a pair of super shots to help turn an early 9-12 Adelaide deficit into a 16-13 quarter-time lead.
Collingwood, piloted by outstanding shooter Shimona Nelson (38 goals), marginally had the better of the middle two terms to limit the Thunderbirds’ advantage to 41-38 at three-quarter time.
That was despite the brilliance of Horjus, whose two late super-shots gave Adelaide the momentum at the last change.
The home side responded to a late Collingwood rally with a 5-0, four-minute run to put the visitors away for good.
Potgeiter and Mentor waged a tight battle all afternoon, while Thunderbirds skipper Hannah Petty led from the front with a big second half.
Molly Jovic was brilliant for the Magpies, both in the middle and defence, but Collingwood ultimately had no answers for the versatile Horjus.