The Adelaide Thunderbirds is an Australian netball team based in Adelaide who compete in the Suncorp Super Netball league. The Thunderbirds were formed as one of the foundation teams of the Commonwealth Bank Trophy (CBT), previously the premier netball league in Australia, which was contested from 1997–2007. After the retirement of the CBT, the Thunderbirds were one of five Australian franchises included in the ANZ Championship. After the disbanding of the trans-tasman league, Adelaide joined the new look Suncorp Super Netball. To date, the Thunderbirds have won two CBT titles (1998, 1999) and two ANZ Championship titles (2010, 2013); in addition, they have finished in the top three placings throughout their competitive history.

The Thunderbirds are coached by Tania Obst, who replaced former coach Dan Ryan at the end of the 2018 season.[1] The team is co-captained by Chelsea Pitman and Layla Guscoth, and usually play home matches at Priceline Stadium in Adelaide. The team uniform is predominantly pink, white and black.


Commonwealth Bank Trophy era

The Thunderbirds became South Australia's only team in the competition after the axing of the Adelaide Ravens in 2003, and were based out of Priceline Stadium in the Adelaide suburb of Mile End. Until 2006 The Thunderbirds were coached by Margaret Angove and captained by Peta Scholz and Laura von Bertouch. In 2007 the coach was Tanya Obst with a leadership group of comprising captain Laura von Bertouch, Natalie von Bertouch, Fiona Pointon and Kristen Hughes. Their team colours in the CBT were silver, pink and blue.

The Thunderbirds were one of the strongest teams in the CBT during that competition's existence, in its early years possibly the strongest, winning the competition twice in that period. While the club slipped to a degree in later years due to increased competition from the Melbourne Phoenix and Sydney Swifts, it has still never finished lower than third overall.

In 2006, the team's forward line of Hughes, Medhurst, and the von Bertouch sisters were developing in the Australian squad. The end of the season was disappointing, perhaps partly explained by the sidelining of Scholz (who was in top form) due to pregnancy, when they first dropped a game to the seventh placed Hunter Jaegers, and then were decimated by the Sydney Swifts in the major semifinal and the grand final.

ANZ Championship era

The Thunderbirds are South Australia's representative in the ANZ Championship. The club announced a new sponsor and a new look for the 2008 season, aligning themselves with the Port Adelaide Football Club in a sponsorship deal in which the Thunderbirds wear Port Adelaide's colours of Black, White, Teal and Silver.[2] The Thunderbirds recruited former Melbourne Phoenix coach Lisa Alexander to their coaching staff, plus Australian and former Sydney Swifts player Mo'onia Gerrard and English International representative Geva Mentor to their playing squad.[3]

In the first three years of the ANZ Championship, the Thunderbirds have reached the finals stage. In 2008, they progressed to the preliminary final before being defeated by the Magic in New Zealand. The following year they defeated the Magic to contest the grand final, which the Thunderbirds lost to the Melbourne Vixens. In 2010, the Thunderbirds finished second after the regular season, but defeated minor premiers the New South Wales Swifts to book themselves a grand final at home. For the 2010 grand final, the Thunderbirds moved to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, which had a seating capacity of 10,000. Tickets for the 2010 final sold out in 12 minutes. In front of a crowd of 9,300, the Adelaide Thunderbirds defeated the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic by 52–42 to claim the 2010 title.[4] Before the 2011 ANZ Championships the team lost key players including shooter Kate Beveridge and defender Geva Mentor, both to the Melbourne Vixens as well as defender Mo'onia Gerrard to the New South Wales Swifts. The team had a disappointing start to the season with several consecutive losses but managed to find form late in the season to finish a respectable 6th place. For the 2012 season the team had retained the core of the playing group while also gaining internationals Renae Hallinan from the Melbourne Vixens and Rebecca Bully from the New South Wales. The team had an extension to name their 12th contracted player although there was talk that Jamaican International could be the late addition to the team, it ended up being Carla Borrego. Renae Ingles captained the team in 2014 and 2015 and was followed by Erin Bell, who captained the team in 2016 and 2017.[5][6]

The Thunderbirds became the most successful team in the ANZ Championship after defeating the Queensland Firebirds to claim their second ANZ premiership in the 2013 season. The team was captained to victory by Natalie von Bertouch.[7]

Super Netball era

The Thunderbirds had a disappointing first season in the Suncorp Super Netball, finishing the 2017 season last with only one win. The club retained Dan Ryan as coach and brought in a new captain for the 2018 season, dual South African and New Zealand international Leana de Bruin.[8] Ryan's disappointing run as coach continued and he was replaced by former Giants Netball assistant coach Tania Obst before the 2019 season began.[9] The year was an unmitigated disaster for the Thunderbirds, as the team recorded a winless season for the first time in their 21-year club history.[10] With de Bruin returning to New Zealand, the team chose English internationals Chelsea Pitman and Layla Guscoth as co-captains in 2019 and showed marked improvement, winning three matches and avoiding last position.[11]


2020 Adelaide Thunderbirds roster
Players Coaching staff
Nat. Name Position(s) DoB Height
Australia Sasha Glasgow Injured GS, GA 19/07/1998 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
England Layla Guscoth Injured GD, WD, GK 02/03/1992 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Australia GA, GS 17/09/1997 1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)
Australia Maisie Nankivell WD, C, WA 26/09/1999 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Australia Hannah Petty C, WA 17/05/1997 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Australia Chelsea Pitman WA, C, GA 08/06/1988 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
South Africa Lenize Potgieter GS, GA 02/05/1994 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Australia Kate Shimmin GD, GK, WD 13/02/1992 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Jamaica Shamera Sterling GK, GD 21/10/1995 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
South Africa Shadine van der Merwe WD, GD, GK 25/12/1992 1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)
Head coach
  • Tania Obst

  • (c) – Captain
  • (cc) – Co-captain
  • (vc) – Vice-captain
  • Injured or on maternity leave – Injury / maternity leave
  • (TRP) – Temporary Replacement Player
Player profiles: Team website Last updated: 15/07/2019

Competitive record

Commonwealth Bank Trophy

Season Standings Regular season Finals Head coach
Adelaide Thunderbirds
1997 2nd 9 0 3 Lost Semi Final (Melbourne, 42–58)
Won Preliminary Final (Sydney, 65–39)
Lost Grand Final (Melbourne, 48–58)
Margaret Angove
1998 1st 11 1 2 Won Semi Final (Melbourne, 61–53)
Won Grand Final (Sydney, 48–42)
Margaret Angove
1999 1st 11 1 2 Won Semi Final (Sydney, 54–36)
Won Grand Final (Adelaide, 62–30)
Margaret Angove
2000 1st 12 0 2 Lost Semi Final (Melbourne, 52–61)
Won Preliminary Final (Sydney, 51–49)
Lost Grand Final (Melbourne, 51–52)
Margaret Angove
2001 1st 12 0 2 Lost Semi Final (Sydney, 59–63)
Won Preliminary Final (Melbourne, 57–40)
Lost Grand Final (Sydney, 32–57)
Margaret Angove
2002 2nd 12 0 2 Lost Semi Final (Melbourne, 38–53)
Won Preliminary Final (Sydney, 46–42)
Lost Grand Final (Melbourne, 44–49)
Margaret Angove
2003 3rd 10 0 4 Won Semi Final (Melbourne, 51–46)
Lost Preliminary Final (Melbourne, 43–59)
Margaret Angove
2004 2nd 12 0 2 Lost Semi Final (Sydney, 43–49)
Lost Preliminary Final (Melbourne, 43–57)
Margaret Angove
2005 3rd 12 0 2 Won Semi Final (Melbourne, 68–45)
Lost Preliminary Final (Sydney, 43–63)
Margaret Angove
2006 2nd 11 0 3 Lost Semi Final (Sydney, 42–52)
Won Preliminary Final (Melbourne, 60–53)
Lost Grand Final (Sydney, 36–65)
Margaret Angove
2007 3rd 8 0 6 Lost Semi Final (Sydney, 43–54) Tanya Obst
Regular season 120 2 30 4 Minor Premierships
Finals 11 15 2 Commonwealth Bank Trophies

ANZ Championship

Season Standings Regular season Finals Head coach
Adelaide Thunderbirds
2008 3rd 9 0 4 Won Semi Final (Melbourne, 53–48)
Lost Preliminary Final (Waikato, 49–51)
Jane Woodlands-Thompson
2009 3rd 10 0 3 Won Semi Final (Southern, 51–45)
Won Preliminary Final (Waikato, 51–37)
Lost Grand Final (Melbourne, 46–54)
Jane Woodlands-Thompson
2010 2nd 9 0 4 Won Semi Final (NSW, 52–38)
Won Grand Final (Waikato, 52–42)
Jane Woodlands-Thompson
Adelaide Thunderbirds
2011 6th 5 0 8 Did not qualify Jane Woodlands-Thompson
2012 4th 9 0 4 Lost Semi Final (Waikato, 48–49) Jane Woodlands-Thompson
2013 1st 12 0 1 Won Semi Final (Melbourne, 49–39)
Won Grand Final (Queensland, 50–48)
Jane Woodlands-Thompson
2014 8th 5 0 8 Did not qualify Jane Woodlands-Thompson
2015 7th 4 0 7 Did not qualify Jane Woodlands-Thompson
2016 10th 2 0 11 Did not qualify Michelle den Dekker
Regular season 55 0 62 1 Minor Premiership
Finals 7 3 2 ANZ Championship titles

Suncorp Super Netball

Season Standings Regular season Finals Head coach
Adelaide Thunderbirds
2017 8th 1 0 13 DNQ Dan Ryan
2018 8th 0 0 14 DNQ Dan Ryan
2019 7th 3 2 9 DNQ Tania Obst
Regular season 4 2 36 0 Minor Premierships
Finals 0 0 0 0 Super Netball titles



Most home games are played at Priceline Stadium in Adelaide, which has a seating capacity of 3,200, with others played at the 10,000 seat Adelaide Entertainment Centre. In past years the club moved occasional matches to the 8,000 seat Adelaide Arena, and in 2019 it took one home match to the Territory Netball Stadium.

With its greater spectator capacity, the Entertainment Centre hosted the ANZ Championship Grand Final in both 2010 and 2013. In 2010 the Thunderbirds defeated the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 52-42 in front of 9,300 fans, while the 2013 decider, won 50-48 by the Thunderbirds over the Queensland Firebirds, attracted 9,000 fans.

Team colours

The Thunderbirds adopted primarily silver during their years in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy, from 1997–2007. When the team joined the ANZ Championship, they changed their playing colours to teal with silver and black, in line with the colours of the Port Adelaide Power AFL team. After 2010, the Thunderbirds changed again, this time adopting pink with white and black. After 2011, the Thunderbirds' main colours became just pink and white.


In 2015 Priceline was named as Premier Partner of the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Southern Force


  1. ^ "Adelaide Thunderbirds appoint Tania Obst as coach after losing streak reaches 23 games". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 9 July 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  2. ^ Adelaide Thunderbirds - South Australia’s ANZ Championship Team
  3. ^ Adelaide Thunderbirds[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Larkin, Steve (11 July 2010). "Thunderbirds beat Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic to win ANZ netball Championship Grand Final". The Advertiser. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Ingles announces retirement". Adelaide Thunderbirds. 23 May 2017. Archived from the original on 4 May 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Thunderbirds name leadership squad". Adelaide Thunderbirds. 2 February 2017. Archived from the original on 20 April 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Netball: Adelaide Thunderbirds win trans-Tasman title with 50-48 win over Queensland Firebirds". ABC News. 15 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Leana de Bruin to captain Thunderbirds in 2018". Suncorp Super Netball. 21 March 2018. Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Adelaide Thunderbirds appoint Tania Obst as coach after losing streak reaches 23 games". ABC News. 9 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Thunderbirds suffer winless netball season". Yarrawongle Chronicle. 3 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Guscoth and Pitman named Adelaide Thunderbirds 2019 co-captains". Adelaide Thunderbirds. 6 April 2019. Archived from the original on 6 April 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Melbourne Phoenix
Commonwealth Bank Trophy Champions
Succeeded by
Melbourne Phoenix
Preceded by
Melbourne Vixens
ANZ Championship Winners
Succeeded by
Queensland Firebirds
Preceded by
Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
ANZ Championship Winners
Succeeded by
Melbourne Vixens