The Adelaide Thunderbirds have made a successful return to their home state with a solid 61-49 victory over the Collingwood Magpies that maintained their Super Netball finals hopes.
After playing the first nine rounds of the season in the league's Queensland hub, the Thunderbirds opened a three-match home stand at Priceline Stadium on Sunday with a confidence-building win over an injury-ravaged Magpies.
Adelaide met some stern resistance from the visitors but finished strongly to snap a four-match losing streak and rise to fifth on the ladder, six points behind the fourth-placed West Coast Fever.
The attack pairing of South African Lenize Potgieter (41/46) and local product Georgie Horjus continued to develop with the duo taking charge in the fourth quarter.
"I love it, she's the one that keeps me calm in the circle," Potgieter said about her blossoming partnership with 18-year-old Horjus.
"It's great to work with her, she's teaching me a lot of new things and I hope I'm helping her along the way as well."
After recording just four victories in the first three years of Super Netball, the Thunderbird outscored Collingwood 18-8 in the final quarter to break through for their fourth win of this season.
With home games against the Queensland Firebirds and Giants to come, the opportunity is there for coach Tania Obst's up-and-coming squad to challenge for a top-four finish.
The loss continued a horror run for the Magpies with last year's semi-finalists anchored to the bottom of the ladder, their lone victory this season coming against the Firebirds in round three.
Collingwood's woes were compounded in the past week with co-captain and former Australian Diamonds ace Madi Browne retiring from the sport, and sister Kelsey ruled out for the season with a knee injury.
But the underdogs showed plenty of fight through three quarters, running even with the Thunderbirds in the second period then scoring the first five goals of the second half to briefly hit the front.
But after being held scoreless for the first seven minutes of the third quarter, Adelaide rallied to take a 43-41 into the final stanza and then settled their nerves with a 4-0 start to take control of the game.
The Thunderbirds play the Firebirds on Wednesday night while the Magpies fly back to the Sunshine Coast to face the Giants.
Australian Associated Press