Adelaide Thunderbirds
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Australia's first netball competition The Commonwealth Bank Trophy was launched in 1997 and owned and managed by Netball Australia.
The competition comprised eight teams from South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.
  • Adelaide Ravens
  • Adelaide Thunderbirds
  • Melbourne Kestrels
  • Melbourne Phoenix
  • Perth Orioles
  • Sydney Sandpipers
  • Sydney Swifts
  • Queensland Firebirds
Each team took on the identity of a native Australian bird but what many people would not know is that the first name for the team was not actually the Adelaide Thunderbirds, but the Adelaide Falcons. The name was changed at the request of the pre-existing Adelaide Falcons Rugby Team.

Netball SA held the license for both the Thunderbirds and the Ravens, the two composite Adelaide teams formed when the National League began. Both teams were assigned four State League Clubs to draw players from and the Thunderbirds became aligned with Cheerio, Contax, Matrics, Oakdale and later Harlequin.

World class netball stadium ETSA Park has been the home of the Adelaide Thunderbirds since the inception of the competition, and many memorable battles have been endured on Court 1 over the years, including the 1999 premiership victory over Adelaide counterparts the Ravens.

The AIS program gained a team in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy in 2002 replacing the Adelaide Ravens, and this gave the nationís best youngsters the opportunity to take the court against some of the best netballers in the world. These young AIS scholarship holders and Darters representatives used the experience as a launching pad including our very own Thunderbirds Bianca Reddy and Kirby Mutton.

Following the demise of the Ravens, the Thunderbirds have flown the flag alone in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy as the Stateís sole representative with access to every player in South Australia.

The Thunderbirds have been extremely successful winning two back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999 and never finishing below third.

Inaugural team coach Margaret Angove was at the helm for the first 10 years and coached her 150th game during the 2006 season and chose to retire that same year. Coaching the team in 2007 and the final year of the Commonwealth Bank Trophy was Tania Obst who maintained the teamís success story by taking the Thunderbirds to the finals series where they finished in third place.

Playing legends have come and gone. The names of Kathryn Harby-Williams, Rebecca Sanders, Jacqui Delaney and recently retired Peta Scholz will never be forgotten, while current Thunderbirds Natalie von Bertouch, Laura von Bertouch, Kristen Hughes and Natalie Medhurst are players making their mark both nationally and internationally.

Corporate partnerships were developed with AAMI from 1997 to 2001 and then Medibank Private from 2005. These naming rights sponsors brought increased revenue, support and public awareness to the promotion of the Thunderbirds in South Australia.

The Commonwealth Bank Trophy era spanning eleven years has ceased to make way for the ANZ Championship, a revolutionary competition that will change the future of netball and womenís sport in Australia, and take a significant step towards the sport becoming more professional.

Our South Australian team will endeavour to continue and build upon the success of the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

ANZ Championship Fan Club


The Power SGIC ANZ Holden

Hon Mike Rann MP

Hon Mike Rann MP