The West Coast Fever finally have something to show for their unbeaten start to the season, earning their first Super Netball competition points after defeating the Thunderbirds 70-62 at Adelaide’s Netball SA Stadium.
- The Fever earned their first points of the season via the defeat of the Thunderbirds
- Jhaniele Fowler starred for the Fever with 54 goals from 57 attempts
- The Magpies are placed fourth on the ladder following their 68-65 win over the Firebirds
The Fever were docked 12 premiership points for salary cap breaches prior to the start of their campaign, with the victory over the Thunderbirds — their fourth in succession — moving them to fifth on the ladder.
In Saturday’s earlier match, the Collingwood Magpies held off the Queensland Firebirds for a thrilling 68-65 victory at Launceston’s Silverdome.
Against the Thunderbirds, Jhaniele Fowler was a powerful presence in the circle, slotting 54 goals from 57 attempts as the Fever overhauled an eight-point quarter-time deficit.
“Shamera (Sterling) came out really strong and played really well, which meant I had to push my game and step up a bit,” Fowler said.
“We’re playing well at the moment and I just want to keep improving each week.”
With fellow Jamaican Sterling having Fowler’s measure early and Thunderbirds playmakers Hannah Petty and Maisie Nankivell winning their positions, the hosts started superbly, a 9-2 run crucial in their 21-13 quarter-time advantage.
Thunderbirds goal shooter Lenize Potgieter nailed her first 23 attempts and it looked like it might finally be the winless Thunderbirds’ day.
Jess Anstiss was switched to centre after quarter-time and ex-Adelaide goaler Sasha Glasgow impressed after replacing Alice Teague-Neeld as the visitors responded with their own 21-13 quarter to tie the scores at half-time.
With Fowler devastating in attack and Diamonds defender Courtney Bruce likewise at the other end, the Fever seized total control in the third stanza, outscoring the Thunderbirds 21-14.
Fever’s lead stretched to 11 in the fourth before Sam Gooden, who was substituted out after missing a couple of sitters earlier in the quarter, interchanged back in and rifled three Super Shots to allow Adelaide to finish with some pride.
Magpies prevail against Firebirds
The heat was on the Magpies and Firebirds to produce a statement of their finals intentions.
Kim Ravaillion was sensational for the Firebirds, with 43 feeds and just four turnovers, but just could not do enough in the closing minutes to haul her team across the line.
Collingwood’s Ash Brazill, switched from wing defence to centre for the last quarter, made every big moment her own to help her side keep intact its unbeaten record at the venue.
Brazill’s inspired effort, including one desperate attempt to keep the ball from crossing the baseline, made the difference in an even contest.
The Firebirds led by three goals early in the last quarter but Brazill’s determination, and excellent shooting from player of the match Shimona Nelson (53 goals from 54 attempts), helped the Magpies hang on.
The win has the Magpies positioned fourth on the ladder with eight points, while the Firebirds are now in sixth place.
Magpies coach Nicole Richardson lauded the players for their efforts in stopping the Firebirds.
“I was super proud that they responded to the challenge,” she said.
“It’s probably one of the best games I’ve been involved with.”
Firebirds shooters Romelda Aiken (34 goals) and Gretel Bueta (18) could not land enough blows at any stage to rattle Collingwood.
Richardson would have been delighted with her team’s start in attack, which was expertly coordinated by goal attack Gabby Sinclair, who finished with 11 goals, including four from two-point range.
Even with Kelsey Browne’s impact blunted by Firebirds captain Gabi Simpson, Sinclair and centre Molly Jovic plotted various pathways into the shooting circle.
That tension in what was a gripping mid-court battle was not a huge shock. What was surprising was the dearth of positional changes.
Despite this becoming an era of rolling substitutes and impact players, not one rotation was made by either coach until the second half.
Firebirds coach Megan Anderson made a string of switches in the third term in a bid to wrestle back momentum from a Magpies outfit that embodied steadiness.
Tippah Dwan sank three super shots for the quarter, but her influence failed to have a long-term impact on Collingwood’s defence.