The West Coast Fever’s 2019 season is alive and kicking, after coming back from 10-goals down to beat the Adelaide Thunderbirds 53 to 52 in an Indigenous Round thriller at RAC Arena.
It’s been a frustrating month of netball for the West Coast Fever who have drawn three of their last four matches. But this emotional victory might be exactly what they need to get their season back on track.
The Fever were wasteful early, committing several turnovers in the opening five minutes. And the Thunderbirds punished them, jumping out to a 10-goal lead and controlling the flow of the game.
It was a clinical first quarter for the Thunderbirds, transitioning from defence to attack in a flash thanks to some huge plays from Layla Guscoth in defence, some slick passing from Chelsea Pitman and some deadly accurate shooting from Sasha Glasgow.
The fight back was on after the quarter time break as the Fever scored 10-goals to five to start the second. And, when Maria Folau was penalised for throwing the ball at Shannon Eagland, it was clear the Fever were getting in the heads of the Thunderbirds.
Nissan Player of the Match Jhaniele Fowler was immense, scoring 17 of her eventual 47 goals in the second quarter and propelling her team right back into the game as they trailed the by just three-goals at the major break.
Things evened up after halftime and, when the Fever levelled the score late in the quarter, the intensity went through the RAC Arena roof.
There was nothing flashy in either team’s third quarter performance. It was just two teams desperate to keep their slim finals hopes alive with a victory.
Adelaide wing attack and co-captain Chelsea Pitman lifted her game in the third, relishing the opportunity to play against her England Roses teammate Stacey Francis for much of the night. She had a team-high 29 feeds and 19 goal assists for the game.
And the final quarter was nothing short of breath-taking, as the teams went goal for goal for much of the term.
The Fever were able to claw their way back in-front for the first time since scoring the opening goal then hold off the desperate Thunderbirds. Jhaniele Fowler, who scored the last-second winning goal, slapped the court in celebration as the final siren sounded with the Fever just one goal ahead.
The Fever will travel to the Sunshine Coast next Saturday to take on the Lightning while the Thunderbirds have a date with the top of the ladder Swifts at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Sunday.
Q1: Fever 7 v Thunderbirds 16
Q2: Fever 18 v Thunderbirds 11
Q3: Fever14 v Thunderbirds 14
Q4: Fever 14 v Thunderbirds 11
Suncorp Super Netball Premiership Points
Fever – 6
Thunderbirds – 1
Nissan Player of The Match – Jhaniele Fowler (Fever)
Fever shooting statistics – 53/61 (87%)
Jhaniele Fowler – 47/48 (97.9%)
Kaylia Stanton – 1/3 (33.3%)
Alice Teague-Neeld – 5/10 (50%)
Thunderbirds shooting statistics – 52/60 (87%)
Sasha Glasgow – 19/22 (86.4%)
Maria Folau – 33/38 (86.8%)
Fever starting seven: GS – Jhaniele Fowler, GA – Kaylia Stanton, WA – Verity Charles, C – Jessica Anstiss, WD – Stacey Francis, GD – Shannon Eagland, GK – Courtney Bruce
Thunderbirds starting seven: GS – Sasha Glasgow, GA – Maria Folau, WA – Chelsea Pitman, C – Hannah Petty, WD – Shadine Van Der Merwe, GD – Layla Guscoth, GK – Shamera Sterling
China International Women’s Match Race
photo Getty Images