START TO THE 2018 SUNCORP SUPER NETBALL SEASON WITH A 63-54 WIN OVER NSW SWIFTS, AT THE HBF STADIUM IN PERTH.
Powerful goalkeeper, Courtney Bruce, was huge in defence for Fever, with six intercepts and three rebounds – while their entire midcourt was effective throughout.
Swifts wing defense, Abbey McCulloch, lit the fuse for a big match during a midweek press conference by claiming her team only needed to focus on seven players – whereas Fever had to worry about the entire 10 strong Swifts roster.
Fever coach, Stacey Marinkovich, labelled the comment as ‘disrespectful’ and rotated the team’s roster in this win, using nine players.
Fever wasted no time getting to work, opening a 3-0 lead in front of a raucous sell-out home crowd.
Shutting down goal shooter, Jhaniele Fowler, has been a challenge no team has been able to achieve so far this season and it was no different in this match, but the Swifts did manage to use slick ball movement to get back into the contest – eventually drawing ahead with a 10-8 lead.
The New South Wales outfit were able to force the turnovers, but their inability to convert three of those chances into points proved costly as Fever edged ahead late in the quarter.
Courtney Bruce was having a field day in defence for the Perth team as well, with four intercepts for the quarter as they took a 16-11 lead into the first-break.
Swifts made a raft of changes, bringing Sophie Garbin into goal shooter with Sam Wallace moved to the bench. Paige Hadley went from wing attack to wing defence, while Claire O’Brien moved into wing attack and McCulloch was brought off.
Changes were needed with Fever notching up nine intercepts to one in the first quarter, and the Swifts managed to claw back two goals in the early exchanges of the second term.
While the intercepts dried up, Nat Medhurst and Verity Charles still routinely found their target in Fowler – helping Fever build a 35-25 lead going into halftime.
By the time the Swifts took the court for the third quarter, they had made multiple changes to their roster throughout the game in a bid to strike the winning formula. Fever had made just one, with Shannon Eagland taking to the court after returning from appendix surgery.
Swifts fought hard, but they were unable to make inroads into the deficit and Fever took a 49-37 lead into the final quarter.
The away team refused to roll over though, with some huge efforts being made towards the end of the game to claim the last bonus point on offer – but Fever were too strong overall and secured their fourth consecutive win.
Q1: Fever 16 v Swifts 11
Q2: Fever 19 v Swifts 14
Q3: Fever 14 v Swifts 12
Q4: Fever 14 v Swifts 17
Suncorp Super Netball premiership points
Fever shooting statistics
Jhaniele Fowler 53/59
Nat Medhurst 8/8
Kaylia Stanton 2/5
Swifts shooting statistics
Sam Wallace 24/28
Helen Housby 24/31
Sophie Garbin 6/7
Fever starting seven – GS: Jhaniele Fowler, GA: Nat Medhurst, WA: Ingrid Colyer, C: Verity Charles, WD: Jess Anstiss, GD: Stacey Francis, GK: Courtney Bruce
Magpies starting seven – GS: Sam Wallace, GA: Helen Housby, WA: Paige Hadley, C: Maddy Proud, WD: Abbey McCulloch, GD: Maddy Turner, GK: Sarah Klau
Nissan MVP: Nat Medhurst