Belief at the West Coast Fever is big and going stronger approaching finals. Although with the 12 point defect that the club was dealt at the start of the season, they’ve taken a week by week approach.
West Coast Fever Captain Courtney Bruce and Coach Stacey Marinkovich fronted the media today as the Fever prepares for their sudden-death final against the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
“I think the belief was huge amongst the group,” Bruce said.
“Obviously we knew we had to take it week by week and game by game, we knew that we had done the work in the preseason to set us up for this season.
“Obviously I was confident in our abilities to get to this position and stoked that we’re here but similar to how we played the whole season just taking it week by week.”
Last year Fever went from the minor semi-final all the way through to the Grand Final and with the Fever having to fight to peg back that defect, Bruce believes that mentality will remain throughout the finals.
“I think that’s been the theme for this year we’ve always been fighting, we’ve had to fight week in and week out and that’s no different now to the finals situation that we’re in.
“Doesn’t change anything that we do, doesn’t change our mentality or the way we hit the court or train during the week so we’ve been fighting all year and we’ll continue to fight in the next couple of weeks.”
Finals are a different ball game with every team stepping things up to another level to take home the premiership. Coach Stacey Marinkovich said that the team will have to apply full-court pressure to progress past this week.
“I think obviously finals is a different type of pressure in some regards and it’s how you recognise different moments out on court,” Marinkovich said.
“It’s that consistent execution for us, we’re going to need our full-court defence and our full-court attack connecting out transverse lines to be able to enforce and put a real presence out on court.
“Each team plays slightly differently and has different strengths so it really is a time where you have to focus and back what you do as a team and we’ve done that all season and this weekend will be no different.”
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Last time the Fever came up against Sunshine Coast Lightning, they lost by four points but Marinkovich said that it’s about reviewing both performances to see how the Lightning have improved.
“We look at all of our performances, what they’ve done recently and what they’ve changed since the beginning of the season, teams definitely evolve as have we.
“I don’t think it’s focusing on what the result was but it’s just seeing if there was any particular patterns or set-up that was having more success against us and certainly we’ve looked at that and have addressed it.
“We’ve got our bag of tools we’ve just make sure that when we step out there we pick the right moment to draw on those assets.”
While the defensive combination has been on song with Sunday Aryang and Courtney Bruce in fine form, but for Bruce, it’s about all combinations firing to be able to progress into next week.
“We want all of our combos firing,” Bruce said.
“It’s not just about Sunday and It’s about our middies out the front of us that’s what helps the combo in the circle.
“We’ve got Liv (Olivia Lewis) that can come on so I think it’s really about making sure that all four of us defenders are firing and we’re on the same page.
“We’ve had some really good conversations this week and have gained some really good clarity, Sunday and I will hopefully come out firing but I think that’s the strength of this group that we have the depth to change it up if they are potentially getting on top of us.
“Playing that really hard Fever brand from that first whistle and making Lightning have to work, we can be pests for 60 minutes and put that presence on them and that will help us.”
Season 2021 will be Marinkovich’s last at the West Coast Fever and for Bruce who has been coached by Marinkovich since she was 18, a chance to send her out on a premiership would be something special.
“It’s not something addressed I guess, but it’s at the back of our heads.
“I’ve had Stace since a 17/18-year-old so we’ve been on a journey for a while together now so it will be extremely special I know for myself to send her out on a high with the premiership she so rightly deserves and I think that WA and West Coast Fever deserve too.”
“This group just wants to play to our standards and I think that was the frustrating thing from last week we probably let ourselves down more than anything, we set ourselves high standards and didn’t reach them so I guess this week it’s about putting them out there.”
“Little steps to hopefully get to the final and the grand final trophy that she rightly deserves in my opinion.”
The West Coast Fever will take on the Sunshine Coast Lightning at Nissan Arena on Saturday at 3 pm, for a chance to progress into the Semi-Finals next week.
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