West Coast Fever showed its strength on Saturday night, thrashing Adelaide Thunderbirds by 25 goals in a dominant display (69-44).
It was a last minute decision for the Thunderbirds to face the Fever in Perth due to COVID-19 related relocations. However, the opening quarter had fans excited for a closely contested match to end a triple-header Saturday of netball.
The excitement was short-lived as West Coast Fever got on top of the contest and dominated for a massive victory, ending any finals hopes for the Thunderbirds.
Adelaide started well, taking its chances and converting turnover ball. However, it quickly fell away in the second quarter as West Coast found its groove.
Sunday Aryang started dominating her one on one contest with 19-year-old Georgie Horjus, while Jhaniele Fowler put 18 of 20 goals on the board at 100 per cent.
Tania Obst started rolling through the substitutions as the Thunderbirds could not settle on a combination.
Adelaide made 23 substitutions for the match, including Elle McDonald in to centre and Samantha Gooden to goal attack in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Latanya Wilson spent time in goal defence during the third.
For the Fever, Sasha Glasgow replaced Alice Teague-Neeld at goal attack and fired two Super Shots to extend the lead. Local fan favourite Olivia Lewis moved into goal keeper late in the match.
There were plenty of positives for the Fever, but a very disappointing night for Adelaide as it let the margin blow out further and further as the game wore on.
West Coast coach Stacey Marinkovich spoke after the match of her side’s return to form.
“I don’t think we were too far out of form, but we certainly came out with a lot more intent in how we wanted to play and I think we just got back to hard ball contests, really got our speed back and played with a bit more freedom,” she said.
“When they play free and they’re happy out on court, then that’s what you can deliver.”
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The defensive unit of Courtney Bruce, Aryang and Stacey Francis-Bayman were brilliant. Taking seven intercepts and making 10 deflections, the trio toyed with the Thunderbirds’ attacking game plan.
“The biggest thing in defence is that you’ve got to lock down on your individual player and then you’ve got to link in with your unit,” Marinkovich said.
“[In the past fortnight] I think our linking didn’t work or wasn’t as prominent, tonight it was definitely there.”
Shamera Sterling was a force in defence for the Thunderbirds once again, however, the lack of pressure on the ball on transition made it difficult for the Jamaican to have her usual impact.
West Coast also celebrated coach Marinkovich, in what is believed to be her final home game before moving into the Australian Diamonds role full-time.
“Going from where we were seven years ago, to where we are now and the club is still building and has so much more growth. I’m really thankful to have been a part of that,” Marinkovich said.
“I’m forever grateful to Fever – they gave me an opportunity as a rookie coach and at the end of the day I wouldn’t be anywhere if it wasn’t for them giving me a go… I owe them a lot.”
While plans for the final three rounds of Super Netball action are not confirmed, the Fever treated this as their last home game for the year.
“To be honest I’ve got no idea [if or when the team will leave Perth],” Marinkovich said.
“My bag is packed at home and I could be travelling on any different day. We don’t even know who we will come up against.
“I know that management and Netball Australia are working hard behind the scenes and they’ve got a lot of things to juggle.
“We’ll enjoy this win and when we know what our opposition is, we’ll focus on that. But for the time being it just gives us time to focus on us and building the way we play.”
Adelaide will travel home on Sunday, where the four Sydney and Melbourne clubs are waiting for them.
The league are working through the challenges currently facing the final few rounds of the competition and will update the fixture during the week.
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