The hunt for the West Coast Fever to claim the Minor Premiership continues after a dominant 20 point (75-55) win over the Collingwood Magpies.
After the top four was decided with the Lightning winning just hours earlier in a thriller, the Magpies went into the match knowing that it would be their final match for 2021.
With the game being level for the first few minutes, it was a turnover caused by Molly Jovic that allowed the West Coast Fever to start to gain momentum.
The Fever dominated after that, barely giving the Magpies an inch with the likes of Courtney Bruce and Sunday Aryang forcing the errors from the Magpies front line. The Magpies would fail to score a goal for four minutes in the opening quarter.
West Coast Fever Coach Stacey Marinkovich spoke to The Inner Sanctum post match on her thoughts on the game and what’s ahead for the Fever.
“Really good, really pleased with our work rate particularly in that first quarter,” Marinkovich told The Inner Sanctum.
“Thought we just had connection both in our attack end and defence and I thought it was a real team effort. We just continued to build on the tone we set in that first quarter.”
In the first half, it was the simple errors that caused the Magpies undoing, with footwork calls and wayward passes allowing the Fever to regain possession.
The Magpies showed glimpses late in the game, with Kelsey Browne and Jodi-Ann Ward among the best for losing side. They were able to regain ball for their side, trying their hardest to finish their season on a high.
Stacey Francis-Bayman continued to fly under the radar for the Fever, taking a nice intercept in the third quarter that helped to push the margin out to 20.
Fellow mid-courters Verity Charles and Jess Anstiss opened up the centre third which allowed for seamless transition onto the circle edge and into the shooters.
Jhaniele Fowler caused havoc for the Magpies defenders, shooting 62 goals for the game with a 94 percent accuracy, before taking to the bench for the final minutes.
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Olivia Lewis and Emma Cosh came on late in the third quarter, with Cosh continuing that mid-court dominance while Lewis provided a nice combination with Aryang.
“I think just that energy that both have been training really well, and I think at this back end of the season you need to make sure that you’re given some time wherever you can to the variety and variations that you’ve got because anything can happen,” Marinkovich said.
“They’re two quality players and Liv [Lewis] provides just a different type of movement in the back and it gives Courtney [Bruce] a break.
“[As] for Coshy [Emma Cosh], she’s been working really hard. She’s really dynamic, she knows how to feed on and off the circle, so I just thought we certainly didn’t lose anything with those players coming on.”
Nyah Allen was a late in for the Pies, replacing Ash Brazill who was ruled out with a lower leg injury. With Jodi-Ann Ward taking Brazill’s post at wing defence, Allen was only brought on the court in the final three minutes of the game but immediately made an impact,scoring a Super Shot with her first shooting attempt of the game.
The fourth quarter was the Magpies’ best, tying the score for the quarter at 15 all but still couldn’t peg that margin of 20 points back.
While Collingwood’s season is over for 2021, finals preparation for the West Coast Fever are well and truly under way. There’s now a minor premiership on the line as they face the Giants on Saturday afternoon.
“I think last season In our last round we lost to the Thunderbirds in Round 14, so we want to make sure that we are finishing with momentum going into finals,” Marinkovich said.
“Obviously positions up for grabs, and I know obviously the Giants had a real battle on their hands tonight, so they’re going to come out firing knowing what’s on the line for them as well.
“It’s going to be a really intense battle and we both play very different styles of game which we haven’t been up against for a while, so we’re going to have to match sure that we’re reading what’s in front of us.
“I think I’d like to see our team take that step forward, which is to understand what our opposition is doing and execute in the right moments.”
The 2021 season is Marinkovich’s last season at the helm of the Fever. While she’s not getting too carried away yet, a Premiership would be the icing on the cake of a wonderful tenure at the West Coast Fever.
“It would mean a hell of a lot,” she said.
“This has been building over a long period of time… I’m working with an incredible high-performance group and the players [have kept] challenging themselves for the last two seasons.
“It’s not only been a physical battle, but a mental one as well. I love the way that they embrace the challenge, I love the way in which they keep taking big steps forward.
“We’ve really done a good job in staying week by week and that was our commitment tonight. This is Round 13 and the performance that we review and hold ourselves accountable to is for tonight.
“It will be no different next week, and we’ve earned the right to be in finals. We’ll make the most of that opportunity.”
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