21/04/2024

The Fever has been unstoppable this season. Photo: West Coast Fever, Facebook

The Fever started three games back of every other side at the beginning of the Super Netball season for past indiscretions. It hasn't mattered, with Stacey Marinkovich's team undefeated through their seven games of the season, and primed to make another deep run in the finals.

With the second half of the season underway, the Super Netball reviews continue. It’s now time for the West Coast Fever mid-season review.

The Fever started three games back of every other side at the beginning of the Super Netball season for past indiscretions.

It hasn’t mattered, with Stacey Marinkovich’s team undefeated through its first seven games of the season, and primed to make another deep run in the finals.

What’s worked?

The rock-solid mentality of a star-studded squad.

The Fever is full to the brim of world class, dynamic athletes who leave it all out there every time they step foot on the court.

In some ways, the 12-point head start every other side had on them has paved the way for this mentality. The Fever often beat their opponent with a tireless work ethic, insatiable appetite for every loose ball, and superior chemistry carrying over from their 2020 campaign – which was spectacular, but ended in heartbreak in the Grand Final.

Their two bookends have been the highlights this season. Jhaniele Fowler is on course for another scoring title this season. The superstar GS is averaging a staggering 57 goals per game.

Courtney Bruce is the best GK in the league, locking down shooters every weekend and leading the competition in intercepts with 24.

Throw in high-cadence mid-courters such as superstar Verity Charles, and there isn’t a chink in the armour of the most in-form side in Super Netball right now.

They have beaten every side in the competition at the mid-way point of the season.

Jhaniele Fowler is having another superb season. Photo: West Coast Fever, Facebook

What hasn’t?

Limited super shot attempts.

Within games, the Fever limit their super shot attempts per game, which has allowed opposition sides back into the game in some situations.

They are shooting goals from outside the arc with 58 per cent effectiveness. It’s a high watermark that suggests they could be taking more attempts per game because – at this rate – it’s a more efficient offence.

Everything has clicked this season, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that their penalty has them sitting in fourth place on the season, just within the finals positions.

The Lightning, Giants and Swifts all sit above them on the table – albeit with an extra game played – so the Fever will be looking to cement home court advantage in the second half of the season.

That job is easier said than done, considering they need to continue this incredible run of form and finish over three games better than the rest of the competition.

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Season highlight

The one-point win against the Giants.

In round five’s Indigenous Round, the Fever played host to a fiery Giants outfit – and they were nearly beaten for the first time.

The Giants were 10 of 15 on their super shot attempts for the game, and led by a huge eight-goal margin at half-time.

The unbelievable shooting percentage on those many attempts was what was required to push the Fever, but the Green Machine still managed to claw their way back for a one-point after the final siren to win in front of an awesome RAC Arena home crowd.

It was the highlight of the SSN season so far because they proved to themselves they could get the job done in tight finishes. The Fever have won four of their seven games by double digits, so it’s important that they continue learning to execute in crunch time.

Season lowlight

That statement.

When athletes of the Melbourne Vixens were denied entry into WA due to its strict quarantine requirements, their round 8 clash was rescheduled.

The Fever proceeded to release a statement voicing their disappointment that the game would not be taking place, which was met with widespread criticism.

It was a statement that left a bad taste in many fans’ mouths due to the circumstances that Vixens players, coaches and personnel would be left in.

The Fever subsequently apologised for the statement.

Looking forward

The Fever currently sit two games back from the first-placed Lightning, with a game in hand. Expect them to continue their incredible form to secure a home final. At RAC arena, they are even more difficult to beat than they usually are, and will pose a huge task for any side that faces them when it’s all on the line.

A Grand Final preview could well be on display in round nine when the Swifts take on the Fever at John Cain Arena in Melbourne – due to the Covid situation enveloping the country.

The West Coast Fever are as well placed as ever to achieve the ultimate success for the first time in their history.

Predicted finish

First.

There’s no stopping this juggernaut during the season, and good luck in the finals. With Bruce in the form she’s displaying and Fowler continuing her unstoppable play in the goal circle, it seems only a matter of time before the Fever claim their first SSN title.

With the penalty they are working with, however, the challenge remains to gain ascendency in finals with home court advantage as they currently sit in fourth spot.

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