WEST Coast Fever has registered its first win of the Super Netball era with a comprehensive five-goal victory over the NSW Swifts to open round 5.
Fever led from start to finish as a relentless all court defensive effort, led by Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis, laid the platform for a dominant four-quarter performance.
Head coach Stacey Marinkovich praised the determination of her players in returning to the winner’s list.
“The best thing about tonight’s result is the reward for effort it represents,” Marinkovich said.
“To maintain that level of intensity and conversion across a full four quarter performance reinforces to this group that they can match any team in this competition.
“It is only one victory and we certainly won’t get ahead of ourselves, but the manner in which we played tonight was more impressive than the result itself and I’m extremely proud of the belief the players showed, both in each other and our brand of netball.”
Fever seized control from the first centre pass, forcing turnovers from the Swifts in the opening minutes to skip to an early lead.
Momentum changed hands across the remainder of the first term but the visitors failed to close the gap as Fever took a three-goal advantage to the quarter-time break.
A seesawing second quarter saw Fever initially extend the lead to five before the visitors fought their way back into the contest courtesy of a run of four straight scoring shots.
Captain Nat Medhurst forced the first tactical time out of the match and the halt in momentum was effective, as the West Coast side re-established control to maintain a two-goal lead at the main break.
The halftime interval seemed to favour the home side as Fever raced out of the blocks in the second half to create a four-goal buffer midway through the third quarter.
With pressure mounting on the visitors they began to push passes, with Bruce and Francis rewarded for their dogged efforts through a series of valuable interceptions and deflections.
Fever’s dominance in the penultimate term was not rewarded on the scoreboard though, with the Swifts remaining within two goals at the final break.
Paige Hadley was switched to centre for the NSW side to begin the final quarter after a complete shutdown job from Jess Anstiss had starved the Australian Diamond of space and opportunity across the first three terms.
The move paid dividends initially, as the Swifts drew level early in the quarter, before a rapturous crowd of loyal Fever supporters provided a final push for the home side.
The visitors called a tactical time out with six minutes remaining but it did little to disrupt Fever’s run, with the west coast side driving to the final whistle to secure a five goal victory, its first in 2017.
The confidence and momentum from the win comes at a significant point in Fever’s season, as it prepares to host the Sunshine Coast Lightning and Adelaide Thunderbirds in consecutive home games across the next fortnight.