West Coast Fever’s first win against the Queensland Firebirds in five years has been soured by a knee injury to Ingrid Colyer.
The Fever’s 71-60 Super Netball victory at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena lifted the finals chances of the fourth-placed West Australians who are now two wins clear of the Giants and Adelaide Thunderbirds.
It should have been a moment to savour but their hearts were with teammate Colyer who wailed in pain as she fell to the court with her team in charge in the third quarter.
After working her way into the battle, the midcourt spark’s night ended abruptly after landing awkwardly in an aerial contest with Firebird Tippah Dwan.
“Once Ingrid came out we knew we had to play hard,” Fever goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler said.”It was in the back of our minds that maybe something was wrong but we had to play four quarters just the same. We pray everything will be OK.”
The Firebirds defenders have been brilliant this season but had few answers in their mission to halt Fever spearhead Fowler (63 goals at 97 per cent)
Firebird Romelda Aiken’s fine season continued with a 45-goal haul.
Defensive pressure orchestrated by Courtney Bruce was the difference as the Fever took control in the first half.
The energy provided by Firebirds captain Gabi Simpson and Mahalia Cassidy meant little when their attack line failed to penetrate the green wall.
Queensland’s defence was strong too but West Coast’s midcourters were patient and busy enough to slowly unravel their hosts.
West Coast’s lead grew to 14 goals during the third quarter, with Simpson often the Firebirds’ best chance of piercing the defence.
There were several Suncorp Super Shots scored by the Firebirds late in the match, winning them their only quarter of the game, but it wasn’t enough to bridge the gap in the final term and the Fever finished the match with a comfortable margin.
Q1: Firebirds 13 v Fever 19
Q2: Firebirds 16 v Fever 17
Q3: Firebirds 13 v Fever 19
Q4: Firebirds 18 v Fever 16
Nissan Player of The Match – Jhaniele Fowler (West Coast Fever)
Firebirds shooting statistics
Romelda Aiken: Total points – 45 G1 45/56 (80%) G2 0/1 (0%)
Tippah Dwan: Total points – 11 G1 3/4 (75%) G2 4/9 (44%)
Ine-Mari Venter: Total points – 4 G1 0/0 (0%) G2 2/3 (66%)
Fever shooting statistics
Jhaniele Fowler: Total points – 63 G1 63/65 (97%)
Alice Teague-Neeld: Total points – 8 G1 6/8 (75%) G2 1/5 (20%)
Firebirds starting seven: GS – Romelda Aiken GA – Tippah Dwan WA – Jemma Mi Mi C – Mahalia Cassidy WD – Gabi Simpson GD – Kim Jenner GK – Tara Hinchcliffe
Fever starting seven: GS – Jhaniele Fowler GA – Alice Teague-Neeld WA – Ingrid Colyer C – Verity Charles WD – Jess Anstiss GD – Stacey Francis GK – Courtney Bruce