Fever win first title
The West Coast Fever have won their first Suncorp Super Netball title, defeating the Melbourne Vixens 70 to 59 in front of a record breaking RAC Arena crowd in Perth.
West Coast Fever have broken Western Australia’s 25-year title drought after beating the Melbourne Vixens 70-59 in the Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final.
In front of a record 13,908 adoring fans at RAC Arena on Sunday evening, star Fever goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler nailed 58 goals from 59 attempts in a match-winning display.
West Coast captain Courtney Bruce was also crucial with a standout performance in defence, with the Fever blowing the game open in the third term when the lead ballooned to 11 goals.
The Perth Orioles were born in 1997, and WA netball had experienced 25 fruitless seasons since, including two grand final losses to the Fever.
But led by coach Dan Ryan, the Fever produced the goods when it mattered most on Sunday against the minor premiers.
The win for WA netball was special and for Ryan it marked a significant achievement following his ill-fated stint at the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Ryan won his first game in charge of Adelaide in 2017 but he went on to lose the next 27 matches before being shown the door at the end of 2018.
The Fever and Vixens had built up one of the competition’s fiercest rivalries in recent years – both on and off the court.
The Vixens beat West Coast 66-64 in an epic 2020 grand final.
And the relationship between the two clubs soured dramatically last year when Melbourne refused to travel to Perth for a game after three of their players were ruled out for visiting a COVID-19 hotspot.
The decider was physical and tough, with a number of players hitting the deck in utter desperation to get the turnover.
The opening quarter was an even affair before two Sasha Glasgow Super Shots saw the Fever enter the first break with an 18-14 edge.
The Vixens closed the gap to one goal approaching the midway point of the second quarter, but from there the Fever’s frenetic defensive pressure took over.
Within the space of two minutes the Fever had extended the margin back out to five goals.
And even when Glasgow missed two Super Shots late in the first half, Fowler was there each time to grab the rebound and score.
The home side went to halftime with a 35-29 lead but Fowler wasn’t satisfied, with the Jamaican star talking to the umpires at the break to express her anger at the physical treatment she was receiving.
Fever broke the game open in the third quarter with the margin ballooning to 11 goals as Fowler took control.
Fowler scored 16 goals for the quarter at 100 per cent accuracy as Fever entered the final break with a 54-45 advantage.
The Vixens had overcome a 10-goal deficit in the final term of their preliminary final win over the Giants but there was no such comeback this time around.
Match Report and Stats: Suncorp Super Netball