West Coast Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich is hopeful her rejuvenated team can challenge for a top-four Super Netball berth after a convincing 57-40 victory over Adelaide Thunderbirds on Saturday.
Playing under an open roof for the first time – and what is believed to be a world first in team netball – the Fever overcame a sluggish start to dominate the second half and revenge an opening round loss to the Thunderbirds.
Fever sharp shooters Kaylia Stanton (40 from 48 shots) and Natalie Medhurst (17 from 21) benefited from precise passing and gritty team defence to torch the sluggish Thunderbirds.
After opening with four straight losses, the Fever’s season has been reignited through a three-game home stand yielding two wins.
The victory vaulted the Fever past NSW Swifts and into sixth place on the ladder with Queensland Firebirds currently three points ahead in fourth.
The Firebirds play second-placed Sunshine Coast Lightning on Sunday afternoon.
After outscoring the Thunderbirds 30-18 in the second-half, Marinkovich praised the Fever’s “tenacity”.
“We were challenged by Thunderbirds really early in the game and to rally was fantastic,” she said.
With the Super Netball season at its midpoint, Marinkovich believed a coveted top-four position was not beyond the improving Fever.
“It (top 4 prospect) is always there, we just need to focus week by week,” she said.
“The competition is pretty close, there isn’t a lot between the placings. The games are really tight, anyone can win on any given day.”
The Fever have a pivotal match next Friday when they travel to Melbourne and play Collingwood Magpies, who are currently fifth.
The Magpies play third-placed Melbourne Vixens on Sunday.
“We want to be a team that can travel and win on the road,” Marinkovich said.
“We don’t want to be a team that never reaches our potential.”
Marinkovich believed the historical match was a successful initiative. “It was really refreshing.
“Brought a bit of atmosphere…it is something different and new,” she said.
Now anchored on the bottom of the ladder after suffering their sixth straight loss, Thunderbirds coach Dan Ryan lamented his side’s fadeout.
“They blew us away in the second half,” he said.
“We were good for 10 minutes in the first quarter then we let things slip in the last five, which has been the tale of our season.”