With only six games remaining before the finals begin, the Magpies will host the ladder-leading West Coast Fever in a must-win clash at Margaret Court Arena in round nine.
The Fever were convincing winners when the two sides met in round two in Perth, so how will the Magpies respond when they take to their home court on Saturday night?
After starting strong against the Melbourne Vixens in a first-half masterclass, the Magpies trailed off after half-time; suffering an eight-goal defeat in the Melbourne Derby last week.
Magpie Caitlin Thwaites was prolific in goals, converting at 96 per cent accuracy.
Down the other end of the court, April Brandley had her strongest performance of the season in goal keeper, causing havoc in defence for the Vixens with four interceptions.
Brandley partnered with 19-year-old Matilda Garrett, who asserted herself in the battle with veteran goaler, Tegan Philllp.
The West Coast Fever bounced back from a shock defeat as they demolished the Adelaide Thunderbirds by 20 goals in round eight.
Jhaniele Fowler continued with her dominant form this season, nailing 66 goals from 73 attempts. Her partner up front, Nat Medhurst, played a pivotal role in feeding the ball to Fowler, with 28 goal assists.
LAST TIME WE MET
Round 2, 2018 – West Coast Fever (68) defeated Magpies Netball (57) at Perth Arena in Western Australia.
KEEP AN EYE ON…
- Bonus points: If this season has told us anything; it’s that, well, anything can happen. Unpredictable results, close finishes and sea-sawing quarters have left the competition up in the air with six rounds remaining before finals. The Magpies currently sit in seventh position on the ladder, with two wins and 26 bonus points. While it still might be difficult for the Magpies to lock in a finals spot, they currently sit only 10 points out of the top four. That’s just over one win (with eight points secured) away from a finals spot. Can the Pies close the gap this week against the Fever? Tune in.
- Jhaniele Fowler: Fowler has been a stand-out performer week in and week out for the Fever in 2018. She’s reliable, powerful under the post and is crucial to the Fever's style of play. She currently leads the league in most goals scored, with 443 converted from 476 attempts. That’s roughly 93 per cent on the season. If you stop Fowler, do you stop the Fever? Well, not necessarily. But if you can nullify her impact across the game, you’ll have your best chance at shaking up the Fever’s flow throughout the court.
- Rebounding: The Fever are a strong rebounding team and will capitalise on any opportunity to kickstart a transition from defence into offence. Fever captain Courtney Bruce has been strong in that area for her team, recording 14 on the season. Down the other end of the court, you guessed it, Jhaniele Fowler will take advantage of any missed shots, with 15 offensive rebounds on the season.
- A game of intercepts: Everyone loves a good intercept in netball. It’s one of the most exciting facets of our game. These two teams have two of the best interceptors in the league. For the Fever, it’s Courtney Bruce. The skipper is elite in this area, leading the league with 24 interceptions and 42 deflections. For the Magpies, Ash Brazill is the high-flying, intercepting machine. She has 22 in the Black and White stripes; and has proven herself as one of the most dangerous defenders in the league.
- The game will be won and lost in the midcourt, with most teams who have beaten the Fever this season having controlled the battle in the centre third. For the Magpies, skipper Madi Robinson is one that will play a major role in controlling this battle. Robinson is a workhorse. She runs all day and sees the game unfolding quicker than most. She currently leads the league for most centre passes and is fourth in the competition with 183 goal assists.
Round 9 – Magpies Netball v West Coast Fever
Date: Saturday, June 30
Time: 7.00pm (AEST)
Venue: Margaret Court Arena (MCA)
Gates open: 5.30pm
Broadcaster: Telstra TV
Game Day Information – Click here.
Tickets: Click here.