The Magpies have gone down to the West Coast Fever, 63-61 in tight and physical match at Bendigo Stadium on Saturday.
Suncorp Super Netball
It was the first official time Magpies’ Nat Medhurst had taken on her former club that she was dramatically released from at the completion of the 2018 season, and Fever welcomed back their captain Courtney Bruce who had been missing from their last three appearances due to an elbow injury.
The full-strength Fever came out firing, determined to get their first win on the board.
Round 4 Nissan Net Points Player of the Week Kaylia Stanton moved well at the top of the circle for the Fever, complimenting the leading Nissan Net Points goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler well under the ring.
It went goal-for-goal for much of the first quarter with every ball fiercely contested and all athletes playing tight body-on-body netball.
It was the Fever who managed to settle and take control of the match, taking a four-goal lead into the first break, 17 to 13.
The Magpies’ recharged at quarter time and came out applying incredible defensive pressure, forcing turnovers and transitioning well into their attack end.
Medhurst showed no signs of pressure, shooting confidently at 87% and creating great space for goal shooter Shimona Nelson, who was named in Jamaica’s Netball World Cup team, alongside Fowler, earlier this week.
Magpies’ goal keeper and captain Geva Mentor was also named by England for the World Cup this week and had a huge game with three major intercepts in first half.
It was much the same up the Fever defensive end with Bruce taking four intercepts and looking comfortable and confident back on the court, as if she had never missed a match.
Despite the Magpies winning the quarter and making a comeback, the Fever held on to take a two-goal lead into the major break.
The Magpies made a change after half time, bringing on Matilda Garrett into goal defence for April Brandley for Garrett’s first game this season, having been on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
It was a back-and-forth third quarter with no momentum shifts either way, a tight tussle with two or three goal difference for most of the quarter. This showed in the score with both teams scoring 16 goals for the quarter and, as a result, no bonus point was awarded, and the Fever led by two again.
West Coast Fever wing attack Ingrid Colyer continued to bring her signature speed and agility right throughout the match. It was a tough battle between her and Magpies wing defence Ash Brazill who again showed why she’s in contention for a Samsung Diamonds call-up.
The Magpies got to within one goal with just two minutes to go but Fever were doing everything right to hold off the black and white and Fowler earned herself yet another Nissan Player of the Match award for her efforts under the post, missing only one goal for the match and shooting 51 of her team’s 63 goals.
The final quarter again ended with no bonus point awarded, 14 goals apiece, and the Fever clinched a two-goal victory over the Magpies.
Q1: Magpies 13 v Fever 17
Q2: Magpies 17 v Fever 15
Q3: Magpies 16 v Fever 16
Q4: Magpies 14 v Fever 14
Suncorp Super Netball Premiership Points
Magpies – 1
Fever – 5
Nissan Player of the Match – Jhaniele Fowler (Fever)
Magpies shooting statistics
Shimona Nelson – 44/51 (86%)
Nat Medhurst – 17/21 (81%)
Fever shooting statistics
Jhaniele Fowler – 51/52 (98%)
Kaylia Stanton – 12/14 (86%)
Magpies starting seven: GS – Shimona Nelson, GA – Nat Medhurst, WA – Kelsey Browne, C – Kim Ravaillion, WD – Ash Brazill, GD – April Brandley, GK – Geva Mentor
Thunderbirds starting seven: GS – Jhaniele Fowler, GA – Kaylia Stanton, WA – Ingrid Colyer, C – Verity Charles, WD – Jess Anstiss, GD – Stacey Francis, GK – Courtney Bruce