By Dustin Edwards
As West Coast Fever prepare for their Round 7 Suncorp Super Netball clash against Melbourne Vixens, defender Courtney Bruce says her side used the bye to refresh and reassess their goals for the second half of the season.
While finals are no doubt the goal for the Club after a strong 5-1 start, Bruce is keen to take it one week at a time.
“We had a team meeting this morning,” Bruce said.
“More just to see where we’re going to take this second part of the season to and what we can now put into our games."
“We want to be able to step up again now and see what we can do, but at the moment we just want to hit Vixens, get halfway through the season and reassess then.”
Although sitting top of the ladder after Round 6 will garner plenty of media attention, it also brings the attention of opposition clubs searching for ways to knock Fever off their perch.
“We are the hunted now,” she said.
“We are top of the ladder, so I feel everyone is behind us really wanting to bring us down."
“Firebirds did show everyone how to do that but we’ve also learnt and grown from that game and I think we have improved.”
A key behind Fever’s tremendous start to 2018 is the fact that the starting seven have generally won their position in any given match, highlighted by the release of Champion Data’s list of ‘elite’ or ‘A-Grade’ players.
According to Champion Data, Fever have six players deemed ‘elite’ in their starting position – double their nearest competitor - with Jhaniele Fowler, Nat Medhurst, Verity Charles, Jess Anstiss, Stacey Francis and Courtney Bruce all recognised.
However, Bruce played down the importance of such stats, instead looking towards this weekend’s clash with Vixens.
“I don’t really read too much about that,” she said.
“We definitely want to be heading towards finals and that’s obviously the main goal, but we definitely know that we are a process driven team."
“We know that we have to win week in, week out, to hit the finals series.”
While Fever are looking to consolidate their position on top of the ladder, Bruce knows that Vixens will come out breathing fire after losing three of their past four matches.
“I think Vixens are definitely going to be a tough game, coming up against them is always hard,” she said.
“We haven’t won in Melbourne since 2010, so it’s been a long time, but leading into finals to knock off Vixens would be great for us and I think we’ll have to win a few more games to really cement ourselves in that finals series, but I think it’ll give us a lot of positivity going forward."
“I think that they’ll be wanting to come out and fight hard to beat us, they have Diamonds players all over the court, lots of experience and girls that have played together for a long time now, but I think we have the team to match them.”
West Coast Fever will take on Melbourne Vixens in Round 7 on Saturday, June 16 at 1pm at Hisense Arena, with the match broadcast nationally on Channel 9.
Fever will then return home to face the Adelaide Thunderbirds at Perth Arena in Round 8 at 7.00pm, with the Club to celebrate its dedicated Shooting Stars Round. Tickets can be purchased here.