West Coast Fever have displayed positive signs for the future in a hard fought defeat at the hands of the Sunshine Coast Lightning to open Round 12 of Suncorp Super Netball.
Despite their most prosperous start to a game this season the West Coast side will rue a damaging second quarter, in which they were outscored 18 goals to 11, as they reflect on a contest that slipped away.
Defender Courtney Bruce said she and her teammates must continue to improve their consistency.
“We made a really positive start to the game but lacked accountability for our performance when it counted,” Bruce said.
“As a group we acknowledge that the gap between our best and worst netball is too large at present and it is something we must continue to improve.”
“Ultimately we know we are capable of matching it with any team in this competition and we have to translate that confidence into execution.”
Fever found the fast start they’ve been searching for from the first centre pass, as the defensive authority of Bruce and Stacey Francis was rewarded at the opposite end, enabling the visitors to jump to an early five goal lead.
Lightning managed to find their feet following the frenetic opening though, edging their way back into the game over the remainder of the term to level the ledger by quarter time.
The home side then took full advantage of the break to seize momentum early in the second stanza, registering consecutive goals from the resumption of play to provide themselves with a cushion.
Fever’s midcourt fought valiantly to regain control of the tempo through their energetic movement, but it was an inconsistency in the visitor’s conversion that saw them surrender a seven goal buffer by the main break.
Early turnover ball proved costly again for Fever at the beginning of the third term, with the West Coast side’s inability to retain possession allowing Lightning to extend their advantage.
Fever held their nerve while the Lightning attempted to flex their muscles though, continually holding the Sunshine Coast’s surges at bay ahead of the final break, staying within eight goals at three quarter time.
Head Coach Stacey Marinkovich turned to her bench at the beginning of the final term, introducing Training Partner Jess Eales into Wing Defence for her Suncorp Super Netball debut.
While the change provided a temporary halt in the Lightning’s charge, the competition fancies quickly reasserted their authority, building the margin toward double figures.
The West Coast side displayed typical doggedness as the clock counted down, refusing to allow the Lightning to run away with the game.
Fever’s efforts proved fruitless though, as the Sunshine Coast side closed out the contest in convincing fashion to secure a 14 goal victory.
The West Coast side return to Perth for consecutive home games to conclude the Suncorp Super Netball regular season, starting with a Saturday night blockbuster against Magpies Netball at Perth Arena next weekend.
West Coast Fever – 50
Sunshine Coast Lightning – 64
Kate Beveridge – 32/38 (84%)
Nat Medhurst – 18/24 (75%)