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Super Netball 2022: West Coast Fever vs NSW Swifts, result, score, Jhaniele Fowler, goals, highlights, video


The Queensland Firebirds have claimed outright third position on the ladder with a hard-fought 10 goal win over the lively Adelaide Thunderbirds.

The Queensland Firebirds have claimed outright third position on the ladder with a hard-fought 10 goal win over the lively Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Despite being held to their lowest score of the season the Firebirds withstood a third-quarter charge from the Thunderbirds, who were handed their third straight loss of the season.

Any goal circle which has Shamera Sterling and MVP Gretel Bueta is going to have showmanship and entertainment and that was definitely the case throughout the match. It was messy and it was scrappy but that’s to be expected with tired bodies after playing 3 matches in 7 days.

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The frenetic first half saw turnovers a-plenty. But it was the Thunderbirds who gave away nearly twice as many as the home side with their 15 unforced errors. But surprisingly the Firebirds didn’t capitalise on those easy opportunities, only scoring off 50% of them.

At halftime, former Firebirds captain Gabi Simpson said that her side talked about building pressure and creating turnovers. She promised ‘more of the same with a little more punch’ in the second half, but her side failed to deliver as they continued the trend of lacklustre third quarters.

Partway through the term, Firebirds introduced Kim Jenner to the match hoping to give a spark. However, the experienced defender proved costly, giving away 6 penalties in the circle, some of which were in the super shot zone and were capitalised on by Tippah Dwan and Georgie Horjus.

The home side returned to their starting seven for the final term and ended with an 18-10 flurry to secure their first win on home soil for 2022.

WALLAM V STERLING

One of the most anticipated matchups of Round 5: the battle of the second-highest volume goaler in the league versus the leading defensive rebounder. Shamera Sterling came into this match after producing one of her best matches of the 2022 season, while Wallam had experienced one of her toughest battles. In this encounter, Sterling took the cake. Her impeccable footwork and bodywork allowed her to collect 12 gains for the match.

THUNDERBIRDS’ HARD ROAD AHEAD

Today’s match is the first of three tough rounds for the Thunderbirds. In Round 6 they hit the road again to face Melbourne Vixens, who will be licking their wounds after a Round 5 loss, then return home to take on table-toppers West Coast Fever in Round 7.

The Thunderbirds will need to secure a win in one of these matches if they hope to stay in touch with the top 4. However, if history is anything to go by, it will take a Herculean effort.

A CAPTAIN’S GAME

In 2022 we’ve seen some solid ‘captain’s games’ from Kim Ravaillion and Hannah Petty.

Ravaillion is new to captaincy this year but has already shown she is one to lead by example. She has claimed MVP honours twice this season for her tireless work in defence and high workload in attack. Her court smarts and ability to clear the mess has proven effective in creating space for her attacking athletes.

Since making the move back to wing defence this season, Petty has been in, arguably, career best form. In the first two rounds, she led by example collecting several gains as her side notched convincing wins.

TELLING TURNOVERS

The Adelaide Thunderbirds have the most potent defensive unit in the league, collecting 19 gains in this match. However, their 30 turnovers let the side down, particularly in their attack end. Their worst offender was Tippah Dwan who notched 7 for the match.

The Firebirds weren’t much better, giving away 24 turnovers, with captain Kim Ravaillion responsible for 7 turnovers.

With the battle for a top four place so tight, both sides will need to address this quickly.

FEVER TAKE DOWN DEFENDING PREMIERS

Three games, three states, a case of Covid and numerous frequent flyer points later – West Coast Fever returned to RAC Arena and the rapturous Green Army to grind down the defending premiers, NSW Swifts by 18.

With last round’s fatigue-driven defeat by the Vixens parked in the out tray – a file to review but not forget – it was an amped up, if messy, performance that saw them move back to the top of the ladder.

NSW Swifts swung a surprise selection with Teigan O’Shannassy in goal keeper and Sarah Klau at goal defence, adding height to manage the Jhaniele Fowler challenge.

Both defensive ends were on the hunt early, but it was Helen Housby’s hot hand with the supershot, and some uncharacteristic handling errors by Fever and particularly Fowler, that kept the Swifts in the game. By half time the visiting team had potted nine supershots, keeping them just four points adrift of Fever.

In a close checking game, both teams struggled for depth in transition, although when they were able to move the ball with blistering speed, goals dropped far more smoothly. Fever’s smothering defence was at its best in the second half, although the level of turnover ball handed to the opposition wouldn’t have pleased either coach.

Courtney Bruce played a magnificent captain’s game, single-handedly coming up with 13 of Fever’s 21 gains, while it was one of Sunday Aryang’s best games in some time. Jess Anstiss had the unenviable job of covering both Paige Hadley and Maddy Proud at wing defence, and kept them each quieter than usual.

After a game to forget midweek, Swifts’ co-captain Maddy Proud fought to the end, while Maddy Turner played a strong shut down role at wing defence. Helen Housby finished with 10 supershots, although her eye deserted her in the second half.

ONLY IN THE WILD, WILD WEST

The Perth Orioles/West Coast Fever are celebrating 25 years in the business with Heritage Round, and now play at what many rate as the best netball stadium in Australia. However long time technical official Helen Robinson has vivid memories of less salubrious surroundings. Their time at the previous stadium included a leaking roof that caused a game to be abandoned, a dead animal found under one of the seats, and netball’s only streaker.

Copping the full monty at close range, former captain Caitlin Bassett said, “It was just after I shot a goal, so the camera was on my face saying, “What the f****” as he skipped past me, straight across the court, and out the back door.”

I’M STILL STANDING

Like Elton John’s anthem, Fever goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler is still on her feet and looking better than she ever did. Rated as the world’s best in her position, continuing to improve, and shooting at 97% accuracy this year, she’s an automatic target for goal keepers the world over. A range of physical – and some highly dubious – tactics have been tried against her, and coach Dan Ryan said pregame, while she is capable of handling it, there is a need to support her.

“She is essentially beaten up week to week with the strategies teams use to counteract her.

“We’ve made a slight shift with better engagement from our goal attacks, and better decision making around when to put the long ball in and when to work the pass to get closer to circle.”

THE DIFFERENCE IS IN THE DETAILS

Coming into Round 5, Fever had pulled in a total of 55 gains (average of 14 per match), compared to the Swifts 40 (10 per match). In today’s match Fever also led the way, with 22 gains to the Swift’s nine.

There was also a significant difference in conversion rate – with Fever sitting on a season average of just 67.3% gains to goals, while the Swifts are on a disappointing 55%. Once again, neither team made the most of their opportunities, with Fever converting just 68% to the Swifts’ poorly 33%.

Originally published as Turnovers cost Thunderbirds; Fever topple defending premiers — Super Netball Wrap



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