It was a night to forget for the travelling Adelaide Thunderbirds after the side was emphatically dismantled 69-44 by West Coast Fever in what will seemingly be Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich’s final home game at RAC Arena in Perth.
It would’ve been brave to assume that Fever would drop a third straight game after winning seven straight to open the season – however, Adelaide Thunderbirds came out of the gates swinging.
But, ultimately, the away side was unable to match the Fever’s intensity for the full 60 minutes.
It was a strong but low-scoring start from both teams as the first quarter ended 14-15 to Thunderbirds which would’ve pleased Fever after their last meeting saw them sitting eight goals down at the first break.
Unfortunately, this is where the luck ran out for Thunderbirds, who were outscored 8-1 in the opening five minutes of the second quarter, and despite the changes coach Tania Obst made, nothing was able to withstand the dominant defence and slick attack of Fever.
The backline of keeper Courtney Bruce, Goal Defence Sunday Aryang and Wing Defence Stacey Francis-Bayman was near-unstoppable for the entire clash – a dream lineup of International quality.
This continued for the remainder of the game, with Thunderbirds committing a high number of turnovers and penalties and the side couldn’t string together enough strong passages of play to apply any pressure back onto the Fever.
Fever’s formidable backline of Bruce and Aryang flourished with the pair notching up 10 gains between them. Coach Marinkovich will be happy with that as Thunderbirds managed just 11 across the entire squad.
Thunderbirds Goal Shooter Potgieter had good moments, but as the game progressed frustration grew at the increasing physical presence of the defenders and the poor accuracy of feeds she was receiving.
Thunderbirds gave almost every combination a try with only Potgieter and goal keeper Shamera Sterling maintaining their positions for the full 60 minutes.
Fever opted to maintain their line-up for the most part, with only two changes made.
The first being the common substitution of goal attacks as Alice Teague-Neeld was taken off for Sasha Glasgow, and the second being the injection of young gun Olivia Lewis to GK halfway through the final quarter.
Glasgow had a strong impact, taking five gains and sinking two super shots in her 24 minutes on court.
Lewis managed one gain and showed the potential future of a potential Australian Diamonds’ defensive combination with Aryang.
The Fever’s lead increased with each quarter, as they continued to dominate all areas of the court.
The home side scored nine unanswered goals in the final term to really lock up the game.
This win further cements Fever’s place in the top four as they’re one win ahead of the sixth placed Queensland Firebirds – while boasting a percentage every other team would envy.
As for Thunderbirds, while statistically still in with a chance of finals it would be very unlikely, so now they play for pride – albeit at home in the Adelaide Super Hub.
In the five years of Suncorp Super Netball, the Thunderbirds haven’t finished higher than seventh on the ladder.
The club is becoming known for its ever-changing list through the Suncorp Super Netball era.
From the 2019 team, only two players remain so as the new contract period approaches, we will be waiting to see if the team continues to build, or commits to its current players and potentially reaps the rewards in a few years’ time.
Header Image from Suncorp Super Netball
Categories: Suncorp Super Netball