Fever aiming to defy history and win first title

HEADING into this weekend’s Super Netball Grand Final, history does not always stack in the favour of the West Coast Fever.

Despite being the first team into this year’s decider, they will be aiming to be the first team from Western Australia to win an Australian domestic netball title.

Although there may be “no such thing as an elephant in the room with our group this year” according to Fever coach Dan Ryan, becoming the first team from WA to win the title is certainly a motivating factor for his side.

“We know no other Western Australian netball team has ever won a national championship and it’s certainly a motivating factor for us and it’s exciting that we think it’s a great opportunity and it’s up to us to make the most of it on Sunday,” he said.

“Look there’s no secret we’ve been really open as a playing group around what we want to achieve this year and to give ourselves a chance at an opportunity is something that is most important to us and something we’re really proud of and when you’re in a Grand Final it’s a two horse race and anything can happen.”

If they were to win on the weekend, defender Stacey Francis-Bayman would put the achievement up the top of the list in her career.

“Without a doubt it would be the biggest achievement of my career so far,” she said. I have won titles in the past but SSN is the benchmark in terms of domestic netball in the world. It’s a privilege to play here, I think I’ve been at my best since I’ve been at the club and to be able to be at my best in what I hope will be the absolute best team this year will be really exciting.”

There has been quite a bit of excitement unsurprisingly around the Fever camp this week.

“I think there was a bit of a skip in everyone’s step come Monday morning knowing that it was Grand Final week and knowing that Vixens were to be our opponent” Ryan said. “From that moment on it’s been again as always business as usual and the girls have attacked training really well this week, they’re really clear in their focus, the energy is high, the quality in which they’re working, the clarity they’re attacking this is really great. So we’re in a really good place, a little bit longer to go in terms of our preparation but so far, so good.”

Francis-Bayman noted that she is excited but not necessarily overwhelmed, and she recognises that is certainly not just any old week.

“It’s certainly not just another week,” she said. “There are way more nerves and I think there’s a lot more excitement. I love what I do but a lot of us play to be competing at our absolute best and the absolute best is going to be on court on RAC Arena. “I’m certainly trying to live in the moment.”

Although some are calling the Fever favourites heading into the match, Ryan sees things a little differently.

“Well it’s an interesting one and I suppose everyone will interpret that differently but I’ve always seen the Vixens as the benchmark team this entire competition and in my opinion that doesn’t shift going into the Grand Final and we know we have to play very, very well to beat them and they probably now think the exact same about us as well considering how we performed in the semi final,” Ryan said. “So at the end of the day this has always been about how we approach it and how we think and feel and that won’t shift even though it’s a Grand Final.”

He is expecting a tough match from the visitors.

“We’re anticipating and expecting the Vixens at their very, very best. It’s a Grand Final they’ve got quality players all over the court, they know how to win,” Ryan said. “They will show up and they will produce some of their best netball, there’s no question about that and our responsibility is to make sure we’re taking care of our own backyard and also showing up and playing our best netball and we know our best is very hard to beat and the challenge for us is to make sure we can produce that on Grand Final Day.”

So will the Fever create some history and at last bring a Super Netball title home to Western Australia? Not long until we all find out.

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