Fever suffer shocking loss at the hands of the Firebirds

EVERY home side again won this week in Round 11 of Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) as a slight gap formed between the top and bottom four.

Queensland Firebirds (78) defeated West Coast Fever (70)

The weekend started with a bang as the Firebirds overcame the out-of-form Fever. It was pure domination by the Firebirds, winning every quarter other than the first which was a draw.

The Fever led by eight goals near the end of the first quarter, but some Super Shots helped the scoreline level at 20 goals apiece.

Macy Gardner (25 feeds and 13 goal assists) went down with a heavy fall after a late challenge in the air by Kadie-Ann Dehaney (four gains, two intercepts, two deflections, and one rebound). It resulted in the second send-off of the season.

The home side did not lose much out on court though, with Hulita Veve (10 feeds, and two deflections) slotting in perfectly into centre to bring another spark in the attack end.

Isabelle Shearer (three gains, four deflections, and three rebounds) made the most of her first 60-minute game and brought the fire against Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard (66 goals, and five rebounds) who again had a massive day at the post. Shearar really proved herself in the game with her footwork and fearlessness to go for any ball that came her way.

It was a fairytale ending for the Firebirds who over the last week have faced a mountain of adversity. The whole lineup just gelled and were scoring off their turnovers, forcing the Fever into a predicament of where to go from here.

The match was also in stark contrast to last time these sides met, which was a match the Firebirds would have wanted to forget coming off second best 94-58 to the Perth side.

Adelaide Thunderbirds (67) defeated Melbourne Mavericks (41)

The Thunderbirds just do not look like slowing down anytime soon. Their 26-goal victory is their highest winning margin in SSN history, and was achieved while only scoring two Super Shots.

Finals hopes for the Mavericks seem to be slipping away, and they scored from only 51 percent of their centre passes and 45 percent of their gains. The Thunderbirds then ran with their momentum, winning every other quarter convincingly.

It was a well rounded performance from the Thunderbirds. The attack line was as fluid as ever, the midcourt was unstoppable, and the defenders could just do no wrong.

Just focusing on the defenders, the work rate of Matilda Garrett (three goal assists, two gains, four deflections, four pickups, and two intercepts) shutting down her goal attack gave Shamera Sterling-Humphrey (10 gains, six intercepts, and five deflections) the time and space to hunt outside of the circle and time one on one with Shimona Jok (25 goals).

Their structure also gives Latanya Wilson (five gains, seven deflections, five pickups, one intercept and one rebound) plenty of time to look for gains in both the defensive third and the midcourt.

Montana Holmes debuted for the Mavericks in centre and wasn’t afraid to look straight into the circle.

Melbourne Vixens (69) defeated NSW Swifts (49)

A clean game by the Vixens saw them come out victors by 20 goals to keep the Swifts finals chances on a knife’s edge.

The home side went on an eight goal run near the end of the fourth quarter and continued to push their lead out to put the nail in the coffin. They won every quarter by three or more goals and currently sit comfortably at the top of the ladder, for now.

Kate Moloney (34 feeds, 19 goal assists, three intercepts, and three pickups) was outstanding for the Vixens. She did a mountain or work in attack and was hunting for the ball early. Moloney’s vision into the shooters was accurate and was always ready to pounce on a loose ball.

It wasn’t as easy as that though looking into the shooters because Sarah Klau (eight gains, 10 deflections, and five rebounds) was on the radar early and causing a lot of disruption in the Vixens attack line. Klau has been holding the Swifts defensive line for a long time as Maddy Turner continues to get whistled out of the game, but Klau also gave away unnecessary penalties, ending the game two less than Turner.

All the hard work the Swifts do in the circle to build up the pressure goes away when a penalty is called, giving the Vixens a free shot on goal.

When the Swifts stuck to their game plan and focused on their ball speed and the free space, they could find SSN debutant Uneeq Palavi (27 goals) with ease with her strong holds and forward leads. Their confidence was high when Palavi was out on court as the Swifts attackers were willing to give the ball in a two on one set up where Palavi was able to pull in nearly every pass.

Sunshine Coast Lightning (71) defeated GIANTS Netball (66)

Both sides were hoping for a win, not wanting more scoreboard drama with an unknown drawn result after what happened the last time the two teams met.

Nevertheless, the Lightning took home the four premiership points after a 23-12 second quarter, but the GIANTS won the other three quarters. The Lightning are now one game clear in fourth position of the ladder, whereas the GIANTS are still battling it out to avoid the wooden spoon.

Steph Fretwell (46 goals and 18 feeds) and Liz Watson (39 feeders, 27 goal assists, and one intercept) looked unstoppable in attack, able to find each other and play make with ease. 

Again for the GIANTS, it was the super shots that kept them in the contest shooting 12 in total, but Fretwell shot eight of her own. The defensive pressure of Ash Ervin (nine gains, six deflections, five intercepts, and three rebounds) on Jo Harten (37 goals and 14 feeds) forced her to come out of the circle more.

The combination between Ervin and Tara Hinchliffe (two gains) is just growing every week and will be a scary one to face in the near future as they continue to grow their games.

It was the penalties that hurt the GIANTS the most, having the whistle blown 73 times against them, with 23 of those towards Jodi-Ann Ward alone. That gave the Lightning plenty of second chances on goal, which they took advantage of.

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