History repeats as Fever win nail-biter to inflict more pain on Vixens

IN a match befitting of its Grand Final rematch status, the West Coast Fever have held on by the narrowest of margins to defeat the Melbourne Vixens 62-61 and start their season off with a win.

It a match full of ebbs and flows, it was an on the buzzer shot that decided it all.

Thanks to some Courtney Bruce magic it was the home side who got a goal off their opponents’ centre pass, but the Vixens pinched one back off the very next centre pass to see both sides score off their opponent’s first centre pass.

With the play now back on centre pass, both sides went goal for goal in a tight and tense beginning to the game. However as the mid point of the quarter approached it was the Fever who were the first ones to build a lead.

The Vixens ate away into the lead a little, but the back end of the quarter saw the Fever really accelerate and take a five goal lead into the first break. Jhaniele Fowler was again proving difficult to stop for the Fever as she was being well fed by the likes of Sasha Glasgow and Verity Simmons.

Meanwhile up the other end Kiera Austin and her super shots were certainly trying to get the Vixens back in the game, but her super shots just were not landing.

The Vixens made a few positional changes at quarter time, and it had an immediate effect. They had the far better start to the second quarter, and with a five goal to two start the margin got as low as two goals. Their momentum kept going and as the halfway point of the quarter got closer the visitors managed to level proceedings.

It was short lived though as the Fever regained the momentum and the lead accordingly, but then the Vixens went on a run and levelled things back up again. West Coast Fever then regained the momentum and the lead late to take a four-goal lead into the main break.

The Vixens had the better start again in the third term, with a five goal to one start seeing the margin get down to a singular goal. The reigning premiers then kicked into gear and restored their half-time lead.

The Fever grew their lead to as much as six goals, but then Austin finally managed to land a Super Shot to bring the margin back to four. That Super Shot goal sparked a run for the Vixens, who went on a four goal run to bring the margin back down to two. That is where things sat on the scoreboard heading into the final break so it really was all to play for in the final quarter.

The final quarter started a little bit disastrously for the Vixens when Emily Mannix was forced off after a head collision with Simmons. They brought Gabby Coffey on for her debut, but the Fever capitalised to take the margin back out to four goals. Thankfully for the Vixens, Mannix was able to return, but momentum was still with the home side.

As the quarter wore on, the Vixens decreased the margin to two and it was shaping up to be a spicy final five minutes of the game. Austin then landed another Super Shot and all of a sudden things were tied up.

It went goal for goal for much of the Power Five but then Glasgow finally landed a super shot of her own to build a bit of a lead for the Fever. Austin landed another Super Shot off the very next centre pass to level things up and with only 30 seconds left on the clock the atmosphere was tense. There was in the end only one more centre pass but that is all the Fever needed as they milked the clock well and with an on the siren goal from Fowler sealed the narrow win and more heartbreak for the Vixens.

Fowler was on song as usual for the Fever, nailing 55 goals and not missing a single shot, while up the other end Aryang (six deflections, four gains and an intercept) and Bruce (four gains, three deflections, two intercepts, one rebound) both also starred.

Meanwhile for the Vixens, despite her shooting numbers being down Austin impacted in plenty of other ways, finishing with six assists, nine feeds, three rebounds, two gains a deflection and an intercept.

WEST COAST FEVER       17 | 15 | 16 | 14 (62)
MELBOURNE VIXENS     12 | 14 | 18 | 15 (61)


West Coast Fever

GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Sasha Glasgow
WA: Alice Teague-Neeld
C: Verity Simmons
WD: Jess Anstiss
GD: Sunday Aryang
GK: Courtney Bruce

Melbourne Vixens

GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Kiera Austin
WA: Hannah Mundy
C: Liz Watson
WD: Kate Moloney
GD: Kate Eddy
GK: Emily Mannix

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