GIANTS secure minor premiership with win over Fever

IT was a battle of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) heavyweights as the Fever and GIANTS went head to head, but in the end it was the latter that got the chocolates and the minor premiership (75-73). The GIANTS pulled off a huge come-from-behind win to set up an exciting preliminary final next week.

Jo Harten made her intentions clear in the first few minutes of the game slotting the first three goals to give the GIANTS the upper hand. The frontend was purring along nicely as Maddie Hay worked her way onto circle edge time and time again. Jhaniele Fowler drew first blood for the Fever with the Jamaican goal shooter plucking the ball out of mid-air and delivering the goods. The Fever started to generate some real momentum midway through the quarter as they levelled the scores at six goals apiece. The intensity of the game increased as the two sides went blow for blow with neither side willing to give up. Verity Charles controlled proceedings inside the frontend for the Fever receiving just about every second pass and releasing the ball with confidence into the circle.

With the super shot period in play both sides showcased their long-range shooting with Sophie Dwyer opening the account to give the GIANTS a handy two-goal lead. but that momentum was short lived as Alice Teague-Neeld chimed in with a super shot of her own. In fact it did not stop there for the Fever goal attack as she showed her hand in defence to disrupt the play and then transition into attack all within a blink of an eye. A flurry of goals in the final minutes gifted West Coast a huge six-goal lead heading into quarter time.

Both teams started with a pep in their step as they went goal for goal. Fever maintained their six goal buffer while the GIANTS worked in overdrive to find an edge. A defensive win to Sam Poolman gifted possession back to the GIANTS in which they capitalised on under the post to reduce the margin to four goals. with the centre pass to follow the GIANTS had their tails up as the combination between Dwyer and Harten started to kick into gear. Fowler impressed with her versatility to come out of the circle and use her foot speed. the midcourt tussle between Jess Anstiss and Jamie-Lee Price intensified as the pair refused to give an inch in both defence and attack.

The ball ebbed and flowed up and down the court with neither side able to hit the scoreboard credit to the defensive pressure stemming from both teams. Courtney Bruce showcased her closing speed to come screaming through for a deflection and give something for the Fever to build off. Teague-Neeld continued to be a workhorse up forward for the Fever as Kristiana Manu’a struggled to combat her speed. A huge super shot from Dwyer got the GIANTS back to within two goals while West Coast’s steady approach to goal enabled them to keep things afloat. It was laboured across the court for both sides as every single pass was contested but the GIANTS refused to give in reducing the deficit to a single goal before hitting the lead. The England international put on a show with less than 20 seconds on the clock as the GIANTS went into half time up by a goal.

Sasha Glasgow entered the fray in at goal attack to start the third term but that did not stop the GIANTS from quickly adding to the scoreboard to create a two goal lead. the defensive unit of the Fever was up and about as Stacey Francis-Bayman and b worked in overdrive out the front to try and stop the easy ball movement in the GIANTS frontend. The high ball into Fowler was paying dividends often flying over the head of Poolman. Down by three goals the Fever tinkered with their defensive structure as Olivia Lewis made her way on in goal keeper as Bruce moved out to goal defence but that did not prove to be the answer they were after as the lead ballooned out to six goals.

The absence of April Brandley and Matilda McDonell did not seem to faze the GIANTS too much as both Manu’a and Poolman combined down back to wreak havoc and cause confusion. Once West Coast were able to get hands on ball they were able to convert but their lack of penetration from defence to attack cost them as the GIANTS employed strong hands over pressure. As the clock ticked down the ball started to fall the way of the Fever as they crept back to within three goals before an Amy Parmenter intercept sent the GIANTS into half-time up by four.

With 15 minutes left to play the GIANTS made their mark with some confident cross court play. Emma Cosh pulled on the wing attack bib for the Fever to provide some fresh legs in attack as Charles swung into centre. The changes did not stop there as Francis-Bayman slotted back into goal defence and Anstiss swung across to wing defence. The alterations paid off as the Fever started to win ball back and eat into the deficit. West Coast made their move piling on five goals straight before stealing the lead for the first time since the second quarter. It was a frantic last minute of the game as the GIANTS proved they were more than happy to play possession as the clock ticked down. it was a monumental win for the GIANTS knocking off the top of the table Fever.

Fowler was in fine form under the post sinking 55 goals at 100 per cent accuracy, while Teague-Neeld managed eight goals from her 11 attempts along with 18 goal assists. Charles was strong through the midcourt recording 24 goal assist as Bruce notched up four gains and four deflections. Harten found her groove finishing with 40 goals from 42 attempts as Dwyer shot 27 from 32. Hay was silky around circle edge with 22 goal assists as Price managed 20.

WEST COAST FEVER 25 | 15 | 18 | 15 (73)
GWS GIANTS 19 | 22 | 21 | 13 (75)



GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Alice Teague-Neeld
WA: Verity Charles
C: Jess Anstiss
WD: Stacey Francis-Bayman
GD: Sunday Aryang
GK: Courtney Bruce


GS: Jo Harten
GA: Sophie Dwyer
WA: Maddie Hay
C: Jamie-Lee Price
WD: Amy Parmenter
GD: Kristiana Manu’a
GK: Sam Poolman


Picture credit: Getty Images

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