Feature by Dustin Edwards
West Coast Fever captain Courtney Bruce has made an electric start to her captaincy in 2018, winning two from two and sitting atop the Suncorp Super Netball ladder after an inspiring 68-57 win over the Collingwood Magpies on Saturday night at Perth Arena.
Although the Fever were trailing early in the match after a somewhat sluggish start, West Coast’s defence leapt into action, creating a number of attacking drives with Bruce and Stacey Francis at the forefront of a blistering 19-12 second quarter which set up the club’s first win at home.
“It’s so good to win at home,” Bruce said.
“I think we just shut the options down and played the Fever way, which is hard attacking defence, we go hard at every ball and we don’t back off. We were just able to turn the ball over when we needed and having Jhaniele at the other end, it’s easy to finish and put a ball in to her because she makes every bad ball look good.
“We love playing at Perth Arena, it’s our home and to get that win is icing on the cake. The crowd is so good and they get right behind us. You can hear them every ball we take and I think Perth has the best crowd to play in front of and the best stadium to play in, it’s phenomenal.”
Bruce has started the year on fire, taking five intercepts and getting a hand to seven deflections, five of which came against the Magpies, the skipper is clearly relishing her attacking defensive role.
“I’ve been happy with my performances so far,” she said.
“Obviously coming up against Caitlin Thwaites is a tough battle. She’s an awesome shooter, so personally I just tried to stick to what I’m good at and that’s moving my feet and coming through at the ball.”
With head coach Stacey Marinkovich giving Bruce a license to run off and create from her defensive post, the Fever look like a different and more difficult prospect already after just two games, boasting a number of weapons throughout the court.
“She definitely gives me the confidence to go for the ball,” she said.
“Really try to shut down anything in front which allows me to play to my strength, which is to come through and have a run.
“I was really close to a few intercepts, so I’m excited for weeks to come when my timing is spot on and hopefully reel in a few more balls.”
Although Bruce is new to the captaincy position, her love of the role, passion for the team and vocal leading on court has clearly motivated her charges to bigger and better things in season 2018.
“I’m really loving the captaincy and I’m two for two so we’ve got to keep this up,” she said with a laugh.
“But no, I seriously love being captain it’s phenomenal. I don’t have to do much as we have a bunch of leaders in the team so nothing really changes in my role.
“I’m a pretty passionate player and I like to show that to the girls and I think I motivate them by coming out and shutting players down, so nothing changes for me.”
West Coast Fever take on Sunshine Coast Lightning in Round 3 Saturday May 12 at 1.00pm (AWST) at USC Stadium, before returning home to take on the Swifts at HBF Stadium.