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Round eight: West Coast Fever defeated Adelaide Thunderbirds 76-56 at RAC Arena
Round one: West Coast Fever defeated Adelaide Thunderbirds 74-56 at Priceline Stadium
It feels like a long time since the Adelaide Thunderbirds and West Coast Fever clashed in round one in Adelaide. The Thunderbirds celebrated a drought-breaking one-goal victory that day as a raft of new recruits announced themselves on the Suncorp Super Netball stage, while Fever copped injuries to their key pillars at either end in Jhaniele Fowler (ankle) and Courtney Bruce (elbow). The Thunderbirds have since managed a three-goal win over the Queensland Firebirds, but have also suffered a series of heavy defeats, though they were within six goals of Sunshine Coast Lightning last weekend. Fever know all about close games after three draws in their past four starts in amongst a two-goal win over the Collingwood Magpies in Bendigo. Last year’s grand finalists will be desperate to celebrate their first win in front of their home crowd for 2019 after a draw against Giant Netball last weekend. Look for their full-court defence to be on show as they try to make the most of Fowler’s dominance inside the circle.
Jhaniele Fowler v Shamera Sterling
The Jamaican pair are at the top of the standings in their respective positions and their second showdown of the season will be well worth watching. Sterling is leading the competition in intercepts, deflections and defensive rebounds but is likely to be wary of Fowler’s prolific ways after her season-high 61 goals against Giants Netball last weekend.
Jess Anstiss v Chelsea Pitman
Anstiss was moved into Centre during the clash with the Giants but is likely to head back to her usual spot at Wing Defence for a battle with England international Pitman. Herself a former Fever player, Pitman has been a strong contributor for the Thunderbirds through the midcourt for a number of years and is the key feeder into the goal circle. But Anstiss is a good match up for the Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist.
Courtney Bruce v Maria Folau/Sasha Glasgow
It didn’t happen in round one but New Zealand veteran Folau has spent more time in Goal Shooter in recent weeks, potentially setting up a blockbuster showdown with Fever captain and Australian Goal Keeper Bruce ahead of a potential World Cup battle in Liverpool next month. This will be Bruce’s fourth game back from an elbow injury and she’ll be determined to have a big impact. Whether it is against Folau, Glasgow, or both remains to be seen.
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