COMING off a 2018 grand final defeat, the West Coast Fever were brought back down to earth in 2019, unable to reach the heights of the previous season and only notching up two wins for the year. The Fever’s successful game style from 2018 was worked out, with the West Australian side unable to get their signature ball movement up and running for four quarters consistently and impose themselves on the contest.
It was a disappointing season for last years grand finalists, with the Fever only managing two wins while also playing out three draws, unlucky at times to have not come away with the four points. The Fever had an inconsistent year at best with captain Courtney Bruce forced to the bench for large chunks of the season. Her presence was sorely missed in the defensive end with the likes of Stacey Francis, Shannon Eagland and Olivia Lewis forced to carry the load down back. Lewis showed plenty of promise, standing up to the occasion and backing herself, while up the other end Jhaniele Fowler continued on her merry way with a season best 709 goals to to the Super Netball leaderboard once more. With Nat Medhurst departing the club, the goal attack role chopped and changed between Alice Teague-Neeld and Kaylia Stanton with the side struggling to find consistency. Through the midcourt Verity Charles, Ingrid Colyer and Jess Anstiss had moments of magic but also went missing for large parts of 2019, but when on song proved hard to stop with their speed and solid connections.
While 198cm shooter Fowler provided a commanding presence under the post for the Fever, reining in passes with ease and taking full control in the attacking third. Fowler showcased her versatility, shaking up her usual holding style to come out of the circle and allow Teague-Neeld or Stanton to drive into the ring. Her strength and body positioning under the post was key for Fever throughout the season, reeling in errant passes and using her footwork to get to the loose ball.
Despite having an off-season, Anstiss still has plenty to offer with the young wing defence filled with plenty of potential. She will look to recapture her dominant form from last year that saw her side rise up the ladder and put her name on the map. Known for her defensive pressure, smothering movement and ability to clog up space, Anstiss could be a force to be reckoned with come 2020.