WITH dominant shooters at either end of the court, it was the West Coast Fever that prevailed against Collingwood Magpies in the dying seconds by one-goal (63-62). Leading for most of the game, West Coast showed composure despite Collingwood winning three out of the four quarters, to take the Fever’s win tally to three.
Kickstarting the action with the centre pass, Collingwood looked to capitalise early, however Olivia Lewis was determined to assert herself after getting the nod at goal keeper with a big intercept in the opening seconds of the quarter to set the tone for the Fever. But moments later her heroics were answered by none other than Collingwood co-captain Geva Mentor who forced the ball to trickle over the baseline. Quick transition play from the Pies saw the ball go streaming back down the court and land into the hands of Shimona Nelson who quickly delivered. It was goal for goal for much of the opening five minutes as both sides scored off their centre pass and treasured possession. But the tables started to turn as Fever snuck out to a two-goal lead thanks to Stacey Francis hunting down loose ball in the Magpies attack.
Speedster Kelsey Browne started to find a wealth of space and depth on the pass to release the ball into Nelson under the post as the Pies looked to get back into the contest. The experience and smarts of Mentor were on full display with the goal keeper holding her ground in the goal circle and showcasing her impressive lean to offset the towering Jamaican momentarily. However the Fever steadily pushed out to a four-goal lead as they worked in overdrive to cover every move in attack for the Pies and clog up the space. Lewis continued to make life hard for Collingwood owning the front position and getting hands to ball to stop the Magpies in their tracks and then send the ball back into attack for the Fever. With the five minute mark approaching the end of the quarter Collingwood made a wealth of changes with Madi Browne entering the game and using her speed to set the court alight. But the Fever were unfazed as Fowler put up the first super shot of the game and extended the margin to 11 goals at quarter time.
A couple of costly turnovers from the Pies allowed the Fever to make the most of their chances and apply some scoreboard pressure to maintain the momentum of the game. But with the game slipping away Collingwood kicked into gear applying full court pressure and forcing the Fever to call a timeout after scoring five goals to two in the first couple of minutes of the term. Collingwood cut the lead down to seven goals and looked more confident in defence with Mentor making the most of the front position and winning ball back for the side while Matilda Garrett used her height and foot speed to nullify the influence of goal attack Alice Teague-Neeld. The increased Collingwood defensive pressure seemed to force somewhat of a disconnect between Fowler and Teague-Neeld with a couple of balls flying over the baseline. Up the other end the steadying influence of the Browne sisters worked wonders with the two showcasing their speed and dynamic movement able to consistently deliver ball into Nelson.
But the Fever did not lie down pushing the lead back out to seven goals as the Fever settled into the quarter with Ingrid Colyer hitting the circle edge with precision. With Collingwood sensing a change in momentum they called a timeout and once again went on a mini goal spree nailing three straight. Defensively the Fever looked to the bench as Sunday Aryang came onto the court and injected some speed and drive through the midcourt. It turned into a super shot shootout with Teague-Neeld and Sinclair plying their trade in the goal circle, going blow for blow while Garrett impressed with her hands over pressure.
The Fever had not won a third quarter so far this season and did not look like winning one as Collingwood burst out of the blocks throwing everything they had at the Fever to win the term 18 goals to 14. A turnover from the centre pass allowed Collingwood to edge one back and build some serious momentum despite Fever captain Courtney Bruce entering the game in at goal keeper. After spending some time on the bench Mel Bragg came out with a fire in the belly taking her feet to the ball and winning possession off the Fever centre pass to draw back within six goals. Nelson showcased her aerial presence and strength as Bruce struggled to get into the game drawing a lot of attention from the umpires. Gabby Sinclair found her rhythm under the post as Bruce and Francis covered Nelson in the goal circle.
The Pies were surging, showcasing their patience to work ball to circle edge while the Fever lacked their usual cut and drive as 100 gamer Verity Charles hit the bench and Kaylia Stanton replaced Teague-Neeld at the post. Collingwood got back to within three goals but the Fever were not about to give up as a missed shot off the hands of Nelson swung them into attack as Fowler capitalised at the post. Bruce started to find her feet in defence laying a huge rejection on Sinclair but the goal attack did not seem fazed as she backed up to sink the two point shot and get back within three goals again. Despite Collingwood dictating the flow for most of the quarter the Fever still held the lead heading into the final change.
An early turnover from Fever prompted Collingwood into attack sinking two goals in a row to slice the margin to two goals. The black and white continued to increase their defensive pressure with both Jodi-Ann Ward and Mentor shutting down the space to cause the Fever. With 11 minutes left on the clock scores were tied as both sides went goal for goal before the Fever pulled away thanks to Bruce contesting in the air and winning possession and sparking her side into action. Collingwood were not done with yet as Ward forced a held ball call from Teague-Neeld and Madi Browne picked up a tip on circle edge to take the lead. The lead ebbed and flowed in the final quarter with neither side able to settle or gain any form of momentum but with seconds left a missed opportunity to sink a super shot saw Collingwood fall one-goal short.
It was a battle of Jamaican goal shooters as Fowler led the way for the Fever under the post with another impressive outing finishing with 53 goals to her name at 96 per cent accuracy, while Nelson was the key contributor for the Pies with 45 goals. Teague-Neeld was influential in attack for the Fever as she totalled 19 goals but struggled to deliver on the scoreboard. Sinclair was strong to post for Collingwood sinking nine goals with three of them super shots.
Madi Browne starred delivering the ball effortlessly into the Collingwood shooters with 14 goal assists and three gains. Bruce got hands to plenty of ball with two intercepts while the experience of Mentor up the other end paid dividends amassing four gains and seven deflections.
Collingwood Magpies 11 | 18 | 18 | 15 (62)
West Coast Fever 21 | 16 | 14 | 12 (63)
GS: Shimona Nelson
GA: Gabby Sinclair
WA: Kelsey Browne
C: Molly Jovic
WD: Melissa Bragg
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
GK: Geva Mentor
West Coast Fever:
GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Alice Teague-Neeld
WA: Ingrid Colyer
C: Verity Charles
WD: Jess Anstiss
GD: Stacey Francis
GK: Olivia Lewis