COLLINGWOOD Magpies has plenty of reasons to be wary of a winless West Coast Fever, when the Suncorp Super Netball teams clash at Bendigo Stadium on Saturday.
Magpies coach Rob Wright said the Fever had been 'particularly good' in a draw against top-placed Melbourne Vixens last weekend and expected them to be steeled by their winless start to the season.
"They were probably unlucky not win in the end .... both teams were very good," he said.
"Fever didn't turn the ball over much. Obviously (Jhaniele) Fowler is averaging 50 goals a game at 95 per cent. so she is a massively strong target for them.
"I was massively impressed with how they played. They were playing the top team and could have knocked them off, but credit to the Vixens.
"It's going to be very tough for us."
The Fever will be further bolstered by the return of their captain Courtney Bruce from an elbow injury sustained in the opening quarter of their round one loss to the Thunderbirds.
Wright remains reasonably pleased with the Magpies' first month of the season, which has yielded two wins, one loss and a draw against Queensland, but identified 'greater consistency' as a key going forward.
"At times we are very good and at times we can be made to look a little ordinary," he said.
"Certainly from a consistency point of view I'd like us to be a bit better around that, but overall, probably four rounds in we are about where I thought we might be."
The game will be the first in Collingwood colours for goal attack Nat Medhurst against her former side, after she was axed by the Fever at the end of last season and briefly contemplated retirement.
The former Diamonds star and three-time World Cup winner shapes as a pivotal player for the Magpies, with Wright declaring his want for greater productivity in the goal circle outside young shooting star Shimona Nelson, who is second in the league in both goals scored (183) and attempts (208).
"Sixty goals is probably the minimum you need to be scoring in this competition and we are not quite there," he said.
The Magpies will enter the clash on the back of a 65-47 win over Adelaide Thunderbirds and with plenty of players in good form, among them Nelson and dual-code star Ash Brazill, who has confirmed her status as one of the league's top wing defences.
Wright said he could not be more impressed with Brazill's defensive pressure in 2019.
"I thought she again good on the weekend and has been consistently good across the season so far," he said.
The trek to Bendigo will be the Magpies' third this season following a one-off practice match against Queensland Firebirds in February and their involvement in the Pre-Season Blockbuster in March along with the Fever, Firebirds and Melbourne Vixens.
Wright was counting on plenty of home support at Bendigo Stadium.
"I think the Bendigo crowd last time we were there was fantastic and I'm really hoping it's a sell-out," he said.
"The noise and the feel is great. I think the venue lends itself as a bit of a cauldron when it's full and we are after that.
"We will really need that support, the Fever are going to be really tough."
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