AFTER a brave performance last week against the ladder leaders, West Coast Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich is confident her side's first win of the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball season is approaching.
She hopes it will arrive as early as Saturday in Bendigo against Collingwood Magpies.
The Fever, last season's grand finalists, had been on the end of three big defeats in the opening three rounds, before forcing a draw against Melbourne Vixens last weekend.
It might well be viewed as a chance lost for the Fever, who led by as many five goals in the final quarter, before being denied a breakthrough win by a buzzer-beater by Bendigo's Caitlin Thwaites.
But Marinkovich could only draw positives from the result and is viewing it as a launching pad to brighter performances ahead
"Just the way we played last week I feel the girls have gained some confidence with that and they are ready for the next battle and next opportunity to get some consistency across our entire game plan," she said.
"Obviously we were in control at different stages and to draw it in the last couple of seconds was hard, but I think with where we have been at, the girls really understood the execution we were looking for was there for a large part of the game.
"While you can get disappointed, sometimes you need to look at the positives to get that reinforcement that things are working and the training environment is challenging the right things."
The Fever will be significantly boosted by the return of their skipper and star defender Courtney Bruce, who has been absent since round one with an elbow injury.
Marinkovich said her return would bring a lot of confidence to the playing group.
The first Super Netball clash to be played in Bendigo for premiership points will be the teams' second meeting at the venue this year, after they squared off during the pre-season blockbuster tournament in March.
The Magpies won that battle 66-59, but the Fever coach was certain her side had the game plan to turn the tables.
"Obviously they have strength all over the court and are doing a very good job in defence and minimising people's opportunities," Marinkovich said.
"(But) with our strength and scoring ability it's certainly going to be a challenge against one of the best defensive line-ups of the competition.
"With their athleticism and ball movement in attack, we are certainly going to have make sure we really attack the individual battles and get in good position so we can apply some good pressure collectively."
In a battle pitting the league's two leading goal shooters - Jhaniele Fowler and the Magpies' Shimona Nelson - Marinkovich is bracing for a high-scoring affair.
"I would like to think our defence might be able to have a bit more of an impact on what they (the Magpies) have been able to do, but for us, we certainly want to be getting over that 60 goal mark and driving the energy and intensity across the game." she said.
"That's the way we play and we will still be looking for that high execution and high volume of shots and getting that ball into Jhaniele.
"And I think Kaylia (Stanton) has really stepped up in taking some of that load in shooting, and then we have the versatility of Alice (Teague-Neeld)"
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