AN INSPIRED West Coast Fever has withstood a late charge from Collingwood Magpies to score its maiden win of the Suncorp Super Netball season at Bendigo Stadium.
The Fever, led by a commanding performance from goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler, outlasted an inconsistent Magpies to win 63-61.
Fowler nailed 51 of her 52 attempts to be the dominant player on court, as last season's grand finalists moved their record to one win, one draw and three losses after round five.
The Jamaican national representative scored 25 of her goals in the first half, and continued to combine brilliantly in the second half with Kaylia Stanton (12/14) to add 26.
Magpies coach Rob Wright paid full credit to Fowler and Stanton for an accomplished and accurate performance.
"They are very hard to stop and score a lot of goals and they did that well again today," he said.
"Except for last week, that's our highest score (for the year) .... for us it's about finding more ways to win ball against them. And we have to keep finding ways to make sure we capitalise on the ball we win.
"Through the middle bits (of the game) we did it well, I am just not sure we did it as well in the fourth and both teams were a bit guilty of coughing up the opposition's ball."
Assessing his team's start to the season, which now stands at two wins, two losses and a draw, Wright again pointed to a lack of consistency, as he had in the lead-up to the first SSN to be played in Bendigo for premiership points.
"We struggled to win enough ball at times, they are a tough team to win it off," he said.
"At times we did it really well, but we couldn't stick at it for long enough.
"Full credit to them, they were able to hold possession quite well .. in patches we were very good, it's being able to do that for longer because every team in this comp is too good if you don't do it consistently."
The Fever's four-goal lead at the opening break proved telling, with the Magpies only able to reduce the margin to two at half time, before honours were shared at 30-apiece in the second half.
West Coast again led by four goals early in the opening term, before the Magpies on three separate occasions reduced the margin to a single goal.
Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich was confident pre-game her side was better than its previous 0-3-1 record indicated; by full-time she was certain.
"Our training environment has been one of building pressure and I think for us in our inner-circle, it was a matter of getting that out and transferring it into the performance environment," she said.
"Magpies are a great team, they put on a huge amount of defensive pressure and are the number one defensive side in the comp, to be able to keep driving through and scoring showed great maturity and growth in our attackers.
"And for us to be able to put the pressure on defensively was a good collective effort."
The Fever showed signs a breakthrough win was on the cards in last weekend's draw against Vixens and were able to carry that momentum into a crucial away contest.
While the tandem of Fowler and Stanton won most accolades, Marinkovich praised an 'all of team' performance, boosted by the return of goal keeper and leader Courtney Bruce and a brilliant game at wing attack from Ingrid Colyer.
"We like to score and we like to score quick; when you come up against us we like to run the ball - that's something we don't back away from," she said.
"But we know we have to up our work rate to make sure we can defend just as quick in transition."
Collingwood also welcomed back a player, with Matilda Garrett replacing April Brandley at half time for her first appearance for the season.
The combination of Shimona Nelson (44 goals from 51 attempts) and Nat Medhurst (17/21) against her former club, reaped dividends for the Magpies, to ensure their side was never out of the match.
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