West Coast Fever have enjoyed their first homecoming in almost two years to dominate the dying minutes against NSW Swifts and score a 63-55 Super Netball victory.
Fever were playing their first home game at RAC Arena since August 2019, and with 4927 of their adoring fans in attendance they were rewarded with the eventual eight-goal victory.
Swifts started strongly to claim the first point, and were leading 17-13 by quarter-time, but Fever worked back into it to claim the second period point and be within two goals by the halftime interval.
The teams traded two-point super goals late in the third quarter with Fever assuming the lead, and with the game on the line midway through the fourth term, West Coast took over.
Fever turned up the defensive heat and with Jhaniele Fowler unstoppable in attack, turned a tight game into an eight-goal victory. Fowler even celebrated with her own super goal on the buzzer.
Fever are unbeaten two games into the season and have erased eight of the 12-point deficit they were handed for past salary-cap infringements.
Fowler was once again a powerful presence, finishing with 54 goals from 59 attempts. Swifts defender Sarah Klau felt the brunt of the Jamaican star's power with a stray elbow opening up a cut on her forehead that bled heavily.
Emma Cosh also impressed for Fever to continue her emergence with 22 goal assists.
Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich was proud of the fight of her group.
"Usually when you look at a scoreline and you've won by eight you'd feel a bit different, but that just shows the ferocity out there with the competition between the two teams," Marinkovich said.
"I was just really proud of our girls that whilst we didn't execute well in parts of the game, we held in there and when it mattered most is when we dug deep.
"That's the part where we've evolved as a club."
Swifts might have lost, but there was a lot to like as they prepare to head home for a first game in front of their Sydney fans in almost two years against the Melbourne Vixens.
Sam Wallace finished with 32 goals for the Swifts, Helen Housby 10 and Sophie Garbin nine.
"We thought that this was going to go down to the last three minutes, and that's what blew it out. It's really disappointing that we didn't bring our game for the whole game," Swifts coach Briony Akle said.
"We just need to be better for longer and Fever did a great job in putting that pressure over us.
"It's actually devastating right now. We trained beautifully all week, we were confident coming and Fever were just better in the end."
Australian Associated Press