GIANTS Netball have grinded out a hard-earned 48-45 victory against West Coast Fever at HBF Stadium to return to the winner’s circle in Round 10.
It was a tough and physical encounter for the visitors, with the result able to go anyway in the thrilling 60 minute contest.
Head Coach Julie Fitzgerald is happy to come home from Perth with two points, however admits there’s a lot to work on before next week.
“There’s an awful lot to work on (this week) but I suppose the thing that pleased me was the resilience (we showed) – it was such a tight game and it was difficult to get any sort of lead,” Fitzgerald said.
“That we were able to hold one long enough to get a win, even just a narrow one, is really pleasing. You had two teams out there who were very, very hungry for the ball and both teams were very keen to get a win today.
More than two minutes were played before the first goal scored, setting up an exciting contest between the two sides. The GIANTS were able to get in front thanks to strong post positioning from Keeper Sam Poolman, but their opportunities were hard fought with the Fever putting out a strong defence.
It was a strong, physical contest with neither side relenting, resulting in an early change to the GIANTS with Taylah Davies replacing Sarah Wall at WA. Both the GIANTS and Fever had moments where it looked like they could take control of the game, but the defensive pressure was suffocating and scoring opportunities hard to come by. The result a low-scoring opening quarter, Fever leading 11-10.
A rejuvenated GIANTS side emerged for the second quarter, scoring the opening five consecutive goals to take control of the match. Crucial intercepts to Poolman and Centre Serena Guthrie helped turn the game for the visitors, silencing the Perth crowd in the process. Fever took the opportunity to call an early tactical timeout to stem the flow of goals against them, introducing tall shooter Kate Beveridge to GS in the process.
Veteran goal attack Susan Pettitt lifted with her team, putting out an evergreen performance in the attacking third to help her side out to a six-goal advantage. But the hosts weren’t going down without a fight, working their way back into the contest thanks to some advantageous play. A late tactical timeout did little to disrupt Fever’s purple patch, but did allow the GIANTS to hold onto the lead at the big break.
Fitzgerald opted to introduce Kristina Brice to GS for the start of the second half, with Davies coming on to WA bib soon afterwards in a quick change with Wall. While the break provided a chance to switch up the line, it didn’t stop the strong, hard battle on court.
The visitors worked tirelessly and soon had a small buffer over Fever, but no scoring opportunity came easy. GD Bec Bulley was an absolute workhorse for the GIANTS – combining well with Poolman down back, all the while adding great run through the middle of the court in transition to attack.
With everything on the line the majority of the final quarter was played out with only a one-goal buffer; meaning any mistake could come at a great, game-changing cost. Fever were relentless in their pursuit of the lead, but the GIANTS displayed that characteristic patience they’ve quickly become renowned for.
In the end it was a game-changing intercept late in the piece from Guthrie that prevented the scoreboard from levelling, giving the GIANTS a hard-earned three goal win away from home.
The GIANTS are back on the road next weekend to meet the Adelaide Thunderbirds on Sunday 7 May for Round 11, before heading to AIS Arena on Sunday 14 May to host ladder leaders, the Melbourne Vixens. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!
MVP: Susan Pettitt (GIANTS)
GIANTS | Q1: 10 – Q2: 25 (15) – Q3: 37 (12) – Q4: 48 (11)
FEVER | Q1: 11 – Q2: 24 (13) – Q3: 33 (9) – Q4: 45 (12)
GIANTS | GS Jo Harten (C), GA Susan Pettitt, WA Sarah Wall, C Serena Guthrie, WD Jamie-Lee Price, GD Bec Bulley, GK Sam Poolman
FEVER | GS Kaylia Stanton, GA Nat Medhurst (C), WA Ingrid Colyer, C Verity Charles, WD Jessica Anstiss, GD Stacey Francis, GK Courtney Bruce
GIANTS | Q1 Timeout: WA Taylah Davies; Q3: GS Kristina Brice; Q3 Timeout: WA Davies; Q4 Timeout: WA Guthrie, C Price, WD Toni Anderson.
FEVER | Q2 Timeout: GS Kate Beveridge.
GIANTS: 48/55 @ 87%
J. Harten: 16/19 @ 84%
S. Pettitt: 21/24 @ 88%
K. Brice: 11/12 @ 92%
FEVER: 45/59 @ 76%
K. Stanton: 7/10 @ 70%
N. Medhurst: 13/16 @ 81%
K. Beveridge: 25/33 @ 76%