West Coast Fever unbeaten in Team Girls Cup as coach Dan Ryan praises recruit Chelsea Pitman

Headshot of Catherine Healey
Catherine HealeyThe West Australian
Fever recruit Chelsea Pitman has impressed back in green.
Camera IconFever recruit Chelsea Pitman has impressed back in green. Credit: James Ross/AAPIMAGE

West Coast Fever coach Dan Ryan has praised new recruit Chelsea Pitman as a “great fit” for the side ahead of the upcoming Super Netball season.

Playing her first game for 2022, just eight days after signing as a training partner, Pitman showed she’s lost no pace despite her year away from the game.

“She’s really slotted in really well to be honest,” Ryan said.

“She’s sharing her knowledge and wisdom… the players are picking her brain.

“She’s really immersed herself in the environment.

“It’s been a great fit for us.”

Pitman, a dual Australian and England international, was a shock Fever addition after her controversial axing from Adelaide at the end of 2020.

But the 33-year-old has helped the Fever to an unbeaten run of three matches at this weekend’s Team Girls Cup competition heading into Sunday’s final.

While Pitman remains a training partner, and not one of the 10 contracted players, Ryan said squad depth was crucial in the race for the Super Netball crown.

“I think we really want to pride ourselves on our depth,” he said.

“We understand the importance of the 10 contracted athletes being able to get out on court and contribute to the team each game, and further to that, the training partners and extended squad are really important knowing the complications that COVID might throw at us throughout the year.

“We want to make sure that all players get exposed as best we can and they are all able to impact the game whatever their role might be.”

Despite sitting out the second game, Ryan said midcourter Jess Anstiss would be fit to play in Sunday’s final, as she remained on a “monitored load”.

Despite just four training sessions back with her Fever teammates this pre-season, goal shooting superstar Jhaniele Fowler is back to her dominant best.

The Team Girls Cup final will start at 1.30pm.

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