Super Netball Grand Final: West Coast Fever claim maiden premiership with Melbourne Vixens thrashing

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Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
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Sunday Aryang and the West Coast Fever are Super Netball champions.
Camera IconSunday Aryang and the West Coast Fever are Super Netball champions. Credit: James Worsfold/Getty Images

West Coast Fever abolished 25 years of pain and disappointment to send a record crowd into raptures by claiming their maiden premiership in emphatic style at RAC Arena on Sunday.

In the crowning moment for the sport in WA, Fever wore down arch-rivals Melbourne Vixens to claim a 70-59 win in front of 13,908 fans.

Hysteria reigned supreme on the final whistle as the roof of the Perth venue nearly blew off with the parochial green army celebrating a moment many no doubt wondered would ever come.

Fever coach Dan Ryan had demanded a four-quarter performance from his side all season and they finally delivered on the big stage.

Goal attack Sasha Glasgow (12 goals and 26 goal assists) was crucial with several super shots to help ease the pressure and was fittingly named player of the match.

It might not have been as monstrous at times as their major semifinal victory seemed, but Fever undoubtedly decimated the confidence of the minor premiers like no team had all season.

Four-time league MVP Jhaniele Fowler was at her best, scoring 58 goals from 59 attempts in yet another dominant performance.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 03: Jhaniele Fowler of the Fever looks top shoot the ball during the Super Netball Grand Final match between West Coast Fever and Melbourne Vixens at RAC Arena, on July 03, 2022, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)
Camera IconJhaniele Fowler was at her brilliant best as the West Coast Fever claimed their first Super Netball title. Credit: James Worsfold/Getty Images

The Vixens tried to double team the Jamaican star, but it was futile as she monstered their defence with her clean hands.

Captain Courtney Bruce controlled the defensive end, finishing with eight gains, seven deflections and six rebounds to get the better of Vixens shooter Mwai Kumwenda (28 goals) for the second time in three weeks.

The Vixens tried to hold themselves in the game in a tense first half, but Fever’s class came to the fore after half-time.

Both sides went goal-for-goal to start the game, with neither wanting to be the first to blink in front of a frenetic crowd.

It was Fever who would get the early break, thanks to their defensive pressure and they continued to hold their nerve to lead by four goals at the first break.

As the contest heated up so did the physicality, with centre Verity Simmons receiving a caution early in the second term for an incident involving Vixens star Liz Watson.

The Vixens mounted several mini comebacks before half-time, even bringing two-goal specialist Rahni Samason into goalshooter.

Fever were resilient in the face of adversity, meeting the challenge and pushing their advantage out to six goals at the main break.

The home side were simply more trusting of their ball-handling skills on the feed, with the trio of Simmons, Alice Teague-Neeld and Glasgow sure of their movements.

Bruce and Sunday Aryang ensured it was not the same at the other end, with the Vixens coughing up numerous uncharacteristic turnovers.

Such was Fever’s intensity that by the final quarter Aryang was forced to come off the bench with severe cramping.

But it didn’t stop the chaotic celebrations on the final whistle, with the Fever rock in full swing.

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