Fever edge struggling Giants in Super Netball

Adrian Warren |

Shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard was almost perfect in the Fever’s win over the Giants.
Shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard was almost perfect in the Fever’s win over the Giants.

One huge quarter has propelled the West Coast Fever to a 68-65 home win over the Giants in Perth and kept them in contention for a Super Netball top-two placing.

After losing three of their last five games, the Fever again looked shaky after a poor start at RAC Arena on Sunday.

They trailed by three and eight at quarter and halftime respectively and the margin swelled to ten two minutes into the second half.

But the reintroduction of England captain and circle defender Fran Williams at the start of the third quarter proved a winning move from Fever coach Dan Ryan.

Williams, who was benched in the first term, produced some big plays, finishing with three intercepts and was pivotal in a match-tilting 18-3 run that set up a 53-50 Fever lead at the last change.

“I knew I was going to raise my game and fully embrace the challenge of scraping us back in to the contest and I feel like I did that,” Williams told Fox Sports.

Goalkeeper Kadie-Ann Dehany also had plenty of impact, tallying two interceptions and seven deflections.

Wing attack Alice Teague-Neeld piled up 36 goal assists, providing great service to prolific shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard (55/59), with the Jamaican missing just one of her 56 shots from one-point range.

Fowler’s accuracy helped counter the Giants’ clear superiority from long range as the Fever made just one of eight Super Shots, while Jo Harten (35/39) and Sophie Dwyer (19/23) landing 11 of their combined 15 two-point efforts.

Alice Teague-Neeld.
Alice Teague-Neeld was crucial to getting the Fever home over the Swifts. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

The win kept the Fever (9-3) in third behind Adelaide Lightning on percentage and four points off the ladder-leading Melbourne Vixens with two rounds remaining.

“I knew we had the fight in us, we just had to bring that for the second half, which we did,” Teague-Neeld said.

For the second week running the Giants won more quarters against a top-four team but a double-digit disadvantage in one period cost them dearly.

“You can’t fault the intensity, you can’t fault the effort  it’s just we haven’t got that 60-minute performance this year,” Giants co-captain Harten told Fox Sports.

“The Fever changed their defensive structure, they made it really hard for us in that third quarter, we struggled to adapt.”

Harten was philosophical about a contentious held ball call against Dwyer down the stretch.

“I thought it had gone in for a goal and I was getting ready to shut down their centre pass, but you win some, you lose some and that won we lost,” Harten said.

The loss left the Giants (3-9) last on the ladder on percentage behind local rivals NSW Swifts, with both teams almost certain to miss the finals.