Collingwood Magpies Nat Medhurst inspires win against her former team the West Coast Fever.
Suncorp Super Netball
A Nat Medhurst masterclass against the club that cut ties with her has inspired the Collingwood Magpies to a critical six-goal win against the West Coast Fever – a result that keeps their season alive.
In Medhurst’s return to Perth’s RAC Arena for the first time since her shock axing from the Fever roster at the end of the 2018 season, the veteran goal attack tore the game apart in the third quarter to deliver her team a fifth win for the season and keep them in finals contention.
The 63-57 win sees the Magpies move to within a single point of the fourth-placed GIANTS on the Super Netball ladder with two rounds remaining.
But they may rue missed opportunities for more bonus points, having drawn the first quarter and lost the second and fourth by a goal each.
Both teams had their chances in a scrappy opening half, with the quarter-time score locked at 14-14 after the Magpies gave Gabby Sinclair the start at goal attack and again tinkered with their midcourt line-up, sending Ash Brazill out at centre and putting Kim Ravaillion into wing defence.
With five minutes remaining in the second term the lead had already changed hands 10 times as both teams struggled to make their turnovers stick.
But it was after the half-time break that Medhurst, who was brought on at quarter-time, made her presence felt.
The 35-year-old took control of the attack end, pouring in seven goals for the quarter, along with four goal assists to turn the tide for her team.
At one point the Magpies piled on seven consecutive goals to take what became the match-winning lead, winning the quarter 19-11 to stretch their advantage to seven at the last change.
The Fever mounted a charge midway through the fourth quarter but could get no closer than four goals, with Shimona Nelson (43 from 50) adding 11 to her tally, while Medhurst (14 from 17) netted another six from six to seal it.
Highlighting the Fever’s struggles this season and adding insult to injury, Medhurst’s replacement at Fever, Alice Teague-Neeld, finished the game with three goals from eight attempts, and at one point didn’t put up a shot for more than 30 minutes - from the 13:10 mark of the second quarter until the final minute of the game.
Brazill was named the Nissan MVP for a standout game at centre, collecting three gains along with 16 goal assists to amass a game-high 101 Nissan Net Points, while for the Fever Jhaniele Fowler finished with 54 goals from 60 attempts and a heavily-penalised Courtney Bruce’s seven gains were the only positive turnovers recorded by any player in the Fever defence end.
The Magpies now face a tough run home, squaring off against the top-of-the-table NSW Swifts and third-placed crosstown rivals the Melbourne Vixens, both of which they will likely need to win if they hope to overhaul the GIANTS and move into the top four.
Meanwhile the GIANTS have a softer run, taking on the Adelaide Thunderbirds and then the Fever, both of which are in the bottom four.
Q1: Fever 14 v Magpies 14
Q2: Fever 14 v Magpies 13
Q3: Fever 11 v Magpies 19
Q4: Fever 18 v Magpies 17
Suncorp Super Netball Premiership Points
Fever – 2
Magpies - 5
Nissan Player of The Match – Ash Brazill (Magpies)
Fever shooting statistics – 57/68 (83.8%)
Jhaniele Fowler – 54/60 (90%)
Alice Teague-Neeld – 3/8 (37.5%)
Magpies shooting statistics – 63/74 (85.1%)
Shimona Nelson – 43/50 (86%)
Nat Medhurst – 14/17 (82.4%)
Gabby Sinclair - 6/7 (85.7%)
Fever starting seven: GS - Jhaniele Fowler, GA - Alice Teague-Neeld, WA - Ingrid Colyer, C - Verity Charles, WD - Jess Anstiss, GD - Stacey Francis, GK - Courtney Bruce
Magpies starting seven: GS - Shimona Nelson, GA - Gabby Sinclair, WA - Kelsey Browne, C - Ash Brazill, WD - Kim Ravaillion, GD - April Brandley, GK - Geva Mentor