Fever set for early season road trip
The West Coast Fever is likely to begin it’s Suncorp Super Netball season interstate, as Netball Australia looks to juggle it’s fixturing in line with current state travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
With the 2020 season scheduled to start August 1st, the competition is still without fixtures as Netball Australia officials weigh up where to base Victorian teams Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies amid the coronavirus pandemic, with numbers continuing to spiral.
Cases are also on the way up in New South Wales, meaning the NSW Swifts and GWS Giants teams could also be forced to relocate.
Fixtures are expected in the coming days, with Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich telling Sports Drive on Tuesday that her team was preparing for a trip interstate.
“I think in the next day or two we will actually get the first part of the draw,” she said.
“Similar to the AFL, they are going to do it (the fixture) in phases. With what is happening around the country it still needs to be adaptable and flexible, but I think for the first part we will be on the road.”
South Australia and Queensland are the likely states to host clubs over the first month of the season, before a potential return for the Fever team to Perth.
Marinkovich said her focus remained on preparing the players for the season as best she could, as she enters her sixth season as coach of the club she captained and played for from 2002 to 2009.
“I guess that’s where the focus has really come on to our training environment and really focussing on our game plan. The reality is you don’t know who your opposition is going to be straight up,” she said.
“For that we’ve got to make sure we’re in the right frame of mind and really backing in our way of playing no matter who we come up against at any time, in any state.”
The Fever will prepare for the season proper with an exhibition match against a WA All Stars side on Wednesday night, made up of stars from the local WA Netball League (WANL) across the open’s, under 20’s and men’s teams.
Marinkovich said it was the perfect preparation for the SSN season, with the match to be played in front of fans at RAC Arena.
“I just think it’s fantastic we can get back to RAC Arena, I think it’s been twelve months since we’ve been there,” she said.
“To be in front of our home crowd and have 4000 tickets that have been sold is great. We’ve put together a really strong opposition.
“We’ve put together a really dynamic and exciting team to play against. They are people who are within our training environment on a regular basis, so they understand our game plan and can really challenge us tomorrow night in front of a crowd and hopefully it creates a bit of pressure, then we can just see what we need to fine tune heading in to round one.”
Stacey Francis will be the only player unavailable for the Fever due to a foot injury, with the match scheduled to begin at 5:30 PM.
IMAGE: West Coast Fever website.