Fever to start season in Sydney
The West Coast Fever will commence their 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season in Sydney, as Netball Australia confirmed the opening six rounds of season fixtures on Friday.
Stacey Marinkovich’s side will play the GWS Giants on Saturday week at Ken Rosewall Arena in their season opener, remaining in Sydney to play the NSW Swifts at the same venue on Sunday August 9th in round two.
The Fever will then relocate to Queensland for at least three weeks to play four more matches, with officials set to make a call where the remaining rounds will be played by the end of August.
West Coast Fever centre and wing defence Jess Anstiss said the side was happy to have fixtures locked in ahead of the season start.
“I think there’s been a bit of talk over the last few weeks of what’s happening, it’s nice to finally have some security that we’re heading to Sydney and playing some netball.” Anstiss told Sports Drive on Friday.
While acknowledging the challenges of extended time away from home, the 23 year old said she and her team would embrace the season and it’s intricacies.
“It is definitely daunting now having that confirmed that we’re going to be on the road for at least six weeks, it’s a bit scary but it’s an opportunity I guess, not many people can say they were out playing sport during this pandemic so it’s pretty cool in that sense.” Anstiss said.
The 2018 Young Star winner suggested not having to travel to and from Perth every second week could benefit the team in the short term.
“That could be one positive that we are looking at, the fact we not having to get on a plane for four or five hours every second week,” she said.
“The fact we are going to be based in one spot as a team is also going to build team unity. It’s a good opportunity I think to be on the road and staying in Queensland (and New South Wales) for that period.”
Anstiss was disappointed that WA was overlooked as a potential hub for eastern states clubs.
“It’s a bit disappointing, I know our CEO Simon Taylor worked really hard behind the scenes to put forward lots of options with the state government’s backing,” she said.
“It’s disappointing we haven’t been able to secure any games as yet, but we’re still hoping that we might be able to get up to four games at RAC Arena towards the back end of the season. That’s there number one focus now and hopefully that can happen.”
SSN is set to allow teams to bring two extra train-on players for travelling sides, to cope with the demands of the season.
It could open up the opportunity for young gun Donnell Wallam to debut for the club, having starred for the WA All Stars in last week’s exhibition match against the Fever.
Anstiss said she was excited to see the star shooter’s rapid rise and development.
“I watched ‘Nelly’ last year throughout the WANL season and she’s definitely got lots of potential,” she said.
“Being one of her first years playing netball last year she’s definitely jumped on to the scene and played awesome again on Wednesday night, which obviously caught the eyes of the Fever and was able to get the opportunity to be a training partner.”
The Fever are set to fly out to Sydney next Thursday, ahead of their season opener against the Giants two days later.
IMAGE: GWS Giants Netball.