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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Ruthven

New-look Fever raring to go in SSN season opener

West Coast Fever assistant coach Sara Francis-Bayman says Fever won’t have a ‘complete overhaul’ of game style this season, despite having a massive turnover in players. 


The West Coast Fever’s Suncorp Super Netball campaign commences this Saturday against the GWS Giants at Ken Rosewell Arena. 


During the trading and signing period, Fever lost numerous key players for the club including veteran GK Courtney Bruce, Sasha Glasgow and Verity Simmons - resulting in a new-look Fever outfit. 


Fever has brought in six new players to replace those who departed, as they look to make finals for their fifth straight year.


Talking to Sports Breakfast, Francis Bayman says she is happy with how it’s all coming together.    


“The amount of player turnover that we've had, you've got to adapt to the strength of the team and that looks slightly different this year than it has done,” she said.


“Defensively, we want to win more ball throughout the court. With the loss of Courtney, we feel like we need a more even spread of ball winners. There's a focus on that. Attacking-wise, we keep Jhaniele, but we've got different players around her, so that might look slightly different also. 


“People know their role in this team. Hopefully, they're able to show that and enjoy it and, put their best foot forward at the weekend.” 


After Bruce, Kim Jenner and Rudi Ellis’ departure, Sunday Aryang remained the only defender on the list.


This season, the Diamond will receive support from Fran Willams and Kadie-Ann Dehaney who represent England and Jamaica respectively. 


Francis Bayman believes the defence will be formidable with the experience within the side.


“Katie-Anne comes to us from Sunshine Coast Lightning and the Melbourne Vixens before that, so she has a lot of experience within this league,” she said.


“It's Fran's first year in SSN and she's excited to get going. She is a World Cup silver and bronze medalist with England. She's a key part of their defence and I think she's fitted in perfectly and had some really strong pre-season performances. 


“You combine that with Sunday Arayang, a Diamonds defender and a West Australian product, it's a pretty formidable defence. We were really happy with the blend during the recruitment and what we were able to land on.”


In the attacking third, shooting sensation Jhaniele Fowler will team up with her Jamaican teammate Shanice Beckford and rising Australian talent Olivia Wilkinson. 


Francis Bayman says the connection between the Jamaican teammates is ‘almost telepathic’ and is excited about the partnership. 


“Shanice is another Jamaican international and hugely experienced at international level but again her first year in the Australian league,” she said. 


“She's got a long-standing connection with Janelle. They played together internationally for years and years. We were excited about putting that connection into the domestic competition and seeing how they go. 


“They're almost telepathic. They're really strongly connected and that's exciting.”

IMAGE: FILE


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