West Coast Fever reach new heights with thrashing of Sunshine Coast Lightning

West Coast Fever have capped a big week for coach Stacey Marinkovich, with a record-breaking 80-56 Super Netball victory over Sunshine Coast Lightning in Brisbane.

The Fever, playing a day after Marinkovich was announced as the new Diamonds coach, produced a stunning first-half effort on their way to reaching their highest score, while also equalling the league record of 80 goals shared by the Lightning and NSW Swifts.

In Sunday’s earlier Super Netball match, Queensland Firebirds survived a dramatic late comeback to record a thrilling 54-53 victory over Adelaide Thunderbirds.

For the Fever, Jamaican goal-scoring machine Jhaniele Fowler continued her outstanding season with 57 goals.

The Western Australian club built their win on a 24-8 second-quarter blitz as they regained fourth spot on the ladder.

“I think we had a lot to prove today … also for our coach who has just been made Diamonds coach,” Fever centre Verity Charles told Channel Nine.

“We just wanted to back her and show her that everything she’s doing is paying off.”

Marinkovich will juggle national team duties with her role at the Fever until the end of the 2021 season.

The new national coach will be buoyed by the Fever’s progress after the 2018 grand finalists defeated the Magpies and Lightning by a combined total of 38 goals in the space of six days.

Aside from Fowler’s contribution for the Fever, Alice Teague-Neeld scored a total of 13 points (seven goals, two super shots) and Kaylia Stanton added a 10-point haul (six goals, two super shots).

Steph Wood (28 points) was the top scorer for the Lightning, who are still third on the ladder but eight points adrift of the first-placed Melbourne Vixens, and four behind Swifts.

Firebirds hold on for victory

The Thunderbirds recovered from nine goals down at half-time to hit the front with five minutes remaining, leaving the home side in danger of another tough defeat following their midweek one-goal loss to the Giants.

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But the Firebirds kept their cool in the closing moments, with rookie Tippah Dwan scoring the match-winner in her side’s second victory of the season.

Both sides struggled to find their attacking flow in the fourth quarter, won 11-8 by the Thunderbirds, but key intercepts from captain Gabi Simpson and Kim Jenner helped deliver the Firebirds enough opportunities to win it at the death.

“That last two minutes was a complete blur,” Firebirds defender Tara Hinchliffe said.

“We just had to have composure, that was our word for the game and I think it showed in that last 60 seconds of mayhem.

“I just didn’t want it down my end.”

Dwan finished with 14 points (10 goals, two super goals), while Romelda Aiken was outstanding for the Firebirds, landing 40 goals at a 91 per cent accuracy rate.

Georgie Horjus led the scoring for the Thunderbirds with 27 points (19 goals, four super shots).

The Firebirds remain in seventh spot, while the loss leaves the Thunderbirds in sixth position.

AAP/ABC

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