The West Coast Fever have kicked off a new era with new tricks but it was the same savage effect in the 82-62 Super Netball win against the Sunshine Coast Lightning in the season opener.
New coach Dan Ryan has taken the Fever’s helm from Stacey Marinkovich, and Jhaniele Fowler honoured the transition with 65 goals at 97 per cent accuracy at Perth’s RAC Arena.
“That was very important to boost our confidence on the road,” Fowler, whose outfit face Collingwood, the Queensland Firebirds and the Melbourne Vixens away from home over the next three weeks, said.
The beginning of the Ryan era showed he was prepared to shake up what has been a strong and established line-up for the past two seasons.
He started regular goal attack Alice Teague-Neeld at wing attack, rotated the midcourt and gave captain Courtney Bruce a brief run at goal defence.
This was not a champion side against a minnow.
These two outfits met in last year’s finals and the Lightning are two-time premiers.
One thing to cheer about in the first half for the Lightning was a promising debut from 19-year-old goaler Reilley Batcheldor who sank a two-point Suncorp Super Shot with one of her first confident touches.
Coach Kylee Byrne tried everything to ignite her stunned side.
Sisters Tara – in her 50th game – and Maddie Hinchliffe had a rare outing together in the Lightning defence and the midcourt was rotated in every combination.
“It’s the whole court, they’re moving it far too quickly,” Byrne lamented at halftime.
Diamonds goal shooter Cara Koenen finished the game on the Lightning bench after being held to 25 goals by Bruce.