Near-perfect Fowler powers West Coast Fever into grand final against Melbourne Vixens

By October 12, 2020

Jhaniele Fowler put on another shooting masterclass on Sunday as the West Coast Fever defeated the Sunshine Coast Lightning to book a spot in Sunday’s grand final.

The towering Jamaican scored 60 goals from 61 attempts to lead the Fever to a 73-59 win over the Lightning in a dominating performance. The Fever lead 21-12 at the end of the first quarter, and 39-23 at half-time.

The Fever opened the lead by two by winning the quarter 20-18 to take a 59-41 lead into the fourth quarter.

Led by Ugandan goal shooter Peace Proscovia (16/18) and Steph Wood (13/17) led a rally that saw the Lightning win the quarter 18-14 but by then the game had long been over.

Fowler will now lead the Fever into the final where she will face fellow Jamaican K. Dehaney and the Melbourne Vixens at the Nissan Arena.

The Vixens, who defeated the Lightning 63-47 when the teams met on October 3, hold a 2-1 advantage in their head-to-head match-up against the Fever. There were also two ties in their last five encounters.

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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    Reece Hodge felt he "let the country down" after missing a late penalty in Australia's 15-15 draw with Argentina in the Tri Nations. 

    The Wallabies fly-half had the match on his boot as he lined up the 78th-minute kick that would almost certainly have been a match-winner. 

    He sent the ball wide of the right upright, however, and despite kicking five from five chances before that, it was the sixth that weighed heavy. 

    "I feel like I’ve let the country down," Hodge said on Fox Sports. "It’s a pretty tough one to take at the moment. 

    "Obviously we were up 15-6 and had our chances to seal that game. I guess inaccuracy and poor game management from our game managers let us down. 

    "Especially in that first half we created a lot of opportunities, it's just inaccuracy in the last passes and movements that let us down. 

    "It was 9-6 at half-time, but with the weight of possession we had it should have been 15 or 20 and it's a credit to the way that Argentina defended also."

    Australia captain Michael Hooper suggested his team lost their discipline and paid a heavy price. 

    In a gruelling match, five penalties apiece from Hodge and Nicolas Sanchez produced the scoring, with Australia having two first-half tries chalked off by the television match official. 

    Armed with a 15-6 lead by the hour mark, Australia looked set to see the job through at the McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, only to cough up the chances that allowed Sanchez to boot Argentina back onto level terms. 

    Hooper said: "We tried to play with a lot of territory - I think we won that - we were just unable to convert there in the second half, and probably ill-discipline. Sanchez made us hurt. 

    "We felt good, we were playing our shape. They turned the ball over a couple of times, we had some loose passes, some knock-ons there, so we need to be more accurate." 

    Hooper explained it would take a while for Australia to get their heads around the match. 

    "The mind is still going 100 miles per hour so we'll debrief and catch our breath and look at it properly," Hooper said. 

    Asked if the early intention had been to get the ball wide, Hooper said: "You can't just go straight to edge. 

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    Argentina skipper Pablo Matera felt his team got their reward for sticking to their defensive strengths, recovering well from having Julian Montoya sin-binned early in the second half. 

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    "We were nine points behind but we still did our system because we trust it. It was not our best performance but a good effort from all the team." 

    He said the game was "really physical, really brutal", adding: "Australia play a great game, they put us under a lot of pressure. 

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    In a battle between teams who had both beaten the All Blacks in the previous fortnight, Australia had two first-half tries disallowed and were left to rely on the precision from the tee of their star fly-half.

    In front of a socially distanced crowd at McDonald Jones Stadium, Hodge was 100 per cent from his first five penalties and looked like getting the better of opposite number Nicolas Sanchez.

    Sanchez had missed one early in the second half but booted the Pumas back from 15-6 down to level terms, only for Argentina to give up a 78th-minute penalty chance to Australia after a ruck infringement.

    Hodge, from around 40 metres, sent his kick high into the Newcastle night sky but wide of the uprights.

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    After the high of defeating New Zealand for the first time, Argentina will look to buck the trend again and claim a win against Australia in the Tri Nations on Saturday.

    Argentina claimed a 25-15 win over the All Blacks at Bankwest Stadium last weekend, with fly-half Nicolas Sanchez scoring all of the Pumas' points as Ian Foster's team were condemned to back-to-back losses for the first time since 2011.

    The Wallabies handed New Zealand the first of those defeats, however, when they triumphed 24-22 in Brisbane on November 7.

    They will have their eyes on top spot when the teams meet at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Saturday.

    HISTORY

    Australia have won 17 of their past 19 Tests against Argentina, including their last two on the bounce, and 14 of the previous 15 on home soil.

    The Pumas won away against the Wallabies as recently as September 2018, though, and will be hoping to record a third straight victory for the first time in five years.

    Australia lost their only previous Test at McDonald Jones Stadium – a 9-6 defeat to Scotland in June 2012 – and will hope to stop Argentina recording successive triumphs against tier one opponents for the first time since June 2016.

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    Australia are averaging eight clean breaks per game in this year's Tri Nations, which is the most of any team and twice the amount Argentina managed in their first outing of the tournament.

    The Pumas took good care of the ball against the All Blacks, though. They conceded four turnovers in the match, fewer than half the amount any other team has had in a single game in the competition.

    ONES TO WATCH

    Sanchez is in good form with two tries and 40 points across his two most recent Test outings, but he has only dotted down once in his 13 previous appearances against the Wallabies.

    Michael Hooper will hope to help keep the Argentina star on the back foot. The Australia captain has gained 4.4 metres per carry in the competition, the most of any forward with at least 10 attempts.

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