RANGERS Netball Club product Jess Anstiss says West Coast Fever’s three-goal loss in the netball grand final on Sunday will make her hungrier for next season.
Anstiss said there had been a lot of hype before the game and that the crowd on the day had been insane.
She said she had some nerves before the game, which Sunshine Coast Lightning won 62-59, but she had controlled them as best she could.
It was a big week for Anstiss, who was also named the rebel young star for her professional performance on-and-off the court.
The 21-year-old wing defence, who sometimes plays other midcourt positions, finished the regular season with 11 intercepts, 29 deflections, 83 centre pass receives and 42 goal assists.
Lightning claimed back-to-back Suncorp Super Netball championships, after defeating Fever in front of 13,722 netball fans who packed Perth Arena.
Fever goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler shot 53 goals from 55 attempts, goal attack Nat Medhurst scored six goals and 18 assists, while captain and goal defence Courtney Bruce showed patches of brilliance against Lightning goal shooter Caitlin Bassett.
Lightning midcourter Maddy McAuliffe said they had spent time looking at ways to shut down the connection between Fowler and Medhurst and retain possession of the ball.
“We were up against a very vocal and parochial crowd and were able to harness some of that energy on the court, which I think really helped to spur us on,’’ she said.
At the end of the first quarter during which there was some brilliant defending by Fever’s midcourters including Anstiss, the scores were level at 14 goals each.
In the second quarter Bruce was dominant claiming two intercepts and a deflection, which all led to goals for Fever and at half time Fever led 29-2.
But in the third quarter Lightning fought back and despite the two sides trading goal for goal most of the term a few turnovers from Fever’s midcourters resulted in Lighting leading 48-45 giving them a three-goal advantage going into the final quarter.
Lightning extended their lead to four goals early but eventually Fever fought back to level the score with five minutes of play left.
Fever got in front briefly as the lead changed for the seventh time in the match.
But Lightning got back in front by goaling after a missed pass to Fowler and at their next centre pass.
With about a minute on the clock Lightning goal keeper and captain Geva Mentor got her hands on the ball, resulting in a goal and then Fever midcourter Verity Charles made contact and Lightning got the turnover and scored again to win the match.
By Anita McInnes