Jamaican superstar Jhaniele Fowler-Reid is bracing for a tough defensive challenge when her West Coast Fever clash with Melbourne Vixens in Sunday’s final of Australia’s Super Netball Championship.
The 31-year-old goal shooter has been on fire this season, pouring in 910 goals to be the leading scorer in the league and impressively propel Fever to the title game.
However, the Sunshine Girl is well aware that she will be the target, and pundits are already hyping a battle with Vixens goalkeeper Emily Mannix as one of the keys to the outcome at the Nissan Arena here.
“I’m expecting Emily to come with her A-game. I’ll go with my A-game as well and go and smash it,” a confident Fowler-Reid said.
“I know I’m always coming up against some of the most amazing defenders. I know they’re going to throw things at me and that I have to hold my end up and do my best.
“I’m pretty confident I’ll go out there and will do as I’ve been doing for the past season.”
Fowler-Reid was good enough to score a record 70 goals in round 12 when Fever beat New South Wales Swifts 80-71.
Up against Mannix in round five, however, Fowler-Reid was held to 47 goals. Fowler-Reid rebounded to net 59 from 62 attempts when the two teams met again in round 10, with Mannix missing through injury.
Fowler-Reid’s goals powered Fever to third place in the final standings on 34 points with eight wins, five losses, and a draw, while Vixens topped the standings with 46 points back of 11 wins and two defeats and a draw.
In the semi-finals nearly two weeks ago, Fever edged Swifts 67-62, with Fowler-Reid producing a near-perfect performance with 55 from 56 attempts, while Vixens dominated Sunshine Coast Lightning 63-47.
Sunday’s game marks Fever’s second trip to the final in three years, the first appearance ending in a narrow three-goal defeat to Lightning in 2018.
And the memories from that defeat remain fresh for Fowler-Reid, who was the leading scorer and Most Valuable Player during that season.
“Personally, in my head, you want to make amends for losing by three goals to the Lightning,” she said.
“What I learned is to lead from the front and continue to lead when we’re up against an excellent team, and continue to push on and not make silly errors.
“I’ve learned just to keep my composure and finish the game off.”