The West Coast Fever capitalised on a weary Giants with a thrilling 66-65 comeback victory in a blockbuster Super Netball clash at RAC Arena.
Last year’s grand finalists trailed for the majority of the contest before a penalty goal after fulltime to Jhaniele Fowler inflicted the Giants’ first defeat of the season to close out round five.
The victory propels the Fever into the top four on the ladder as they vault into title favouritism having started the season being handicapped 12 premiership points for salary cap breaches.
Goal-scoring machine Fowler overcame tenacious Giants defence to connect on 55 of 56 shots to ultimately finish the hero, while captain Courtney Bruce kept the Fever afloat during a stirring battle with counterpart Jo Harten.
The Giants had a disrupted preparation having played the Vixens in Melbourne last weekend and they’ve been mostly holed in hotel quarantine since arriving in Perth on Thursday due to COVID-19 enforced border restrictions.
Their daunting task was made tougher after star April Brandley decided to leave Perth early with her 15-month-old son because of the quarantine rules.
But the undaunted Giants almost pulled off a rousing victory with Harten starring as the visitors dominated the error-strewn Fever early.
Attacker Sasha Glasgow gave the Fever a much-needed spark off the bench and combined well with the towering Fowler, whose accuracy cut the deficit to one goal midway through the second quarter.
But the visitors rallied with midcourter Amy Parmenter shutting down the effectiveness of Fever star Emma Cosh as a spectacular 10-2 run fuelled the Giants’ 37-29 lead at halftime.
A more energetic Fever, however, made their move in the third stanza and forced the tiring Giants into turnovers to trail by just three goals at the last break.
The Fever hit the front with five minutes left in their first lead since the game’s opening minutes and hung on after a dramatic finish.
They will play Collingwood Magpies on Saturday in a rescheduled fixture held in Sydney, while the Giants face the NSW Swifts in the Sydney derby on Sunday.