Courtney Bruce is such a superstar from last night in the Fever back three.
She looked after it so well alongside the guidance of Stacey Francis and Wing Defense Jess Anstiss, having read the Lightning situation at the right time.
When the Lightning poorly communicated trying to get their way within the circle, Bruce knows where the marker is, and Bruce swooped in to prevent their attempted conversions.
Not only Bruce’s defensive levels are top quality, but she can help launch the opportunities that the Fever can do to capitalize on it.
The likes of Anstiss, Emma Cole, and Verity Charles help navigate through the channels before they let Jhaniele Fowler and Alice Teague-Neald focus on the finishing.
This is communication and free-flowing netball at its best that reflected Bruce’s natural game and the players around her.
And any opposition trying to sneak past the circle will have to get around Courtney Bruce first.
Suppose it doesn’t take action quickly enough. In that case, Courtney Bruce will use the intense physicality & reading block/mark/deflect it that will leave any opposition attack frustrated, as highlighted in the last two halves from the Lightning.
She handled it in the middle of the park, protecting the Fever back three and helping out the attack.
Well, the lack of communication conversions from the Lightning front four helped make the Fever tighten the defense and mark them when they’re unable to complete these passes with little room.
And the conversation/support Charles received from her defenders allowed Charles to plan to get around the Lightning defense.
Charles spotted nicely with some space through the channels.
She used it to significantly affect the precise passing even from long-range thanks to her brilliant skillset of the physicality and pace when Emma Cole, Alice Teague-Neald & Jhaniele Fowler needed her help.
That kind of communication allowed Teague-Neald & Jhaniele Fowler to focus 100% on netting the ball, allowing the Fever to build on a healthy lead before they safeguard it in the end.
Charles made sure that both departments are clear to be aware of the Lightning key players.
And they identified how they could get hold of them like Steph Wood, who is a decent threat upfront and create their weaknesses, which is something the Fever have done to exploit the Lightning and make it hard to climb back the scoreboard sheet.
She looked after the Lightning defense, where Pretorius offered experience, guidance, and physicality to deny Fever’s incomplete passes at times.
The reading is there for Pretorius by deflecting/intercepting the ball (so does her back two) when the Lightning struggled to fill and cross within the circle.
That way, Pretorius re-sets the Lightning build-up attack further afield to create opportunities and fire back the Fever’s pressure.
Although, the Lightning are on par with the Fever earlier in the game.
But it’s the lack of conversion communication that let her down and defend with enormous pressure plus pick up ill-discipline in the end.
It’s safe the say that the Lightning only played a half-decent team at the back from last night’s game.
Pretorius needs more help from the Lightning attack to convert better so the whole team can be balanced and begin the momentum they need to build and maintain next time.