Expectations were running high when former Australian Diamonds coach Norma Plummer was lured west, taking the experienced Catherine Cox and the up-and-coming Ashleigh Brazill, from the NSW Swifts, with her.
In prolific shooter Caitlin Bassett, livewire midcourter Shae Bolton and proven defenders Eboni Beckford-Chambers, Andrea Gilmore and Susan Fuhrmann, Fever had the makings of a very handy team.
The girls from Perth started in style with a 20-goal drubbing of the Canterbury Tactix and after four rounds had notched two wins for a solid start to their campaign. From there, it was mostly downhill for the competition’s most isolated franchise.
Eight consecutive losses followed and the team did not win again until the final round of the regular season. Fever’s season mirrored their previous efforts in the competition where patches of brilliant play were undone by rushes of blood and a lack of composure.
Fever came very close to making it their best season but paid a heavy price for a one-goal loss to the Queensland Firebirds in round nine, a two-goal loss to the Swifts in round 11 and another heart-breaking one-goal loss, to Melbourne Vixens, in round 12.
Basset proved a rock for Fever, the towering shooter returning an 88.3 percent success rate for the season but lacked a reliable partner to back her up. Cox struggled with her accuracy while plying her trade from the unaccustomed role of goal attack and getting through a power of work outside the circle for a 63 percent return.
Cox was relied on heavily for experience and direction sitting fifth on the list of centre pass receives with 223 while Brazill was also a prominent figure. The athletic midcourter finished seventh on the table for goal assists with 124 while also picking up 20 intercepts.
Failing to deliver on their potential left an air of disappointment hanging over West Cast Fever’s eighth place finish in 2012. However, that pair also returned some unflattering statistics in the turnover stakes, Cox registering 53 for the season and Brazill 49.
At the other end of the court, England import Beckford-Chambers, Gilmore, Chanel Gomes and Josie Janz impressed with their defensive abilities. That end of the court continued to improve with consistently strong outings.
The inability to close out games and inconsistency have dogged Fever since the inception of the competition and it has taken Plummer a season to bed in her new charges.
Positional switches for Cox and Brazill took time to gel while instilling self-belief has also proved a work in process. However, with Bassett, Cox and first-timer Brazill getting the call-up to the Australian Diamonds, there is plenty to be optimistic about for Fever.