Shae Brown will have extra motivation to get the all-important win when the West Coast Fever face a determined Melbourne Vixens on Sunday.
The Melbourne-born midcourter will have the added support of her family and friends, who are making the trip from country Victoria to cheer her on.
“I get really excited to be able to come back to Melbourne, so it’s like an extra home game for me,” Brown said.
“My brother-in-law (Nathan) is playing for (AFL side) Collingwood at the MCG straight after us in his 100th game, so there are a lot of people coming from Ballarat and where we are from to the netball and then to the football.”
Only 1.6 per cent separates Fever from the Mission Queensland Firebirds on top of the Australian Conference Ladder.
Coming off the bye, Brown said the Fever are ready to prove that they are still worthy of the invaluable top position and hosting the Australian Conference Final.
“We are really excited to take on the Vixens over in Melbourne. They are a really quality side,” Brown said.
“After our performance against the Firebirds a few weeks ago, we are just really excited to redeem ourselves and remind everyone that we’ve still got it.”
Interestingly, six of the eight ANZ Championship teams have not won the game the week after their bye, with the Firebirds and Kia Magic the only teams to buck the trend thus far.
Although this pattern does not worry Brown, who said the bye couldn’t have come at a better time for the Fever who came of a two-week stint in New Zealand and a top-of-the-table clash.
“We are just going through our processes and making sure that the bye won’t affect us come Sunday,” Brown said.
“We’re all well rested, I think the bye came very timely for us.”
One of the features of Brown’s game this season has been her versatility and ability to play a range of roles in the midcourt.
Brown said the interchangeable combination between herself and captain Ashleigh Brazill has strengthened her game and has been beneficial for her development.
“Having versatility in my roles has just added to that variety and it keeps me guessing,” Brown said.
“It’s also great that Braz and I can switch and the switch comes seamlessly. It has definitely added to my game.”
Brown has credited the development of the young Fever side to the success they have seen this season, and the role of new coach Stacey Rosman.
“I think we have been building towards this season for a number of years. We’ve had a very young team for a very long time, so I think this was only a matter of time,” Brown said.
“Also having Stacey Rosman our coach come to the helm, she has just really inspired and empowered us as a group and we’re working really hard. We’ve just got a no excuses approach.”
The Fever play the Vixens at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena on Sunday, May 17, at 12.18pm, local time. Catch all the action live on ONE, FOX Sports 2 and SKY Sport NZ.