West Coast Fever coach Dan Ryan says his players won't hide from the elephant in the room as they attempt to create history for the success-starved franchise.
The Fever have never tasted title success during their time in Super Netball, losing the grand final in 2018 (62-59 to Sunshine Coast) and 2020 (66-64 to Melbourne Vixens).
West Coast never even reached the grand final during the now-defunct trans-Tasman ANZ Championship, with their best performance across nine seasons being in 2015 when they finished third in the Australian conference.
The previous version of the team, known as the Perth Orioles, had an even gloomier existence with the club never making the finals in its 11 years of the Commonwealth Bank Trophy.
But on Sunday, the Fever have the chance to ease years of heartbreak and disappointment when they take on the Melbourne Vixens in the Super Netball grand final at RAC Arena.
Instead of burying the team's history, Ryan wants his players to embrace the special opportunity that lies ahead for them.
"We know no other West Australian netball team has ever won a national championship and it's certainly a driving, motivating factor for us," Ryan said.
"There's no such thing as an elephant in the room within our group this year.
"We openly talk about what we want to achieve and how we're going to do it.
"We talk about how it makes us feel and we're really comfortable with those vulnerable conversations, and the conversations that previously might be a little bit of a trepidation-type approach to it.
"We're a very open group, we're here to do a job, we know what that looks like and we've got to be brave on the weekend to make that happen."
The Vixens claimed the minor premiership after compiling a dominant 10-2 record.
But the Fever's win over the Vixens in the major semi-final, plus the fact they will be hosting the grand final in front of 13,000 fans, means West Coast will enter the decider as favourites.
The Vixens are happy to carry the underdog status, but Ryan still ranks them as the team to beat.
"I've always seen the Vixens as the benchmark team in this entire competition and my opinion doesn't shift too much going into this grand final," Ryan said.
"We know we'll have to play very well to beat them."
Australian Associated Press
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