Netball's Fever hate 'Pies, not Medhurst

Collingwood Magpies veteran Nat Medhurst (c) comes up against her former team West Coast Fever.
Collingwood Magpies veteran Nat Medhurst (c) comes up against her former team West Coast Fever.

West Coast Fever hate Collingwood with a passion, but say it's got nothing to do with the presence of Nat Medhurst.

Diamonds great Medhurst was left stunned at the end of last season when she was axed by the Fever following the grand final loss.

The 35-year-old later accused the Super Netball club of lying about the circumstances surrounding her messy exit.

Medhurst briefly considered retirement before joining the Collingwood Magpies on a two-year deal.

Collingwood and West Coast already have a fiery history.

Magpies co-captain Madi Robinson apologised to Fever players last year after her team was accused of poor sportsmanship following an 11-goal loss.

With Medhurst now in Collingwood colours, the rivalry has the potential to go up a notch.

Medhurst made peace with Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich during the off-season.

But there is still expected to be plenty of intrigue when Medhurst fronts up against her former club in Saturday's clash in Bendigo.

Marinkovich and captain Courtney Bruce did their best to downplay the match up when asked about it on Thursday.

"We've had heaps of pre-season games against Collingwood now, so I guess it's nothing different," Bruce said.

"To be honest, no one likes playing Collingwood. I think it's the same as football. We hate them.

"Whether Nat's there or not - it's Collingwood and we want to beat them."

The Fever are winless after four rounds and sit on bottom of the ladder.

But last week's draw against Melbourne Vixens was a huge step in the right direction, and the return of Bruce from an elbow injury gives the team vital strength in defence.

Bruce, who missed three games with the injury, said it was tough watching her teammates go through the winless run.

"It's definitely been tough watching. But I'm proud of how the girls have handled the last couple of weeks and how they've made a lot of improvements," she said.

Collingwood (20 points) are fourth on the ladder, 14 points ahead of the Fever.

Australian Associated Press