Game One Game Two
Western Sting 56 v Tasmanian Magpies 53 Western Sting 58 v Tasmanian Magpies 55
Territory Storm 44 v NNSW Waratahs 50 Territory Storm 45 v NNSW Waratahs 62
Victorian Fury 55 v Southern Force 54 Victorian Fury 55 v Southern Force 49
Canberra GIANTS 54 v QLD Fusion 43 Canberra GIANTS 54 v QLD Fusion 47
After a thrilling final round of the home and away season, Victorian Fury, Canberra GIANTS, Western Sting and Queensland Fusion have all booked a spot in the ANL finals this weekend at the Perth State Netball Centre.
It was an exciting round of netball which saw Western Sting jump from fifth position to third in a bid for a home final, pushing Queensland Fusion to fourth position and Southern Force out of contention.
Western Sting hosted the Tasmanian Magpies, with both teams still a chance to make finals at the beginning of the weekend. Going neck-and-neck throughout the four quarters, it was the home side who came away with a three-point win, edging them closer to a finals spot.
Looking to impress their largest home crowd of the season, which included more than 40 former Western Australian State representatives, an inspired Sting managed to take away a second win in as many days to lock in a home finals’ campaign.
“I think that win today meant a lot to our group,” Sting coach Michelle Wilkins told Netball WA.
“To secure our place in finals in front of a big home crowd, particularly that group of past players, was a special moment for us.”
Queensland Fusion managed to hold onto a top four spot, despite falling short to second placed Canberra GIANTS in both games over the weekend; a match up we could possibly see fighting out for the championship come Sunday.
“For us, Saturday’s game was really good exposure to the level that we need to play at for the finals,” Fusion coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser said. “Being quite a young team, we were initially taken back by the intensity of the game.”
With defender Tara Hinchliffe stepping up to play with the Queensland Firebirds, Tracey admitted the Fusion had to explore different options.
“Yesterday, we decided to look at our combinations. I’m really proud of the girls because Tara’s quite pivotal to our team, and the girls really stepped up.”
The Fusion are excited to face Victorian Fury in the first semi-final, with the results of their two home and away games an indication that they are well-placed to knock off the reigning champions.
“We drew with Fury in the first game then lost the second game by six,” Tracey said.
“We’re going to go back and have a look at things that we can improve on and work towards getting that grand final environment. I think we have the depth across the court to certainly mix it up because obviously, they’re a very talented team.”
Finishing top of the table in the home and away season, it wasn’t a cakewalk last round for reigning champions, Victorian Fury. Going into the weekend, their opponents Southern Force were eyeing off a finals berth hoping to cling onto fourth position which would see them head to Perth.
A glimmer of hope in the first game, was not enough for Southern Force who sadly fell short to the Fury by one goal.
Finals contention was still a possibility for the Force in game two, however the Fury were too good on the day, defeating the Force by six, pushing them to fifth position and out of the competition.
It was a highly-contested battle as Territory Storm, who are aligned with the Sunshine Coast Lightning, hosted the Netball NSW Waratahs at the University of Sunshine Coast. The Waratahs came out with two wins, however the Storm’s persistence saw their highest scores of the season recorded in both games.
Saturday 8 April
Semi Final 1: Vic Fury v QLD Fusion 4:00pm
Semi Final 2: Canberra GIANTS v Western Sting 6:00pm
Sunday 9 April
Prelim Final: LSF1 (1v4) v LSF2 (2v3) 9:30am Playoff for 3rd & 4th
Grand Final: WSF1 (1v4) v WSF2 (2v3) 11:30am Playoff for 1st & 2nd