The Queensland Firebirds and NSW Swifts both find themselves in do-or-die matches this weekend, when they play for a spot in the ANZ Championship Grand Final in the Semi-Finals.
The Firebirds were named Australian Conference Champions after securing an 11-goal win over the NSW Swifts in a dominant second-half display in last weekend’s Australian Conference Final.
The victory also earned them the right to host an ANZ Championship Semi-Final against the Northern Mystics at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Diamonds Captain Laura Geitz impressed with her athleticism and superb skills in defence, and will need to provide a dominant performance over Mystics and Silver Ferns shooters Cathrine Latu and Maria Tutaia this weekend.
At the other end of the court, Diamonds Camp invitee Gretel Tippett brought out all of her party tricks including her unique use of basketball move ‘the lay-up’ to help secure the victory for the Firebirds.
Her combination with tall-shooter Romelda Aiken has proven to be unstoppable for many defenders this season.
Having finished runners up in the Grand Final in 2013 and 2014, the Firebirds will be looking to add another ANZ Championship trophy to the trophy cabinet, beside their 2011 title.
The Swifts have travelled to Hamilton in New Zealand to face the New Zealand Conference Champions, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, in the second ANZ Championship Semi-Final.
Despite a victory over the West Coast Fever secured their spot in last weekend’s Australian Conference Final, they were unable to secure back-to-back wins when they faced the Firebirds.
A positive to come from the injury-stricken midcourt was the evidence of the Swifts’ depth. Swifts captain and Diamonds vice-captain Kimberlee Green struggled with a calf injury, although young rookie Stephanie Wood adequately filled the void.
Sharni Layton continues to be a shining light in the Swifts’ defence, and she will have a big job this weekend when she matches up against English international Jo Harten.
The Firebirds host the Mystics in the ANZ Championship Semi-Final at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on Sunday, June 14 from 12.18pm, local time. Watch all the action live on FOX SPORTS 1.
The Swifts face the Magic in the second ANZ Championship Semi-Final at Hamilton’s Claudelands Arena on Sunday, June 14 at 7.10pm, local time. Catch all the action live on FOX SPORTS 3.