Four teams vying for the 2015 ANL title

ANL_SEMIFinals2015_instagramVictorian Fury and QLD Fusion will kick off this weekend’s Australian Netball League Finals action at Melbourne’s Waverley Netball Centre.

The Saturday night semi-final is a replay of last season’s thrilling Grand Final, where Fury held off a fast-finishing Fusion to claim the ANL title for the fifth time, and the second meeting in as many weeks after they met in the final round in Adelaide last Saturday night.

Fury head into the match on the back of a 30-game unbeaten streak that stretches back to 2013 after beating Fusion 49-40 and Southern Force last round to secure top spot on the ladder.

Fury is the most experienced finals team in ANL history, having contested 12 previous finals and won the title five times.

_MCA5434LiFusion, who reached last year’s Grand Final for the first time, have only beaten Fury once in 11 previous meetings. That one-goal victory came back in the opening round of the 2011 season at the AIS Arena in Canberra.

Fury is aiming to qualify for its third consecutive Grand Final and seventh overall and has beaten Fusion in their three previous finals meetings.

Force is back in the finals for the first time in two years and takes on Western Sting in the second semi-final. It’s Sting’s fourth finals appearance in the last five seasons._MCA3179Li

Force is the only other side apart from Fury and the Netball NSW Waratahs to win the ANL title, while Sting has never qualified for a Grand Final and will be keen to improve on its third placing from last year.

These two sides met a fortnight ago in Hobart with Force coming out on top by seven goals in a tight contest after Sting led for the majority of the first half.

Force and Sting were the two highest-scoring teams this season with West Coast Fever youngster Kaylia Stanton (Sting) heading into the weekend as the competition’s leading goal scorer, with 259 goals at an average of 37 per match.

The two semi-final winners will face off in Sunday’s Grand Final at noon with the play-off for third and fourth at 10am.

Keep up-to-date with the scores from the weekend’s finals via Netball Australia’s Twitter @NetballAust or click here to get the full results.

 

VICTORIAN FURY v QLD FUSION
Saturday, July 25, 5pm
Waverley Netball Centre

Head-to-head:

FuryFusion
Games Played1111
Win / Loss10 / 11 / 11
Highest Score6956
Lowest Score4640
Greatest Winning Margin211

 

Umpires: Tara Warner, Bronwen Adams, Marc Henning (reserve)

Previous Finals meetings:
Semi-Final, 2008: Fury 46 def Fusion 41, Anne Clark Centre, Sydney
Semi Final, 2010: Fury 52 def Fusion 46, Waverley Netball Centre
Grand Final, 2014: Fury 51 def Fusion 49, Waverley Netball Centre

LAST WORD FROM THE COACHES
_MCA6583LKristy Keppich-Birrel, Fury:
“It has been a rewarding and exciting ANL season for our group in 2015. The development of this team on and off the court has seen some brilliant personal, unit and team performances. We are all really looking forward to the pointy end of the season. It will be the true test of how this talented mix of athletes responds to the pressure of the elite game environment. The Victorian pride and relentless attitude they have will stand them in good stead to strive for the outcome we are all after.”

BurtonPhotography-12415012257Jenny Brazel, Fusion: “This team is such an exciting mix of talented, young future stars of our game who have played through plenty of adversity this season. This finals series for us is about going one better than last year after building on the Fusion’s first Grand Final appearance in 2014. They are ready to fire this weekend and we believe we have the team which will win Queensland its first ANL Championship.”

 

SOUTHERN FORCE v WESTERN STING
Saturday, July 25, 7pm
Waverley Netball Centre

Head-to-head:

ForceSting
Games Played88
Win / Loss4 / 44 / 4
Highest Score6277
Lowest Score4342
Greatest Winning Margin827

 

Umpires: Marc Henning, Emma Davey, Bronwen Adams (reserve)

Previous Finals meeting:
None

LAST WORD FROM THE COACHES
_MCA3457LiTania Obst, Force:
We’ve had a really consistent competition and all squad members have put their hands up for selection and court time, which has been incredibly pleasing. We’re in good form, our understanding of each other is strong and we believe in what we are doing. We know what we are capable of as a team and we are ready and excited for the challenges ahead in finals.”

_MCA3104LiMichelle Wilkins, Sting: “Western Sting has been building from week to week across the ANL competition this season. The team’s ability to transfer training focuses and execute our game plan in competition, with an exciting brand of netball, has been very pleasing. We have a great blend of experience and youth in the playing group who are committed to the Sting culture of unity and excellence.”