Heat on Fusion in final round of ANL season

BurtonPhotography-12415012257The task is pretty simple for QLD Fusion in this weekend’s final round of the 2015 Australian Netball League season.

The fifth-placed Fusion are equal on points with Netball NSW Waratahs (fourth), who have the bye this round, and need to win only one of their two matches at Adelaide’s Netball SA Stadium to secure a spot in the finals for the second straight year.

Fusion takes on Victorian Fury (a replay of last year’s Grand Final) on Saturday afternoon, and Canberra Darters Sunday morning.

A win in either match will see them overtake the Waratahs and secure fourth spot on the ladder but Fusion coach Jenny Brazel knows both opponents are formidable sides in their own right.

Pictures courtesy of Peter Burton Photography

“The girls know that, in some ways, this is probably going to be our toughest weekend to date,” Brazel said.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for Fury. They have been the yardstick of this competition for a long time and always have great depth of talent.

“Darters have been unlucky not to have a few more wins under their belt so they will come in with less pressure in some ways. They’ve been working to cause that upset and they’ve been close a couple of times. They’re another team that have been improving at all levels of their netball.

“So our girls look at it as a challenge. They’ve kept their heads and really banded together well so far. Our aim is to get to the finals again.”

BurtonPhotography-18473710215Fusion has been dealt a blow with an ankle injury sidelining promising young shooter Beryl Friday for the rest of its campaign.

But Brazel said her absence presented opportunities to the likes of Cara Koenen, pictured left, Jemmason Power and Abigail Latu-Meafou to step up and present a dangerous target in their goal circle.

The final game of the regular season between Force and Fury will determine which team claims the minor premiership.

Fury have won eight of the nine previous clashes between the two teams, including the 2013 semi-final, with Force’s only victory coming in their title-winning year of 2012.

Force coach Tania Obst said they’re expecting their clashes with the Fury and also the Darters would be ideal hit-outs for her players ahead of the semi finals.

“It’s another good opportunity for our players put into place that strategies which we feel will give ourselves the best chance of winning,” Obst said. “But we also know that if we don’t bring our best we’ll be in for a struggle.

“We’re looking forward to having another two really good games this weekend and excited about being back in the finals.”

Week Five Fixtures

_MCA3607LiQLD Fusion v Victorian Fury
Saturday 18 July, 4.00pm (CST)
Netball SA Stadium, Adelaide

Southern Force v Canberra Darters
Saturday 18 July, 6.00pm (CST)
Netball SA Stadium, Adelaide

QLD Fusion v Canberra Darters
Sunday 19 July, 9.30am (CST)
Netball SA Stadium, Adelaide

Southern Force v Victorian Fury
Sunday 19 July, 11.30am (CST)
Netball SA Stadium, Adelaide

Byes: Netball NSW Waratahs, Tassie Spirit, Territory Storm, Western Sting.