Lisa’s blog: Shining on the Grand stage

SATURDAY 15 AUGUST - Australia (AUS) v Jamaica (JAM) in a medal game on Day 9 of the Netball World Cup 2015 SYDNEY. Photo: Murray Wilkinson (NWC2015 Media)

History will be made this Sunday with the Queensland Firebirds and NSW Swifts meeting in the last ever ANZ Championship Grand Final.

The All-Australian affair is a replay of last year’s thrilling Grand Final and I am delighted to see our national talent on show.

I’ll be keeping a close eye on our athletes, as the National Selectors Annie Sargeant and Michelle Wilkins and I will name the new Australian Diamonds squad and team to contest the Netball Quad Series and Constellation Cup next week. Performances in big games like this weekend’s Grand Final are taken into consideration when we make our selections.

There’s nothing like the grand stage of a grand final to see what players are really made of!

Over 10,000 cheering fans will pack into the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, with many Swifts fans set to make the trip up north. Players will harness their energy and leave everything out on court.

The Swifts were the first team to win an ANZ Championship in the inaugural 2008 season, can they bookend the competition?

The Firebirds are out to break records and become the only team to win back-to-back premierships, as well as the only team to win three titles. Will they have what it takes?

This is the stuff dreams are made of.

It doesn’t matter how the Firebirds and Swifts got to this point, it will come down to who wants it more on the day.

My prediction? It will be a very close contest, with the game going into double extra-time, the Firebirds finishing slightly ahead due to their home ground advantage. The game changer will be the winner of the contest between Maddy Turner and Gretel Tippett.

Although we see the ANZ Championship drawing to a close, this marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Australian netball, full of opportunities for our talent to blossom.

Don’t forget that tickets go on sale next week for the Constellation Cup. We’ll be returning to the scene of our Netball World Cup win for the first time since that fateful day where we claimed gold over the Silver Ferns with a three-goal victory.

Our final game on Australian soil this year will be in Launceston, where we face the Silver Ferns for the first time in 30 years in Tasmania.

To access pre-sale tickets for the Constellation Cup, sign up to Diamonds reserve prior to 9am AEST on Tuesday 2 August.

Finally, an extremely personal and special tribute.

Vale Jeanette Marilyn Clark (nee Berry),

My mum, and also a netball mum, Jeanette passed away peacefully after a short illness on Monday 18th July.

Mum drove me to and from netball before I turned 18, and I learnt to drive whilst travelling to training and matches with Mum.

Mum crossed her fingers at every trial and try out for netball State Teams! She believed it would help me get in the team.

I miss her and know that I have her with me always!

Rest in Peace.

#GoDiamonds

@CoachLisaA