Fusion, who have been finalists the last two years, sit in fifth spot on the ladder ahead of what’s shaping as a season-defining weekend when they host reigning champions Victorian Fury in Week 6 ANL action.
The two sides above Fusion on the table, Western Sting (third) and Southern Force (fourth) clash in Adelaide this weekend.
With Sting, Force and Fusion all having four matches left to play in the regular season, Scherian said her team knows how vital it is to claim points against the ladder leaders in this weekend’s double header on the Gold Coast.
“A few years ago we were in a similar position where we had to rely on results of other games (to qualify for finals), which is not where you want to be,” Scherian said.
“Our plan is to win all of our remaining games.
“We’ve been doing lots of video analysis – which I’m sure they’ve been doing as well – and making sure that we’re prepared for anything that happens. Like if they do have any ANZ Championship players (line-up on Sunday).”
So far this season Fusion have split their contests against Sting and Force and bounced back from a loss to NNSW Waratahs in their opening game to draw with them the following day.
After making the Grand Final – and losing to Fury – in 2014, Fusion reached the finals last year with a young side.
They’ve bolstered their experience this year with the return of Jacqui Russell and Rachel Forbes while Scherian has been impressed by young defender Tara Hinchcliffe and emerging shooting pair Cara Koenen and Abigail Meafou.
Images courtesy of Burton Photography and David Callow
“We’ve been continuing to improve after our first game (against Waratahs),” Scherian said. “The step up from state league was a bit of a shock to some girls.”
Saturday’s match will be played as a curtain raiser to the ANZ Championship clash at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre between the Queensland Firebirds and Melbourne Vixens.
Fusion has already taken a round of home matches to the Sunshine Coast this season and Scherian said they get great support from Queensland netball fans.
“It will be such a good experience for the girls to play (a curtain raiser) on Saturday and we’ll get a bit of a crowd there, especially near the end which will create a great atmosphere,” she said.
Sting travels to Adelaide for two crucial games against Force with both teams eager to consolidate their spots inside the top four and keep Fusion at bay.
It’s the first home court appearances of the season for the Force, who will be determined to bounce back from their winless weekend in Melbourne last round.
Sting jumped into third spot after beating the Canberra Darters twice in the nation’s capital.
Sunday’s game will follow the ANZ Championship clash between the Adelaide Thunderbirds and West Coast Fever.
The South Australians hold a slender 5-4 advantage in overall head-to-head meetings and are still eyeing its 50th victory overall in the ANL.
An interesting sub-plot this round will be Australian 21/U coach Tania Obst (Force) coaching against her national team assistant Michelle Wilkins (Sting).
The Waratahs and Darters have the bye this weekend.
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