Weekend for ANZ Championship milestones

It’s a weekend of milestones as the ANZ Championship heads into the final month of the regular season.

West Coast Fever midcourter Shae Brown and Adelaide Thunderbirds stalwart Emily Beaton are both scheduled to play their 100th games in Round 11.

Brown, above, will reach the milestone when Fever takes on NSW Swifts in a crucial game for both sides at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre.

Beaton, left, will become the 25th player to reach a century of games when the Thunderbirds look to break their nine-game losing streak against Central Pulse in New Zealand on Sunday night.

She’ll also be the first to play 100 matches for the Thunderbirds.

Meanwhile, Roselee Jencke will join Jane Woodlands-Thompson, Robyn Broughton and Noeline Taurua as 100-game coaches when the Queensland Firebirds take on Southern Steel to open the round in Dunedin on Saturday afternoon.

Jencke, right, is the most successful coach in the history of the ANZ Championship and her players will want to ensure it’s a memorable milestone for the two-time premiership mentor.

Pictures courtesy of David Callow and DC Images

The Firebirds head across the Tasman for the first time in 2016 and face the New Zealand Conference ladder leader.

Steel remains the only unbeaten side in the competition and are coming off a record-breaking 30-goal win over Mainland Tactix last round.

But the Firebirds have won their last nine visits to New Zealand, having not been beaten there since 2012.

It’s only the second time these two sides have faced off in Dunedin with Steel winning the only other clash, which was their first ever encounter in Round 14, 2008. That remains the only time Steel has beaten the Firebirds.

Fever will have to defy history if they’re to defeat the Swifts and hold onto third spot on the Australian Conference ladder.

Swifts have won five of their past six contests – the other was a draw – and have also taken the points the two previous times they’ve hosted Fever in Newcastle.

Swifts veteran Susan Pettitt is also closing in on a milestone of her own, needing 34 goals to become the sixth player to reach 3000 career ANZ Championship goals.

If Fever slip up then the Melbourne Vixens will be keen to replace them inside the top three when they host Northern Mystics on Sunday.

Vixens will be keen to bounce back from their disappointing 12-goal loss to the Firebirds last round as they know every win is crucial – especially on their home court against a side that hasn’t tasted victory in their past 11 visits to Australia.

The Thunderbirds suffered a three-goal loss on their only other trip to New Zealand this season – against the Mystics in Round five. Injuries have crippled Adelaide this season with star shooter Carla Borrego again ruled out this week.

Thunderbirds have lost only once in eight meetings to Pulse and interim coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell would love to continue that record – and also break their 2016 drought.

You can watch all of this weekend’s ANZ Championship action LIVE on Fox Sports Australia. The Vixens-Mystics game will be LIVE on Channel 10 (ONE HD in WA) and via Netball Live app.