ANL season set for fascinating finish

Western Sting defender Courtney BruceFour sides are vying for the last two spots in this year’s Australian Netball League Finals Series in what is shaping as a fascinating final round of the season this weekend.

It’s a double header to finish the season with eight matches in total being played in Darwin and the Waverley Netball Centre in Melbourne, highlighted by some all-important contests which will determine the make-up of next week’s semi-finalists.

The Netball NSW Waratahs (third, 10 points), Victorian Flames (fourth, 10 points), Western Sting (fifth, 10 points) and Southern Force (sixth, 8 points) are all in contention for a top four finish with percentage almost likely to determine who will be part of next weekend’s Semi Finals.

Saturday night features two crucial matches with the Sting and Force to meet at the Marrara Indoor Stadium in Darwin while about 3770km away, the Victorian Fury hosts the Waratahs in a replay of last year’s Grand Final.

_MCA7244LThe match-of-the round is between the top two sides Victorian Fury and QLD Fusion in Melbourne on Sunday morning.

The Fury has won seven of the eight previous encounters between the two sides with the Fusion’s sole victory being by one goal back in 2011.

The Flames and Waratahs will then meet in the final match of the regular season on Sunday afternoon with the NSW side looking to make it three straight wins over the competition newcomers, having won both contests in 2013 including a thrilling one-goal Semi-Final triumph.

Sunday’s ANL matches in Melbourne will also be played alongside the Marie Little OAM Shield, which is named in honour of the founder and former long-serving president of AUSRAPID.

The Marie Little OAM Shield provides an opportunity for netballers with an intellectual disability to compete at a national tournament and it will be the second year that the event has been contested between New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, who are the defending champions.

The states will play at least four matches over the day in a round robin tournament with the top two team meeting in the final at 1.40pm.

Week Seven ANL Fixtures:

Territory Storm v Tassie Spirit
Saturday 16 August, 4.30pm
Marrara Indoor Stadium, Darwin

Southern Force v Western Sting
Saturday 16 August, 6.30pm
Marrara Indoor Stadium, Darwin

Victorian Fury v Netball NSW Waratahs
Saturday 16 August, 7.00pm
Waverley Netball Centre, Melbourne

Victorian Flames v QLD Fusion
Saturday 16 August, 8.30pm
Waverley Netball Centre, Melbourne

Territory Storm v Southern Force
Sunday 17 August, 8.00am
Marrara Indoor Stadium, Darwin

Western Sting v Tassie Spirit
Sunday 17 August, 9.30am
Marrara Indoor Stadium, Darwin 

Victorian Fury v QLD Fusion
Sunday 17 August, 10.00am
Waverley Netball Centre, Melbourne

Victorian Flames v Netball NSW Waratahs
Saturday 16 August, 12.00pm
Waverley Netball Centre, Melbourne

Canberra Darters
NSW Blues