Whilst Round 13 of the ANZ Championship produced many talking points, we still emerged with no more assurance of ladder positions or matchups for the finals.
Four Australian teams remain in contention for Conference Finals – NSW Swifts, Queensland Firebirds, Melbourne Vixens and West Coast Fever – with key games in the final round this weekend proving critical to final positioning.
Current Australian Conference leaders NSW Swifts fought back from a scare against the Northern Mystics to keep their hopes of hosting a Conference Final at home alive.
The Swifts recovered from a 41-all score-line at three quarter time to win by six goals at the end of play, thanks largely to the injection of Australian Diamond Caitlin Thwaites in the final quarter.
Offering a solid target under the post, Thwaites shot at 100 per cent accuracy to contribute a vital 13 goals in the final quarter – single-handedly more than the total of 12 scored by the New Zealand outfit to close the match.
Defending champions, the Queensland Firebirds, returned after a bye to comfortably win their away game against the WBOP Magic.
The Firebirds dominated every quarter, outscoring Magic by seven goals in the opening term and going on to win by a considerable 24 goals. The win improves their percentage, but still sees them in second place, on equal points, to the Swifts.
Below, the battle for the third and final position in the finals is still alive and well.
Fever put on a similarly dominate performance to the Firebirds, easily disposing of the Central Pulse by 23 goals.
The victory moved Fever into third place, equal on points with the Melbourne Vixens who put in a spirited attempt against the undefeated Southern Steel.
The loss for the Vixens was amplified by the injury of shooter Karyn Bailey who will miss the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus.
Despite a tough season, the Adelaide Thunderbirds finished on a high for their final home game of the season.
Honouring the retirement of Emily Beaton and Carla Borrego, the Thunderbirds held strong for a narrow three-point victory over the Mainland Tactix.
All eyes will be on this weekend’s match ups between the Firebirds and Fever, and Swifts and Steel, to determine the teams who will battle it out for the final ANZ Championship title.
Image: DC Images