The Queensland Firebirds and NSW Swifts will both be looking to write their names in the history books when they face-off in the ANZ Championship Grand Final this Sunday.
For the fifth time in the history of the league, the Grand Final will be an all-Australian affair, with the Firebirds and Swifts to fight for the ultimate prize for the second consecutive year. 10 capped Australian Diamonds will suit up with the Firebirds and Swifts.
The Firebirds be will hoping to become the only team in the history of the ANZ Championship to go back-to-back and win a third title; their record of two titles is currently tied with the Adelaide Thunderbirds and NSW Swifts.
Firebirds midcourter Caitlyn Nevins could become the only player in the history of the competition to win three consecutive premiership medals (2014 Vixens, 2015 Firebirds), and Sharni Layton will be hoping to win her third premiership medal for her third club (2009 Vixens, 2013 Thunderbirds).
Swifts Captain Kimberlee Green and shooter Susan Pettitt are the only two remaining members of the 2008 Swifts title-winning side. For the Firebirds, captain Laura Geitz, shooter Romelda Aiken and Clare McMeniman remain from the 2011 ANZ Championship winning team.
The Firebirds have the upper hand in the head-to-head stat, having won 14 of their 21 encounters including three of their four match-ups this season. The Swifts have also never won in Brisbane, including the Australian Conference Final only two weeks ago and have never defeated the Firebirds in a final.
Last time these two teams met on the grand stage last season, only one goal separated them at the end of sixty minutes. The Swifts started the game strong, with the Firebirds playing catch-up for the entire match until they hit the front in the last 16 seconds of the match, a Gretel Tippett goal and Laura Geitz intercept the sealer.
Aiken is set to become the only ANZ Championship player in history to score 5000 career goals, only five goals off the milestone. However she will meet the tenacious Sharni Layton in the goal circle, who stands up in big moments and key games. This will be one tough battle we can look forward to.
At the other end of the court, a similar battle will ensue between Diamonds teammates Laura Geitz and Caitlin Thwaites. There’s no love lost when these two meet in the circle.
The Firebirds will host the Swifts in the 2016 ANZ Championship Grand Final at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Sunday July 31. The game will be broadcast live on Channel 10 (ONE in WA), Fox Sports Australia 3 and the Netball Live App.