Trans-Tasman rivalry to heat up Semi Finals

2015 ANZ Championship Australian Conference Final Queensland Firebirds v NSW Swifts The true Trans-Tasman flavor of the ANZ Championship begins on Sunday with the cross-over semi finals in Brisbane and over in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Both are must-win games for the Queensland Firebirds and NSW Swifts to take them through to the Grand Final the following weekend.

The Firebirds have the more pleasing scenario of playing the knock-out semi-final on their home court at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and have the added confidence of already beating their opponents, the Northern Mystics, on the road in Auckland earlier this season.

The Swifts have a much tougher road to their second Grand Final appearance, travelling to New Zealand to take on a brimming with confidence Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic side that has earned its place in the last four through some great teamwork and disciplined effort.

Having captain Casey Kopua back from injury has given the Magic an experienced mindset and finals nous just when it has been most needed.

2015 ANZ ChampionshipElimination FinalNSW Swifts v West Coast FeverBut the Swifts can also take confidence in the fact they have already beaten the Magic on their home court this year and have shown enormous improvement since they played them back in Round 2.

It will be a great contest with many fascinating match ups across the court; Sharni Layton versus Jo Harten and Caitlin Thwaites versus Leana de Bruin to name a couple. I’d also like to wish Julie Corletto good luck for a memorable 100th match.

Of course I would love to see the two Australian teams facing off in the Grand Final in Brisbane but nothing is certain at this stage and both teams will need to be at their best to secure victory.

West Coast Fever have taken great strides in the ANZ Championship this year securing their first finals series. But I know that this will not satisfy the club.

The real test of Fever’s improvement will come in 2016 where they not only need to make the Australian Conference Finals again but win them.

It was on balance an excellent season for the Fever and I’m certain that under Stacey Rosman’s stewardship there will be a firm view on continuing the rise up the ladder.

On a very exciting note it is less than a fortnight until the announcement of the Australian Diamonds team for the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015. So stay tuned!

Go Diamonds!