Vic Fury 55 def QLD Fusion 53 (in overtime)
Canberra GIANTS 66 def by Western Sting 72 (in overtime)
Victorian Fury and Western Sting have defeated Queensland Fusion and Canberra GIANTS respectively in the Australian Netball League’s semi-finals tonight, progressing through to tomorrow’s grand final.
Victorian Fury will be looking to make it their fifth consecutive championship, Western Sting, their first.
It was down to the line in game one, with Fury and Fusion going into overtime after finishing 42-all at the final siren.
After a shaky first quarter from the Fury, the reigning premiers were able to redeem themselves after quarter time, in what was a hard-fought battle with the margin tight for the final three quarters.
Fury coach, Leesa Gallard was relieved with the win.
“We’re really pleased to have won that game, we knew it was going to be really tight. The games we played in the rounds against Fusion were really physical, close encounters.”
“I’m just really pleased that the girls hung tight in a few patches where we got to five down, and then brought it home when they really needed to.”
An intercept from midcourter Elle Bennetts is what secured the draw to take the game into extra time.
“Often a Wing Defence’s game is marked on ‘the one you get when you really need to get it’, and she did today so we’re really pleased,” Gallard.
“Tomorrow’s a new day. We’ll come back and we’ll be ready to fight it out all the way to the end again.”
Game two saw Western Sting play host to the Canberra GIANTS in a 3v4 battle with the home side taking out the win after another drawn game calling for overtime.
The GIANTS were dominant in the first half, leading by 11 goals in the second quarter. However, inspired by a full home crowd, the Sting came out firing in the second half, levelling the score with the GIANTS midway through the third quarter.
Pivotal in the Sting’s comeback was 16-year-old defender Sunday Aryang who, combined with Olivia Lewis in the defensive circle, impressed Western Sting coach Michelle Wilkins.
“I think it was just her injection of energy and excitement, and that made the rest of the group realise that it was just a game of netball and we just need to be a part of it,” Wilkins said.
“She certainly livened up the circle and credit to Liv (Lewis) as well, because she generated a lot of ball.”
Coming from fifth position at the end of round six, Western Sting now face reigning champions, Victorian Fury in tomorrow’s grand final.
“I think we’ll just go back to looking at how we play first and it will be more about focussing on us, rather than what Fury do or don’t do,” said Wilkins.
“I think we play our best netball when it is actually about us and that’s reflected in tonight’s game. In the second half, we were playing our way and not necessarily worrying about the opposition.”
Sunday, 9 April
Prelim Final: Queensland Fusion v Canberra GIANTS 9:30am
Grand Final: Victorian Fury v Western Sting 11:30am