Flyers' experience, closeknit bond key to making grand final

Ipswich Flyers netballer Melissa Beutel
Ipswich Flyers netballer Melissa Beutel Kate Czerny

AS one of the senior players in the Ipswich Flyers side, Melissa Beutel is happy to soon make way for the younger brigade.

However, she hopes to play in back-to-back SEQ Challenge grand finals before watching the next generation step up.

Beutel returned to the Flyers last season after time off as a mum.

The former representative netballer played in Ipswich's losing grand final to minor premiers Downey Park.

The Flyers face a similar situation in this season's Open Women's Division 1 competition after losing to 2016 top side Western Districts in their semi-final last week.

The Flyers have to beat third placed Logan City in Friday night's preliminary final to reach another season decider.

"I've loved it,'' goalkeeper Beutel said of playing for Ipswich this season.

"It's been tougher this year but your life changes.''

That's why some of the older members of the closeknit team remain committed while the next group of Ipswich players develop.

"We've had a pretty good season,'' Beutel said.

"As a team, it's always good. We are a good bunch of girls.''

However, Beutel knows making the grand final is far from guaranteed after Ipswich and Logan City won a game each in the preliminary rounds.

Logan City won 57-49 in June before the Flyers shot better to win 49-45 in the return game last month.

Western Districts advanced directly to the grand final after their 63-36 win over Ipswich.

"We always knew Western were going to be tough,'' she said.

"This week is not going to be much easier but we know we can do it.''

Should Ipswich meet Western in the grand final, Beutel said the advantage was the Flyers were learning more about how they play each time they face them.

Beutel said the Flyers' latest training session was fun and light preparing for the preliminary final, which is on Friday night rather than the usual Thursday night schedule at the State Netball Centre.

Game day

SEQ Challenge Open Women's Division 1 preliminary final: Friday (8pm) - Ipswich Flyers v Logan City at State Netball Centre.

Semi-finals: Western Districts def Ipswich 63-36, Logan City def Southport Carrara 43-41.

Topics:  ipswich flyers, ipswich netball, ipswich netball association, seq challenge

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