Sarah Jackson
Sarah Jackson Sarah Harvey

Determined Jackson on mission to make swansong a winner

SARAH Jackson is convinced the Ipswich Flyers will win a third straight Mount Franklin Challenge title.

She can't be accused of mere wishful thinking because Jackson has vowed to retire at the end of the season and would like nothing more than to go out a winner.

It is the 31-year-old's third season with the Flyers, so she has good reason to believe taking out the title is the only likely scenario.

To get there, however, the Flyers have to beat a team they haven't yet this season in minor premiers Macgregor.

Win that, tomorrow night at the State Netball Centre and they're into the grand final the following week against Warwick, which upset Macgregor with a three-point win in their semi-final last week.

In the other semi, Ipswich got home 52-42 against Northern Gold Coast.

"We won comfortably on the board, but we really had to fight for it," Jackson said.

Fight is something Jackson is willing to do to ensure her dream ending, vowing to leave blood on the court if necessary.

"We just want it more," she said of what got the Flyers home against NGC.

"It will be our third in a row and I really, really want that because it will be my last year."

With three children all playing representative netball, Jackson realised it was time to give away her netball dreams to support her kids' ambitions. On one level it is a pity because Jackson is enjoying her netball as much as ever.

"It's getting better every year," Jackson said, referring to the enjoyment factor as much as the quality of netball. "It's a really good bunch of girls to play with."

It is that bond Jackson believes can get her team to the grand final.

She admitted it was a surprise to have to face minor premiers Macgregor this week.

"We probably thought we'd come up against Warwick, but we can beat either of them," she said.

"I know we've got a good enough team to do it. So long as we don't let nerves get in the way.

"If we play our game we'll win."

For the past two weeks Jackson has played predominantly wing attack, having played centre most of the season.

However, it is the Flyers' versatility and approach that makes other teams wary of them.

"At training this week we did a lot of half-court work and tried every possible combination," she said. "It was a really good hit-out and Trish (coach Tricia McInally) has done a really good job to boost us up."

Not that Jackson needs any boosting.

- Jay Buchan

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