Flyers refocusing on finals campaign
THE Ipswich Flyers have plenty to think about in Thursday night's game despite having already qualified for the SEQ Challenge netball semi-finals in a fortnight.
The Flyers Open Women's Division 1 team play Downey Park at the State Netball Centre having lost to competition leaders Western Districts in their previous match.
While the 71-54 defeat had no bearing on where the second-placed Flyers finished, it reminded the Ipswich side the challenge Ipswich faces when the teams meet again in their major semi-final on September 15.
"They are a very good team. They've got a lot of speed,'' Flyers wing attack Tara Bramwell said.
"We've just got to come back and fight hard the next two weeks.''
The Flyers lost both games to the accomplished Western Districts side this season.
However, Bramwell knows her team has enough experience and quality to push Districts in the finals.
"They are physical but they are so quick,'' she said.
"It's trying to stop that quick feed and drive down the court into the shooters.''
Thursday night's final round game gives the settled Flyers combination a chance to fine-tune without any added pressure.
"It's just getting some momentum back so we are prepared for the semi-finals,'' she said.
"Getting out there and playing a full four quarters to the best out of our ability.''
The Flyers have won eight of their 11 games this season, with Western Districts the only team troubling them.
The Flyers women are preparing for another finals series as Ipswich's under-16 team wind up their return to the SEQ Challenge Division 2 competition.
The Flyers 16s face Pine Rivers in their final game on Friday night buoyed by their third win of the season last Friday night. That was over Redlands 52-42 at the State Netball Centre.
As co-coach of the promising teenage team, Bramwell was heartened to see the girls rewarded for their efforts beating Redlands after a previous 51-41 loss to Underwood.
"The girls dug really deep,'' Bramwell said. "It was a team effort too, having it all the way down the court working.''
What shape the team takes next season remains to be seen as some players may be too old.
However, Bramwell was pleased the under-16 girls were competitive showing Ipswich deserves to have a junior side in the SEQ Challenge.
"They are a good bunch of girls,'' she said. "It was nice to see that they didn't drop their heads.
"Each week they stuck to it and trained hard and came out with a few wins.''
SEQ Challenge Open Women's Division 1: Western Districts def Ipswich Flyers 71-54.
Next match: Thursday (8pm) v Downey Park at State Netball Centre.
SEQ Challenge U16 Division 2: Ipswich Flyers def Redlands 52-42.
Next match: Friday (8pm) v Pine Rivers at State Netball Centre.