Goodna champions confident of staying on top
THE Goodna Sapphires have no fear heading into Thursday night's Queensland Premier League SEQ Cup grand final at the State Netball Centre.
Chasing back-to-back Cup titles, captain Robyn Walsh said her unbeaten team was confident preparing to face in-form Downey Park.
"Definitely no fears. We have all played in enough grand finals to know what to expect and we look forward to it,'' Walsh said.
"We are ready to go.
"We have put in the hard work during the season and now we just have the one game to finish.''
The defending champions qualified for another grand final after holding out the fourth-placed Ipswich Flyers 53-43 in last week's semi-final.
Third-placed Downey Park earnt a shot at Goodna after beating second-placed Caboolture 37-36 in their semi-final.
Walsh said a third quarter revival against the Flyers ensured her team progressed to another championship decider.
"We also knew it was going to be tough,'' Walsh said, reflecting on Goodna trailing at halftime.
"However we pulled away in the third quarter and were able to hold onto the lead.''
Walsh said a lesson from last year's grand final was the need to start better.
"We were down nearly the whole game and came back in the end,'' she said of the 55-47 victory over last year's runners-up Caboolture.
"It is not ideal to play chase netball so we do not wish to be in that position again.''
Although Goodna comfortably beat Downey Park 51-31 earlier in the season, Walsh respected them as a much improved team.
"They have done well in the later part of the season and in particularly beating Caboolture in the semi so we will not be taking them lightly,'' the Sapphires skipper said.
"Their shooting circle is new to when we played them.
"We did have a few girls away when we played them as well, so it's going to be interesting.
"We have no doubt that we will win. We have such a great belief in our team and the girls' ability.''
The Sapphires eye another title after winning all 12 matches this season. They scored 699 goals, conceding 409 at an impressive percentage of 170.
Among Goodna's biggest wins were 54-28 over MacGregor, 75-36 over Redcliffe and 62-22 against QCNA Opens 1.
Downey Park won 10 games, suffering two losses. They shot 552 goals, conceding 416 (132%).
Walsh said one of the reasons Sapphires were so consistent was they backed themselves and maintained a relaxed routine.
"We will not overthink it or change anything from what we have done all season,'' she said.
Walsh said winning a grand final would be another positive for regional netball, especially in the Goodna area.
"It allows young players to see that, no matter where you play or where you live, anything is possible,'' Walsh said.
"The QPL is a great start for young players wishing to further their netball careers.''
SEQ Cup grand final: Thursday (7.50pm) - Goodna Sapphires v Downey Park at the State Netball Centre.
Semi-final results: Goodna def Ipswich 53-43, Downey Park def Caboolture 37-36.
Goodna Sapphires team for the grand final: Robyn Walsh, Rebeca Asquith, Beth Thornton, Donna White, Renee Keith, Renee Kalalo, Chrissy Peever, Tayla Colliee, Amelia Soloai.