Ipswich netball teams brace for finals
IPSWICH Flyers coach Trish McInally senses a new-found confidence in her team despite being underdogs in Thursday night's netball semi-final.
"We are used to being there and everybody has a good feeling about it,'' McInally said.
Heading into this year's revamped Queensland Premier League competition, the Flyers had been regular finalists over the past decade.
Coming off Ipswich's biggest win of the season, McInally said her fourth-placed team may be peaking again, preparing to play Metropolitan Districts in the knockout semi-final.
The teams drew 51-51 earlier this season.
"I think we are a better team now towards the end of the season,'' McInally said.
"We are just coming into our own again.
"We are a little bit more comfortable and know what we have to do.''
That showed in last week's 62-28 victory over Queensland Catholic.
The Flyers coach was impressed with everyone's contribution, especially the strong drives and good ball placement of wing attack Tara Bramwell and centre Bridget Cumming.
"Bridget had an awesome game,'' McInally said. "This is her third year and she's doing a fantastic job.''
McInally's only disappointment preparing for another final series is that young players Ella Taylor and Darcie Smith are ineligible to join the team under Netball Queensland's new player rules.
Coaching a team of home grown Ipswich talent, McInally would have liked to have seen the promising juniors share the experience at the State Netball Centre.
The winner of Thursday night's match advances to the preliminary final against the loser of the other semi-final between the unbeaten Goodna Sapphires and second-placed Caboolture.
The Sapphires notched their 10th straight win last week in accounting for Pine Rivers 72-45.
"I believe that Goodna Netball Association had an indication of what our team was capable of but I think that we have exceeded their expectations,'' Sapphires captain Robyn Walsh said.
"We're looking forward to winning the competition not only for ourselves but for Goodna as well.''
However, Walsh said finals provided a whole new ball game.
"Ideally we would like to take out this first final and go straight through to the grand final,'' she said.
"Everyone knows their jobs and as individuals if we do what we need to do it will all come together on the court.''
Walsh said the advantage of playing Caboolture was that the Sapphires regulars know a lot of their opponents.
"So we are aware of their strengths and weaknesses,'' Walsh said.
State of play
QPL SE Qld Cup semi-finals: Thursday (8pm) - Goodna Sapphires (1) v Caboolture (2); Ipswich Flyers (4) v Metropolitan Districts (3) at State Netball Centre.
Rd 11 results: Goodna Sapphires def Pine Rivers 72-45, Ipswich Flyers def Qld Catholic 62-28.
Final four: 1 Goodna 10 wins, 0 losses, 20 points; 2. Caboolture 9W, 1L, 18pts; 3 Metropolitan Districts 7W, 2L, 1D, 15pts; 4 Ipswich 6W, 3L, 1D, 13 pts.