Netball rivals drive to make grand final
SEMI-FINAL rivals Goodna Sapphires and the Ipswich Flyers felt "relaxed'' about their exciting South East Queensland Cup showdown.
Although both teams have plenty to play for trying to qualify for the grand final, respective captains Robyn Walsh (Sapphires) and Emilie McInally (Flyers) were upbeat completing preparations for Thursday night's clash at the State Netball Centre.
"We've done nothing different,'' Walsh said of her unbeaten team's week.
"As we all play a lot of other sport and netball during the week, we do not train and each individual is responsible for their own fitness and to be match fit in their position they play.
"We are ready to go. We have put in the hard work during the season and are playing some great netball, so we are ready for finals.''
After her team finished fourth heading into the do-or-die semi-final, McInally was also keen to advance.
"We had a good training session (on Monday night),'' McInally said.
"Everyone worked hard but we still had fun. It was a relaxed mood but we're ready for Thursday.''
Chasing back-to-back SEQ Cup titles, Walsh said it would be "amazing'' to reach another grand final.
"To put together a group of friends to play a game on a Thursday night and to come away with a championship - well it doesn't get any better,'' Walsh said.
"It would also be a great boost for Goodna as well. Give their younger players something to aspire to in the future.''
The Flyers captain was hoping for an upset victory on Thursday night.
"It's going to be a tough game, but coming in as the underdogs we have nothing to lose,'' McInally said.
"We didn't make it to the grand final last year and we haven't won the grand final since 2014 so it would be great to make it to that last game.
"We have a great team this year and I think we have the combinations to get to the grand final. We just need to put it all into action on the court.''
The Sapphires contest the semi-final after a 19-goal win over Western Districts.
"All the girls are fit and ready to go and we have been able to accommodate the loss of two players,'' Walsh said.
"I am proud of the girls. We have played some really good netball through the season and even when we have had tougher games the girls have stood up and got the job done.''
The Flyers head into the semi-final after a last-round bye.
"We had a regular session on Monday and then got together for a team dinner to discuss the upcoming finals,'' McInally said.
"I probably would have preferred the bye earlier in the season but that is the luck of the draw.
"It worked well as we had a few people sick with colds and Bridget (Cumming) only missed one game while on holiday.''
As for facing the Flyers again, Walsh hopes to start the same way the Sapphires did against Western Districts.
"I feel we will go head-to-head for the first half and then pull away in the third,'' she said, sharing her pre-game tactics.
"I like to have the girls relaxed so just our normal warm-up.
"I will have a quick chat before we take the court and pump them up.''
While reluctant to give anything else away, Walsh revealed the key to Sapphires' ongoing success.
"It's very simple,'' Walsh said. "We all get on very well, on and off the court, and we all have a passion for the sport and a drive to win.''
State of play
QPL SEQld Cup semi-final: Thursday (7.50pm) - Goodna Sapphires (1st) v Ipswich Flyers (4th); Caboolture Gold (2nd) v Downey Park (3rd) at State Netball Centre.
Rd 13 results: Goodna def Western Districts 63-41, Ipswich Flyers bye, Downey Park def MacGregor 58-31 to leapfrog the Flyers in the final round.
Final wins, losses, points (top four): 1. Goodna 12-0, 24 points; 2. Caboolture 10-2, 20; 3. Downey Park 10-2, 20; 4. Ipswich 9-3, 18.