Sapphires 'already winners' preparing for final state test
HAVING achieved their first major goal of the season, the Goodna Sapphires are keen to test themselves against some of the state's best netballers.
The newly-crowned South East Queensland Cup champions will play division winners from other Queensland Premier League zones in a round of games at Carrara this weekend.
Sapphires' captain Robyn Walsh said her team had the versatility and experience to handle two games on Saturday and Sunday.
"We are happy to play and we are all so competitive that it's in our nature to play to win,'' Walsh said. "But our main goal was to win SEQ and that's what we did.
"It would be lovely to come away from the weekend as state winners, but we already feel like we are winners and do not have to prove this again.''
Walsh likes the new QPL finals' format after her team won its 10 SE Qld tournament games and the grand final over Caboolture.
"We are happy with the times we were given on the draw and that winner takes all and there is no final,'' she said.
"This ensures the best netball is played and every game counts plus shooting percentages could play a part in the end result. This will make for great matches over the weekend.''
The Sapphires open their campaign against Bundaberg at 9.30am on Saturday. The final game is against Cairns at 12.30pm on Sunday.
Although she knows little about her opponents, the focus is on completing a hugely successful season as a team representing the Goodna Netball Association.
"We do not have it in our DNA to play a game of netball and not play to win,'' she said. "So it is a natural reaction to try and win on the weekend.
"Everyone is ready for one last weekend of netball before the season is over, so we're all fighting fit and ready to win.
"Many of the players can play multiple positions so depending on the calibre of the other teams we should be able to rest players and make positional changes to keep everyone fresh.''
Walsh praised her team for recovering from a poor start to beat Caboolture 55-47 in the SE Qld grand final.
"We just had a belief that we could do it, and never once did we give up and just kept grinding away,'' she said.
"It was so surreal when the game had finished. We knew we had won but it was just like, oh my goodness we did it and did it the hard way.''
QFL finals: As South East Queensland Cup champions, the Goodna Sapphires contest this weekend's state finals at Carrara.
Schedule: Saturday - 9.30am v Bundaberg. 12.30pm v South West Queensland series winner.
Sunday: 9.30am v Caboolture. 12.30pm v Cairns.