After a euphoric reaction to keeping their 2017 season alive, GIANTS Netball are refocused and ready to meet the Minor Premiers, Melbourne Vixens, in the inaugural Suncorp Super Netball Preliminary Final this Saturday night (10 June) at Hisense Arena.
Having come from behind in the final quarter to defeat the Magpies Netball Club in the Minor Semi Final, the GIANTS are one win away from featuring in title-decider; all that stands in their way are the Vixens.
The last time the two sides met was in Round 12, with the GIANTS putting out arguably their most consistent 60 minute game for the season to finish 56-52 victors at Canberra’s AIS Arena.
However Head Coach and Captain, Julie Fitzgerald and Jo Harten, were in both in agreement when speaking to GIANTSNetballTV that Finals netball is a whole different ball game.
“Our defence all over the court was particularly good that day and we cherished the ball really well. But Finals netball is a totally different game so I try not to read too much into what happened in the (regular season),” Fitzgerald said.
“Obviously you learn from it but you don’t read too much into it.”
The GIANTS will take plenty of learnings from their one-goal victory last Saturday night, with Harten admitting while the team clearly enjoyed the moment when the final whistle sounded their attentions have quickly shifted to the Vixens.
“We addressed the (Magpies) game on Tuesday and said that wasn’t going to be our final; it’s now about preparing for the Vixens this week,” Harten said.
“(We’ve now got to) go back to the drawing board, working hard, knowing we’re playing a quality team in their home venue. (Beating the Vixens) is a tough ask, but we’re up for the challenge.
“Melbourne is one of the best places to play netball in the world, so it’s an opportunity to play a great game in front of a great crowd. We’ll just soak it all in and do what we can – we know we’ll have a small number of orange Fans down there and we’ll lift for them when we hear them.”
Watch the full interview with GIANTSNetballTV below:
- When the teams last met in Round 12 the GIANTS defeated the Vixens 56-52 in Sydney.
- The matches between the teams are split at a win each this season with the Vixens winning the first meeting between the sides 59-51 in Round 6 in Melbourne and the GIANTS winning 56-52 in Round 12 in Canberra.
- The GIANTS are coming off a 52-51 win over the Magpies in the Minor Semi-Final.
- The Vixens are coming off a 55-56 loss to the Lightning in the Major Semi-Final.
- The winner of this match will meet Sunshine Coast Lightning in the Grand Final on Saturday 17 June at Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
- The Vixens were undefeated at home during the minor round with six wins and a draw (59-all Rd3 v Swifts) but lost their first home court match against the Lightning in the Major Semi-Final.
- Julie Fitzgerald has coached 297 matches at this level claiming her 205th win against the Magpies in Sydney in the Minor Semi-Final. Fitzgerald has a 69% success rate across the former Australian National League, Trans-Tasman and now Suncorp Super Netball competitions.
- This is Julie Fitzgerald’s 19th finals campaign across the former Australian National League, Trans- Tasman competition and now Suncorp Super Netball. Fitzgerald led the Swifts to the finals every season of the former Australian National League (1997-2007), the Swifts to the finals 2008, 2010, 2011 in the former Trans-Tasman competition and Magic between 2013 and 2016.
- Julie Fitzgerald claimed her 22nd finals victory against the Magpies in the minor Semi-Final. Fitzgerald has coached in 37 finals since 1997 for a record of 22 wins (3 in extra time) and 15 losses for a win record of 59%.