GIANTS Netball have put together a formidable performance to overcome the Melbourne Vixens, 65-57, in the Suncorp Super Netball Preliminary Final in front of 5,699 fans at Hisense Arena.
The GIANTS will now meet Sunshine Coast Lightning in the inaugural Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final next Saturday night, 17 June, at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Tickets will go on-sale this Tuesday 13 June for both Members* and Fans.
It was a full-court effort from the visitors who went into the final quarter with a commanding 13-goal advantage to set up the win over the Minor Premiers, who came back strongly in the final minutes.
Despite their late game fade, Head Coach Julie Fitzgerald had nothing but praise for her charges whom she credited tonight’s win as a “full team performance”.
“I’m rapt, I thought they (GIANTS) played very, very well tonight,” Fitzgerald said.
“I really don’t mind (we faded late); I think we knew we had the game won and we were a little bit exhausted from putting in such a massive effort in the first three quarters. We knew that to play the Vixens we had to be on our game the whole time.
“The Vixens really start games well, which traditionally isn’t something that we have, but we’ve started to improve in that area and it was great to see us get that good start we’ve been working towards, but also to push on with the rest of the game.”
Defence was a standout as the Preliminary Final got underway, with the GIANTS back end putting in an incredible effort eight possession gains in the opening quarter alone. Their shooters – fed sublimely by newfound Wing Attack Susan Pettitt – held consolidate on the scoreboard.
But credit to the Vixens who weren’t going down without a fight, their own WA Liz Watson doing incredible work up front as well as her offensive defensive pressure to help try shut down the GIANTS transitional play.
The result saw the GIANTS take a three-goal lead into the second quarter with the play resuming as it finished; fast and furious. Captain Jo Harten was at her dead-eye best – whether it was under the post, or finding shooting partner Kristina Brice to put up the shots.
Brice shouldered the majority of the shooting load, finishing the first half with 22 goals but it was a real team performance that had GIANTS in control at half-time with an eight-goal advantage.
If there was any threat of the big break disrupting their momentum, the GIANTS put any doubts to bed early by outscoring the Vixens six goals to three in the opening minutes to push their advantage to double digits. But in true Victorian form the hosts weren’t going to lie down and kept fighting to stay within the contest – enjoying their own purple patch to bring the Hisense Arena crowd into the game.
Despite their efforts they had little answers on how to shut down the end-to-end play of the GIANTS who collectively were on song; showing very little chinks in their armour for the Vixens to take advantage of. A late tactical timeout allowed the hosts to switch around their midcourt, but it couldn’t prevent the GIANTS from taking a 13-goal advantage into the final 15 minutes.
The story continued in the final quarter as the GIANTS and Vixens continued to trade blows; the Minor Premiers looking for any answers to get back within the contest, while the visitors looked to finish off the game; and finish strong they did.
Late in the quarter the Vixens were unstoppable, outscoring the visitors 10 goals to two in the final minutes; the GIANTS have little answers. But it was all a little too late with the GIANTS able to clai an eight-goal victory and a spot in next week’s title decider.
MVP: Jo Harten (GIANTS)
GIANTS | Q1: 15 – Q2: 32 (17) – Q3: 51 (19) – Q4: 65 (14)
VIXENS | Q1: 12 – Q2: 24 (12) – Q3: 38 (14) – Q4: 57 (19)
GIANTS | GS Kristina Brice, GA Jo Harten (C), WA Susan Pettitt, C Serena Guthrie, WD Jamie-Lee Price, GD Bec Bulley, GK Sam Poolman
VIXENS | GS Mwai Kumwenda, GA Tegan Philip, WA Liz Watson, C Kate Moloney (C), WD Chloe Watson, GD Jo Weston, GK Emily Mannix
VIXENS | Q3 (Timeout): WA Khao Watts, C L. Watson, WD Moloney; Q4: GS Philip, GA Kumwenda; Q4 (Timeout): GS Kumwenda, GA Philip.
GIANTS: 65/69 @ 94%
K. Brice: 42/44 @ 95%
J. Harten: 23/25 @ 92%
VIXENS: 57/50 @ 81%
M. Kumwenda: 37/44 @ 84%
T. Philip: 20/26 @ 77%
*GIANTS Netball Members will have received on-sale information for Grand Final Tickets via their designated email. Please refer to these instructions to access your exclusive pre-sale purchase window.