IT is finals time in the Suncorp Super Netball, as the final four teams left are all striving towards the same goal – to become 2022 Premiers.
This weekend is the first of this year’s finals series, where we find out one half of the grand final equation, while also saying goodbye to another team.
Melbourne Vixens v West Coast Fever
Tomorrow at 7pm
John Cain Arena
The top two teams for much of this season now go head to head for the coveted first spot in the 2022 Grand Final.
A Vixens win would cap off quite the comeback for the minor premiers, who have gone from wooden spooners to minor premiers in the space of one season.
After losing a few of their most experienced players after the 2020 season, having such a settled line up has really helped the Vixens this this around. Many experienced heads around the Vixens camp, including the likes of Liz Watson and Kate Moloney, know exactly what is in store for them this weekend, having been there the last time these sides met in a final.
The Fever also have a very settled line up, but have had a few injury interruption head aches along the way this season.
Recent history certainly points to a happy home crowd tomorrow night.
The Vixens have been a bit of a bogey team for the Fever this season, with the Melbournians the only side to not lose to the Fever all year.
Back in Round 4, the Vixens emerged with a nine-goal win and the bragging rights as the first team to inflict a loss on the Fever for the year. The Vixens also spent eight percent more of the time in possession, and had fewer turnovers.
In the return match back in Perth, the Vixens got off to a strong start again and went on to win by six goals.
Despite the smaller margin as compared to their first meeting this year, the Vixens spent 12 percent more time in possession then the Fever that night but again recorded less turnovers than their opponents.
GIANTS vs Magpies
Sunday at 4pm
Ken Rosewall Arena
The Minor Semi Final sees Collingwood travel up the Hume to face the GIANTS, with the winner to stay alive and the loser to start their post-season.
While both sides had slightly different paths to the finals, one thing for certain is they will be qually hungry for the win.
One thing that will boost the Magpies this weekend is the return of Maggie Lind, Ash Brazill and Jodi-Ann Ward, who all missed last week due to Covid. This becomes a more daunting task for the GIANTS because not only are most of these returnees members of their national sides, the Magpies were able to almost knock off the reigning premiers without them so imagine how much stronger they will be with them.
That probably will not faze the GIANTS too much though, because they are a final hardened side who know what to expect in big games.
They also have the talent there who steps up in big games. They have the experienced Jo Harten up one end, Jamie-Lee Price and the often underrated Amy Parmenter in the middle and April Brandley in defence.
Speaking of defence, the battle between Shimona Nelson and Matilda McDonell is bound to be an entertaining one. McDonnell is not afraid to go for the flying intercept, and Nelson is one of those shooters who commonly takes the ball at the highest point, so there could be an interesting clash of styles there.
Recent history certainly points to a happy Orange Army on Sunday afternoon, as the GIANTS have won both encounters between the sides this season.
First time around, it was a 15-goal win to the GIANTS, with the team in orange spending considerably more time with ball in hand that day than their opponents (57% to 43%) and giving away considerably less penalties.
In the return encounter, the margin was slightly less at only nine goals, but the GIANTS still had more of the ball (53% to 47%) and recorded significantly less penalties then the Magpies (70 to 80).