Fever had the grit over Giants while Lightning strike out Firebirds

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Fever celebrating after their win against the Giants. IMAGE: West Coast Fever's Official Twitter Page.

The Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season has finally reached the business end, and didn’t it deliver.

The major semi-final was decided by just six goals between minor premiers in Giants Netball and second placed West Coast Fever. The winner of this game earned themselves not only a spot in the grand final but the rights to the home court advantage too.

Fever got off to a cracking start leading the Giants at the first break by eight goals. With injury clouds looming over Verity Charles (knee), Jess Anstiss (gluteal) and Stacey Francis (back spasms), Fever looked set to struggle to get through the match. Yet they still managed to put the hard work in and see the results on the score board. In the first quarter, Fever’s star goal shooter, Jhaniele Fowler, needed to be helped off the court with a knee injury.

It was the Giants who had to fight to stay within reach of the game in the second quarter and to make the most of the time without Fowler on court. The game was as tough and physical as you would expect in a final and, in front of their home crowd, the Giants were able to get within three goals at half time.

Live tweeting the game. IMAGE: Giants Netball Official Twitter Page.

The Giants went on to win the third quarter and were the side to make the most of their opportunities through turnovers and converting them to goals. Jo Harten started to light the game up for the Giants with her defensive pressure down the court then flicking the switch back to attack mode. Yet Fowler made her way back onto the court and scored a perfect shooting game with 48 from 48 despite spending time on the bench. Fever went on to secure the home court advantage with a six-goal win. Veteran goal attack, Nat Medhurst left with bragging rights after earning herself the Nissan MVP for the game.

The minor semi-final finish was an absolute nail biter, it was the Sunshine Coast Lightning who stopped the thought of over time to defeat the Queensland Firebirds by one goal. It was all on the line in this game with the loser bowing out of finals and ending their SSN season. By half time, Lightning were able to hold onto the lead by a mere three goals.

Live tweeting the game. IMAGE: Queensland Firebirds Official Twitter Page.

With the win, Lightning look to still be on track to defend their 2017 championship title. From the outset, it was tough. Players from both sides were throwing themselves at every ball, umpires were cautioning players and in the final quarter it was the Firebirds who found themselves with the stronger final 15 minutes, yet Lightning were able to just hold on and deny Firebirds the chance at playing on in extra time thanks to the defensive pressure of Geva Mentor and Karla Pretorius. 

It was a game of solid shooting at both ends of the court: Firebirds had Romelda Aiken with 37 goals out of a possible 42 and Gretel Tippet 19/19 while Lightning saw Aussie Diamonds captain, Caitlin Bassett 37/39 and Steph Wood with 20/26. Lightning wing attack, Kelsey Browne earned herself the Nissan MVP for the match.

Next week’s preliminary final between Giants and Lightning will be held in Sydney on August 19. The Giants will be looking to bounce back after their loss and show why they finished on top of the SSN ladder this season. Also in mind for the Giants is  the announcement of import centre court player Serena Guthrie announcing it’ll be her last season in orange. As for Lightning, they are in some serious form at the pointy end of the season and will head into this match with confidence. The winner will head to Perth to face the force that is the West Coast Fever in the SSN grand final game.

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