West Coast Fever to host Sunshine Coast Lightning in the SSN Grand Final

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Geva Mentor takes on Jhaniele Fowler during the season. IMAGE: Suncorp Super Netball official website.

The Road to Glory

The Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) grand final is upon us. West Coast Fever won their major semi-final against Giants Netball by six goals, earned themselves a week off and the right to host the grand final game.

For Sunshine Coast Lightning they had to get there the hard way, defeating Queensland Firebirds by just one goal in their minor semi-final. A week later, Giants hosted Lightning for the preliminary final in Sydney for one last chance to get into the grand final. After an even first quarter, it was all Lightning for the remainder of the game and they went on to win by nine goals. The back to back championship dream is still in sight for Lightning.

In 21 seasons of netball, WA’s Fever have only made one finals appearance which was a semi-final loss in 2015. Fever now have the chance for championship glory in front of a Perth home crowd. Fever finished second on the SSN ladder with the same number of wins as the Giants, while Lightning only just scraped into the top four after the final round of the home and away season after defeating the Melbourne Vixens.

Grand Final Preview

From the previous finals matches, predictions for the starting seven in both sides are that they will likely remain the same.

West Coast Fever
GS: Jhaniele Fowler. GA: Nat Medhurst. WA: Ingrid Colyer. C: Verity Charles. WD: Jess Anstiss. GD: Stacey Francis. GK: Courtney Bruce.

Sunshine Coast Lightning
GS: Caitlin Bassett. GA: Steph Wood. WA: Kelsey Browne. C: Laura Scherian. WD: Madeline McAuliffe. GD: Karla Pretorius. GK: Geva Mentor.

There will be plenty of match ups to keep an eye out for but a major one will be Fowler and Mentor in the goal circle. Mentor is the leader for most defensive rebounds for the season and she also ranks top for the most deflections. Fowler struggled with knee soreness in the major semi yet her height could be a problem for Mentor.

Down the other end of the court you will see Aussie Diamonds captain, Bassett line up against fellow Diamond in Bruce. Behind Mentor, it is Bruce in second for most defensive rebounds, she is second in most deflections and she is also second for most intercepts. There’s no question that Bruce will be up to the challenge when she comes up against Bassett. Bassett is currently second with most goals sitting on 1142, third for most goal attempts and second for most offensive rebounds. If she is on her A-game she is hard to stop.

A mid court match up to watch out for, is Lightning’s Browne lining up against Anstiss. Browne is in the top eight for most goal assists and fourth for most centre passes received while Anstiss just recently got her call up into the Aussie Diamonds squad. It will definitely be a battle out there.

Fever started this season strongly proving they were the real deal this season and they’ve proved their point by making the 2018 grand final. Lightning struggled to find their groove at the start of the season but managed to make the most of the new bonus point system by the end of the season.

Lightning’s defensive duo of Mentor and Pretorius have been causing headaches for other teams in the league; they hunt every ball and their double jump tactic tends to put off the goal shooters. Yet the experience of Fever’s goal end in Medhurst could be a problem for Lightning. Medhurst ranks up there with most goal assists yet when she needs to put the ball in the hoop she is more than capable.

You can’t forget some friendly fire. Hannah Barry reported that Queensland radio stations banned all Perth artists from their airwaves in the lead up to the game. With both Medhurst and the Fever twitter page jumping back at them on twitter. Also worth noting, that the game is shaping up to be an absolute sell out with general admission tickets exhausted on ticketek.

Fever’s response to Lightning banning Perth artists. IMAGE: Screenshot of West Coast Fever’s official Twitter page.

My tip

West Coast Fever to win by 3 goals

MVP of the match

Nat Medhurst

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