ANZ CHAMPIONSHIP 2008-2016

ANZ CHAMPIONSHIP 2008-20162021-10-27T09:29:01+10:00
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  • Avatar photoIan Harkin
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      Post count: 23389

      Before the 2007 season of the Commonwealth Bank Trophy and National Bank Cup were completed, plans were well underway for the new Trans-Tasman competition set to begin in 2008 with 10 teams, 5 from Australia and 5 from New Zealand. There was much conjecture about the new competition and how it would go. Eventually, ANZ was announced as sponsor of the new league.

      Game enters new era with trans-Tasman trophy
      March 13, 2007
      AAP

      Australian netball will get an A-League style overhaul next year when a new competition with 10 teams from Australia and New Zealand is launched.

      Australian captain Liz Ellis said yesterday the new Tasman Trophy Netball League could attract star players from all over the world.

      The new event will run from April to July, with five teams from each country, and will be broadcast on pay television. It will replace Australia’s Commonwealth Bank Trophy and NZ’s National Bank Cup.

      Netball Australia expects to announce the teams that will make up the competition by mid-May.

      Netball Australia chief executive Kate Palmer said the preferred model was for one team each from NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.

      Goal keeper Ellis said she didn’t think the trans-Tasman competition would lengthen the gap between those two nations and the rest of the world and welcomed the possibility of players from other countries participating in the tournament.

      “I don’t think it’s being too fantastical to say that this may become the NBA of netball, in that this league is the league that players across the world aspire to play in,” Ellis said.

      Officials from Netball NSW and Netball Victoria welcomed the new competition, while expressing disappointment they would each have only one representative side.

      Both bodies felt their large pool of players merited a second team.

      Palmer said the remuneration for players would be “much higher” than it is now and that full-time professionalism for the sport could be achieved within three years.

      Ellis, 34, said the competition could prompt her to prolong her career rather than retire if Australia wins the world title in NZ this year.

      Netball Victoria president Jenny Sanchez said while Melbourne Victory had enjoyed great success in the soccer A-League as a new entity, she had an open mind about whether Victoria would enter one of two existing teams or a new franchise.

      Avatar photoIan Harkin
      Moderator
        Post count: 23389

        ACT left out of Tasman Trophy
        Thu 10 May 2007
        ABC

        The ACT has missed out on a place in the new Tasman Trophy netball competition.

        Netball Australia received six submissions for the five Australian places in the new league with New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia the successful applicants.

        Western Australia clinched the final position ahead of the ACT, a move Perth Orioles coach Sue Gaudion said was vital to the prosperity of netball as a national sport.

        “It’s one thing to talk about having a national competition, but to exclude one of the biggest states in the country, and also we’re one of the best developing states in terms of our talent, would just be hard to understand,” she said.

        Gaudion said Western Australia’s inclusion in the competition was a major boost for the sport in the state.

        “We’re absolutely elated with the news that we’ll be a part of this fantastic new approach to netball next year,” she said.

        The 10-team competition will start in April next year and will include five teams from New Zealand.

        Avatar photoIan Harkin
        Moderator
          Post count: 23389

          The ANZ Championship began with uncertainty in 2008. While there were plenty of opinions expressed, nobody really knew for certain just how teams from both sides of the Tasman would go, although Magic and Vixens were seen as the early favourites. Vixens were dubbed the “dream team” by coach Julie Hoornweg, while Magic’s CEO launched the team proclaiming them to be the inaugural winners of the competition! One thing soon became apparent – NZ teams would struggle big time when they came to Australia. NZ teams didn’t win a single match in Australia for the year. Even the star-studded Magic side was unable to manage it. And that was a theme that would continue through most of the nine years of the ANZ Championship.

          The home-and-away format saw teams play opponents from their own country twice and teams from the other country only once. With Australian teams proving to be stronger overall, this format was a definite advantage to New Zealand teams when it came to positions on the ladder. There was an import rule in the competition, but it was enforced unevenly. Each team was able to sign one import and could apply to their national association (NA or NNZ) for a second, and this was where the inconsistencies came in. As a result, Firebirds, Thunderbirds and Fever were all allowed to use two imports in 2008. Despite being without the retired Liz Ellis, it was eventually the NSW Swifts who defeated Magic in the first ANZ Championship grand final.

          .

          2008 ANZ CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS

          Queensland Firebirds
          AIKEN, Romelda
          GEITZ, Laura
          GREENWAY, Tamsin
          LAWSON, Janelle
          MCMENIMAN, Clare
          MORGAN, Joanne
          NOURSE, Lauren
          O’CONNOR, Jenny
          ROONEY, Meegan
          STEPHENS, Peta (capt)
          TROMPF, Kierra
          WALKER, Katie
          Coach: Vicki Wilson

          New South Wales Swifts
          BELL, Erin
          BULLEY, Rebecca
          COX, Catherine (capt)
          GILSENAN, Selina
          GREEN, Kimberlee
          JOHNSON, Adelaide
          KOSTER, Emma
          LINCOLN, Tiffany
          PRATLEY, Susan
          PURCELL, Kimberley
          SHOARD, Leah
          WARE, Vanessa
          Coach: Julie Fitzgerald

          Melbourne Vixens
          BROWNE, Madison
          CHATFIELD, Bianca (co-capt)
          CHOKLJAT, Natasha
          CURRAN, Johannah
          HALLINAN, Renae
          HOWARD, Ashlee
          JACOBSEN, Wendy
          LAYTON, Sharni
          MCMAHON, Sharelle (co-capt)
          PRENDERGAST, Julie
          SARGENT, Abby
          THWAITES, Caitlin
          Coach: Julie Hoornweg

          Adelaide Thunderbirds
          BEATON, Emily
          BEATON, Georgia
          BEVERIDGE, Kate
          CLARKE, Alex
          EDWARDS, Mandy
          GERRARD, Mo’onia
          HUGHES, Kristen
          MEDHURST, Natalie
          MENTOR, Geva
          REDDY, Bianca
          ROWLAND, Melissa
          VON BERTOUCH, Natalie (capt)
          Coach: Jane Woodlands-Thompson

          West Coast Fever
          AGBEZE, Ama
          ATKINSON, Karen
          BASSETT, Caitlin
          DICK, Ingrid
          FRANKLIN, Bianca
          FUHRMANN, Susan
          GILMORE, Andrea
          JANZ, Josie
          PEMBERTON, Tracey
          ROSMAN, Stacey (capt)
          SMITH, Nikala
          WILLCOX, Larrissa
          Coach: Sue Gaudion

          Northern Mystics
          BOND, Stephanie
          DAVU, Vilimaina
          DE BRUIN, Leana
          EVERITT, Rawinia
          GEORGE, Temepara (capt)
          GRIFFIN, Paula
          LATU, Cathrine
          RASMUSSEN, Grace
          RASMUSSEN, Rachel
          SCANLAN, Sheryl
          TOPIA, Jade
          YATES, Angelina
          Coach: Yvonne Willering

          Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
          BEALE, Rachel
          GRANT, Keshia
          HENRY, Joline
          LANGMAN, Laura
          LEITH, Halana
          METCALFE, Amigene (capt)
          PETTIT, Nicola
          TAPENE, Brigette
          TOD, Jodi
          TUTAIA, Maria
          VAN DYK, Irene
          WILLIAMS, Casey
          Coach: Noeline Taurua

          Central Pulse
          BELLRINGER, Amber
          BURGESS, Lauren
          CROFTS, Hayley
          EDWARDS, Candyce
          GUPWELL, Jamilah
          LICHTWARK, Cushla
          MKOLOMA, Sonia
          ROSELLI, Nardia
          SOLIA, Frances (capt)
          TAGICAKIBAU, Susan
          WAITITI, Kahurangi
          WIESER, Neesha
          Coach: Kate Carpenter

          Canterbury Tactix
          BOWDEN, Maree
          BROWN, Jodi
          DUNN, Rachel*
          FELLOWES, Demelza
          FINCH, Phillipa
          HALPENNY, Ellen
          KIGHT, Charlotte
          MANU, Bessie
          MCCAW, Jo
          SEYMOUR, Julie (capt)
          SMITH, Victoria
          STOCKMAN, Hayley
          THOMPSON, Anna
          Coach: Helen Mahon-Stroud
          * Mid-season replacement for Jodi Brown (pregnancy)

          Southern Steel
          BARRETT-CHASE, Liana
          BURGESS, Erika
          COFFIN, Jenny-May (capt)
          DEHN, Megan
          GRANT, Katrina
          HUTTON, Megan
          NAOUPU, Julianna
          SELBY-RICKIT, Te Huinga Reo
          TELFER, Wendy
          TUKI, Jess
          WHITE, Debbie
          WIPIITI, Daneka
          Coach: Robyn Broughton

          .

          Bulley moves to Swifts after Vixens snub
          Linda Pearce

          AUSTRALIAN squad defender and former Melbourne Kestrels co-captain Rebecca Bulley has been recruited by the Sydney Swifts to help cover the losses of the retired Liz Ellis and, perhaps, Mo’onia Gerrard for the inaugural ANZ Championship.

          Bulley — along with other Kestrels regulars Chelsey Nash and Brooke Thompson — was not offered a place on the Melbourne Vixens’ roster for the first season of the semi-professional trans-Tasman league, starting in April. But the 25-year-old looms as a key recruit for the Swifts, who were yesterday unable to name star goal defence Gerrard or premiership wing Kim Purcell in their 10-player squad to be captained by Cath Cox. Gerrard is believed to be considering an offer from Queensland. Bulley said that Ellis, her Australian teammate on the tour of England earlier this year, had helped convince her to play-on after the bitter disappointment of missing the cut with the Vixens.

          “I was pretty devastated when I didn’t make the Vixens, and I did consider not playing, but Liz sort-of motivated me to keep going; she said ‘you’re so close to the Australian team, you can’t give up now, I’m not going to be around forever’,” said Bulley, who believes her performance suffered from heavy work commitments this year. I do want to prove a point now; I don’t want to finish netball on a bad note like that because I’ve had so many good years. But I realise it was probably all for the best. Obviously the coach of the Vixens doesn’t think very highly of me, so it probably would have been worse if I’d made the 12 as the fourth defender and not got any court-time.”

          “There’s three Australian squad defenders in Victoria and so it was always going to be tough and competitive and I’m not sure what the coach has gone for — maybe she’s gone for a mix of experience and youth, but Julie never explained it to me, which was probably a disappointing thing as well.”

          Hoornweg described as “very difficult” the task of whittling down a richly talented defensive group that also contained Australian world championship teammates Bianca Chatfield and Julie Prendergast — who rejected an offer from Adelaide — and three national 21-and-under squad members. “We had the pick of some fine defenders, we just had a huge talent pool of defenders, but we believe we’ve got a good mix, because what we were also conscious about was making sure that we had some youth coming through for years to come,” she said. “It’s about winning now, but it’s about winning in the future, too.”

          .

          England netballers join world’s first professional league
          EMILY GARNHAM
          EXPRESS.CO.UK

          FIVE of England’s squad players have accepted invitations to join the world’s first professional netball league. The girls will be playing alongside some of the world’s best players in the new weekly competition, the ANZ Championship, which will be contested in Australia and New Zealand in April. All five players selected took part in the World Netball Championships in New Zealand last year and will be joining their new squads for pre-season training in a few weeks.

          England Netball’s Director Nigel Holl paid tribute to the strides the England squad had made both nationally and on the international stage. He added: “To be invited to take part in the ANZ Championship is a huge compliment to these English players and recognises the progress that the English game has made.” He also spoke of the “huge challenge” the five will now face but hopes their new skills will benefit English netball in future. “When they return with advanced skills, training ideas and having experienced another level of domestic competition week in week out, their input will be crucial to the national squad’s progress in the months to come,” he added.

          England vice captain and Mavericks’ player Karen Atkinson will be based in Perth with WEST COAST FEVER with teammate Ama Agbeze. Agbeze has already started her pre-season training, while Atkinson will join her after the Superleague is over. Meanwhile Geva Mentor will be joining the ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS where she will line up alongside the likes of Australian defensive World Championships gold medallist Mo’onia Gerrard. Team Bath’s Tamsin Greenway has been invited to play for QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS.

          Sonia Mkoloma, England’s inspirational defender, will be the only English player based in New Zealand when she joins the PULSE squad. In the first match of the competition on April 5, Pulse will host the Melbourne Vixens, when Mkoloma will face Australian star Sharelle McMahon, widely acclaimed as the world’s best shooter.

          The new league has stirred the netball world and paved the way for professional netball in the UK. Nigel Holl is confident the professional era now dawning in the Southern Hemisphere and the change will happen sooner rather than later. “We hope the Netball Superleague will develop into a semi-professional league, in the near future,” he said. “Many of our international athletes have already had to fore-go employment opportunities to train and play.”

          Avatar photoIan Harkin
          Moderator
            Post count: 23389

            Round 1
            Sat 5 Apr – Central Pulse 33–50 Melbourne Vixens
            Sun 6 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 48–46 West Coast Fever
            Sun 6 Apr – Northern Mystics 44–48 Canterbury Tactix
            Mon 7 Apr – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 46–42 Adelaide Thunderbirds
            Mon 7 Apr – New South Wales Swifts 53–42 Southern Steel

            Round 2
            Sat 12 Apr – Canterbury Tactix 50–44 New South Wales Swifts
            Sun 13 Apr – Melbourne Vixens 62–52 Queensland Firebirds
            Sun 13 Apr – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 56–52 Northern Mystics
            Mon 14 Apr – Central Pulse 50–52 Southern Steel
            Mon 14 Apr – West Coast Fever 41–54 Adelaide Thunderbirds

            Round 3
            Sat 19 Apr – Northern Mystics 45–49 West Coast Fever
            Sat 19 Apr – New South Wales Swifts 50–47 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
            Sun 20 Apr – Melbourne Vixens 38–39 Adelaide Thunderbirds
            Mon 21 Apr – Canterbury Tactix 42–51 Southern Steel
            Mon 21 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 56–28 Central Pulse

            .

            Thunderbirds win a classic

            Adelaide has prevailed by a goal in a thrilling round three clash with the Vixens in the trans-Tasman netball competition in Melbourne. The match was in the balance until the end, when the Thunderbirds sealed the 39-38 win after a crucial intercept from Georgia Beaton. Melbourne had more shots on goal in the match, but could not convert their opportunities. Natalie Medhurst hit 22 from 23 shots for the Thunderbirds.

            Adelaide skipper Natalie von Bertouch says it was a hard-fought win. “The girls had to work hard the whole entire game,” she said. She also paid tribute to the efforts of Beaton. “That was a game-winning incident,” she said. “She’s only young and 17 and she’s working really hard.” The win lifts Adelaide into equal top position on the ladder after three games, alongside the Swifts.

            Sharelle McMahon/Mo’onia Gerrard kiss…

            .

            Round 4
            Sat 26 Apr – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 61–47 West Coast Fever
            Sat 26 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 46–40 Northern Mystics
            Sun 27 Apr – Adelaide Thunderbirds 54–41 Southern Steel
            Mon 28 Apr – Canterbury Tactix 50–58 Melbourne Vixens
            Mon 28 Apr – New South Wales Swifts 59–30 Central Pulse

            Round 5
            Sat 3 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 54–37 Central Pulse
            Sat 3 May – West Coast Fever 46–65 Queensland Firebirds
            Mon 5 May – Southern Steel 48–50 Northern Mystics
            Mon 5 May – New South Wales Swifts 52–53 Melbourne Vixens
            BYES: Adelaide Thunderbirds and Canterbury Tactix

            Round 6
            Sat 10 May – Southern Steel 48–51 Canterbury Tactix
            Sat 10 May – Queensland Firebirds 66–52 New South Wales Swifts
            Mon 12 May – Northern Mystics 45–59 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
            Mon 12 May – Adelaide Thunderbirds 66–50 West Coast Fever
            BYES: Melbourne Vixens and Central Pulse

            .

            Rachel Dunn selected for ANZ
            Daily Express
            Mon, May 12, 2008

            TEAM BATH and England shooter Rachel Dunn has become the sixth England international netballer to join the ANZ Championship. She will replace pregnant Silver Fern shooter Jodi Brown in the Tactix squad, based in Christchurch, New Zealand.

            The 25-year-old joins England squad colleagues Ama Agbeze, Karen Atkinson, Tamsin Greenway, Geva Mentor and Sonia Mkoloma who are already playing in the competition that includes five teams from Australia and five from New Zealand in what is the world’s first professional netball league.

            Dunn will take to the court against some of the best netballers in the world, and she says it can only be a positive move for the English game. “It’s great,” she said. “We wouldn’t want to miss out on this sort of competition. Hopefully it will be a good thing for England netball to increase our strength and keep pushing these teams from Down Under.”

            Dunn has 25 international caps for England, including playing in England’s first win over New Zealand in 32 years in Manchester last summer. But she was forced to miss out on last year’s Netball World Championships after suffering a serious knee injury in the series win over Jamaica in September 2007.

            After a long and intensive rehabilitation period, she returned to the court more than a month ago and was part of England’s training squad for the home series against Malawi. She made her England debut in 2004 against South Africa and toured New Zealand with England in 2005, before being part of the England squad which won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.

            She has already travelled south to New Zealand, training twice with her new squad, before watching her side defeat the Southern Sting 51-48 in Invercargill last Saturday. Dunn’s first appearance in the ANZ Championship is likely to be on May 17 against the Central Pulse in Palmerston, New Zealand, where she could meet England team mate Sonia Mkoloma.

            .

            Round 7
            Sat 17 May – Central Pulse 50–55 Canterbury Tactix
            Sun 18 May – Adelaide Thunderbirds 46–52 Melbourne Vixens
            Mon 19 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 56–47 Southern Steel
            Mon 19 May – New South Wales Swifts 66–54 West Coast Fever
            BYES: Queensland Firebirds and Northern Mystics

            Round 8
            Sat 24 May – Canterbury Tactix 50–54 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
            Sun 25 May – Queensland Firebirds 60–51 Melbourne Vixens
            Mon 26 May – Central Pulse 48–54 Northern Mystics
            Mon 26 May – Adelaide Thunderbirds 44–50 New South Wales Swifts
            BYES: West Coast Fever and Southern Steel

            Round 9
            Sat 31 May – Southern Steel 41–29 Central Pulse
            Sun 1 Jun – Melbourne Vixens 57–44 West Coast Fever
            Mon 2 Jun – Northern Mystics 50–46 Canterbury Tactix
            Mon 2 Jun – Queensland Firebirds 41–47 Adelaide Thunderbirds
            BYES: New South Wales Swifts and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

            Round 10
            Sat 7 Jun – Southern Steel 47–46 Melbourne Vixens
            Sun 8 Jun – Adelaide Thunderbirds 61–41 Canterbury Tactix
            Sun 8 Jun – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 56–50 Queensland Firebirds
            Mon 9 Jun – Northern Mystics 62–64 New South Wales Swifts
            Mon 9 Jun – West Coast Fever 33–16 Central Pulse (Match abandoned as a draw)

            .

            Fever feel hard done by after ‘washout’
            ABC
            Jun 10, 2008

            Bizarre circumstances cost the West Coast Fever a near certain victory over the Central Pulse when their trans-Tasman Netball Championship match was abandoned due to ‘indoor weather conditions’ in Perth last night. The Fever led by a convincing 33-16 at the main break when a leaky roof caused the match to be abandoned by the match umpires. Had play resumed in the second-half West Coast would have been declared the winner, instead both sides were given one point each. It would have been the WA side’s first home win and second victory this season while it was the Pulse’s first point for the season.

            Fever coach Sue Gaudion says it is a hard result to accept. “It just would have been nice that we tried to get on the court and play. I know rules are rules and we desperately would have loved a result,” Gaudion told Fox Sports after the game.”I think in any circumstance you’ve got to try and play to a result. We certainly had the game in our hands, we don’t get any percentage on the ladder and it has a huge bearing down the track given maybe the next results coming over the next four weeks.”

            Sitting in the crowd was the Western Australian Sport and Recreation Minister John Kobelke and Gaudion says the situation is unacceptable. “I guess you just think it would never happen to have a stadium leak determine the result of the game is almost just absurd and I think I’ve used the word a thousand times – diabolical,” she said. Gaudion says her team is the only one in the competition without its own court.

            “It’s just imperative that netball has its own stadium, we’re the only team in Australia that doesn’t have its own training facility,” she said. “Whilst Challenge Stadium has been fantastic to us from a show court perspective this is not the first time that the stadium has leaked on us at a netball game this year, so it’s just really disappointing.” Netball Australia says it will work to avoid a repeat of last night’s situation.

            .

            Round 11
            Sat 14 Jun – Northern Mystics 47–48 Adelaide Thunderbirds
            Sun 15 Jun – New South Wales Swifts 61–60 Queensland Firebirds
            Sun 15 Jun – Canterbury Tactix 50–49 Central Pulse
            Mon 16 Jun – Southern Steel 58–43 West Coast Fever
            Mon 16 Jun – Melbourne Vixens 47–40 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

            Round 12
            Sat 21 Jun – Central Pulse 41–46 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
            Sat 21 Jun – West Coast Fever 48–54 Melbourne Vixens
            Sun 22 Jun – Queensland Firebirds 50–36 Canterbury Tactix
            Mon 23 Jun – Northern Mystics 47–41 Southern Steel
            Mon 23 Jun – New South Wales Swifts 51–41 Adelaide Thunderbirds

            Round 13
            Sat 28 Jun – Northern Mystics 42–28 Central Pulse
            Sat 28 Jun – Adelaide Thunderbirds 66–47 Queensland Firebirds
            Sun 29 Jun – West Coast Fever 50–44 Canterbury Tactix
            Mon 30 Jun – Southern Steel 47–43 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
            Mon 30 Jun – Melbourne Vixens 49–62 New South Wales Swifts

            .

            Steel clinch miraculous win over Magic

            The Southern Steel have recorded a major upset with a four-point victory over competition leaders Magic on Monday night’s trans-Tasman netball clash at Invercargill. In a match pitted to be a one-way affair, the Steel recovered from a slow start to notch a 47-43 victory. Steel skipper Jenny-May Coffin says the home crowd lifted her side to the win.

            “It was a really incredibly slow start for us, but we worked at staying at the game plan,” she told Fox Sports after the game. This is the last time we were playing in front of our home crowd, so we wanted to go out on a biggie.”

            Magic captain Amigene Metcalfe says the loss provides her team with some things to work on ahead of the finals. “We’ve got quite a good history down here, so it didn’t quite follow to plan today,” she said. “These guys have given us a good test run for whatever happens during finals time.”

            .

            Round 14
            Sat 5 Jul – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 69–44 Canterbury Tactix
            Sun 6 Jul – Melbourne Vixens 56–47 Northern Mystics
            Sun 6 Jul – Southern Steel 54–52 Queensland Firebirds
            Mon 7 Jul – Central Pulse 32–44 Adelaide Thunderbirds
            Mon 7 Jul – West Coast Fever 54–63 New South Wales Swifts

            .

            LADDER

            ( Team … Pts … % )
            1 . Magic . . . . 20pts . 114.69%
            2 . Swifts . . . . 20pts . 111.50%
            3 . T’birds . . . 18pts . 113.00%
            4 . Vixens . . . 18pts . 108.55%


            5 . Firebirds . 14pts . 107.44%
            6 . Steel . . . .. 14pts . 100.16%
            7 . Mystics . . 10pts . . 98.12%
            8 . Tactix . . .. 10pts . . 89.53%
            9 . Fever . . . . . 5pts . . 86.80%
            10. Pulse . . . . . 1pt . . 74.06%

            Avatar photoIan Harkin
            Moderator
              Post count: 23389

              MAJOR SEMI-FINAL
              Sun 13 Jul

              Magic 56 lost to Swifts 57

              Magic:
              van Dyk 29/29 (100%)
              Tutaia 27/34 (79%)
              TOTAL 56/63 (89%)

              Swifts:
              Cox 41/48 (85%)
              Pratley 16/19 (84%)
              TOTAL 57/67 (85%)

              .

              Swifts grab home grand final
              Adrian Warren

              NSW Swifts are looking forward to hosting the inaugural trans-Tasman netball grand final in Sydney after Catherine Cox spearheaded a magnificent 57-56 major semi-final victory over minor premiers Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic yesterday. Captain Cox defied an ear-splitting cacophony from the Magic’s Hamilton home crowd to land the match-winning goal 21 seconds from the end after the hosts had wiped out a six-goal deficit with 90 seconds remaining.

              The Swifts notched their eighth straight win to continue a remarkable resurgence after being written off in many quarters both before and during the season. “No one expected us to be in the top four let alone through to the grand final so it’s absolutely amazing,” Cox said. “We’ve discussed the fact that we won the last Commonwealth Bank Trophy and would like to be the first team to win the ANZ Championship.”

              Australian squad stalwart Cox (41 goals from 48 attempts) led from the front in a thrilling, see-sawing encounter and had a terrific duel with Magic defender Casey Williams, who was named player of the tournament. The Swifts led by one at the first break and trailed by two at halftime. They cranked up their defensive work after the break, scoring the first seven goals of the third quarter and held the Magic scoreless for the first six minutes of the term.

              Their six-goal three-quarter time lead was wiped out as the Magic stormed back but centre Kimberlee Green pulled off a vital turnover, which regained possession for NSW and led to Cox’s game-winning goal. “I just went for it and was just hoping I wasn’t offside,” Green said. Swifts coach Julie Fitzgerald described Cox’s performance as fantastic but was proud of a total team effort. Magic coach Noeline Taurua, who was back working after giving birth earlier in the week, said her team was desperate after their “lights went off a bit in the third quarter.”

              .

              MINOR SEMI-FINAL
              Mon 14 Jul

              Thunderbirds 53 def Vixens 48

              Thunderbirds:
              Beveridge 38/44 (86%)
              Medhurst 15/20 (75%)
              TOTAL 53/64 (83%)

              Vixens:
              Thwaites 28/37 (76%)
              McMahon 20/21 (95%)
              TOTAL 48/58 (83%)

              PRELIMINARY FINAL
              Mon 21 Jul

              Magic 51 def Thunderbirds 49

              Magic:
              van Dyk 31/32 (97%)
              Tutaia 20/23 (87%)
              TOTAL 51/55 (93%)

              Thunderbirds:
              Beveridge 29/34 (85%)
              Medhurst 20/22 (91%)
              TOTAL 49/56 (88%)

              .

              MIGHTY MAGIC 51, TERRIFIC THUNDERBIRDS, 49
              ANZ Championship

              Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic have won a place in the inaugural final of the ANZ Championship by defeating the Adelaide Thunderbirds 51-49 in a magnificent contest at Mystery Creek, Hamilton this evening. Magic will now meet the NSW Swifts in the Grand Final next Monday evening, 28 July, at the Acer Arena in Sydney. Tickets for the Grand Final can be purchased here. Magic rid themselves of the inconsistency which has plagued them in recent weeks, and held firm against the Thunderbirds` furious final quarter onslaught.

              In tonight’s sudden-death preliminary final, Magic coach Noeline Taurua once again showed her ability to size up a situation and her willingness to trust her instincts. Her decision to re-arrange her attack line, exposed at times in last week’s match, was justified on the court, where Magic’s attackers combined to out-think and outplay the Thunderbirds` formidable defensive line for much of the game.

              Switching captain Amigene Metcalfe into centre and moving Laura Langman to the relatively unfamiliar wing attack position paved the way for more movement and better options for the Magic on attack. The Thunderbirds presented a predictable line-up with most interest surrounding influential defender Mo’onia Gerrard, who started at wing defence, but as expected found her way to goal defence once Magic’s attack began to get the upper hand.

              Both teams missed opportunities to press home an advantage in a scrappy first quarter where momentum swung back and forth. It was the Thunderbirds who found the early touch, as goal attack Natalie Medhurst found the tall figure of shooter Kate Beveridge with relative ease. Magic warmed to their task slowly as the new combination settled before a lift in intensity spurred the home team to a 17-14 first quarter advantage.

              The teams went toe-to-toe in the opening half of the second quarter with neither taking a backward step as goals went with the centre pass. Testing each other for weaknesses, it was Magic who found the odd chink in the Thunderbirds’ game. The new centre court pairing of Metcalfe and Langman strengthened as the match wore on. Langman proved the perfect foil with her ability to run all day, while Metcalfe marshaled play superbly through court with her deft touches and vision. Her pinpoint accuracy into the circle ensured quality service to the shooters under the hoop.

              Playing goal attack for the third week in a row, Irene van Dyk continued to thrive in the position as she and Tutaia got the better of the well-performed Gerrard and Geva Mentor. Despite the best efforts of Natalie von Bertouch and Medhurst, the Thunderbirds lacked the same accuracy on attack and were left playing catch-up as the Magic headed into half-time 29-25 ahead.

              Magic unleashed a withering start to the third quarter, powering to an eight-goal margin. Defensive duo Casey Williams and Jodi Tod kept the Thunderbird shooters under tight wraps as the openings on attack dried up for the visitors. The ensuing turnover ball produced a dominant passage for Magic, who dazzled on attack.

              But as has become their habit, the home team let the visitors back into the game with some sloppy play. The change of positions between Medhurst and Beveridge seemed to work as the Thunderbirds reeled in the deficit. Magic endd the quarter 41-36 ahead but, as Thunderbirds coach Jane Woodlands reminded her team during the final break, a five-goal margin is nothing at this level of netball.

              In a torrid and utterly enthralling final stanza, the Thunderbirds, on the back of fine work by Gerrard and Mentor, closed to within two goals, but could not stem the tide against a courageous Magic who showed their own fighting spirit and cool heads to withstand the onslaught.

              Avatar photoIan Harkin
              Moderator
                Post count: 23389

                GRAND FINAL
                Mon 28 Jul
                Acer Arena

                SWIFTS 65 def MAGIC 56
                (19-14, 34-28, 50-45, 65-56)

                SWIFTS:
                GS Cox
                GA Pratley
                WA Ware
                C Green
                WD Gilsenan
                GD Purcell
                GK Bulley

                Changes
                None

                Shooting stats
                Cox 41/46 (89%)
                Pratley 24/30 (80%)
                TOTAL 65/76 (86%)

                MAGIC:
                GS Tutaia
                GA van Dyk
                WA Langman
                C Metcalfe
                WD Henry
                GD Tod
                GK williams

                Changes
                During Q2 – Metalfe to WA, Langman to C
                Start Q3 – Tutaia to GA, van Dyk to GS
                Start Q4 – Tod off, Pettit on at WD, Henry to GD

                Shooting stats
                van Dyk 45/46 (98%)
                Tutaia 11/15 (73%)
                TOTAL 56/61 (92%)

                Attendance: 12,999
                Umpires: Sharon Kelly & Bronwyn Meek (Reserve: Jacqui Jashari)

                ANZ Championship Awards:
                Grand Final MVP: Cath Cox (Swifts)
                Season MVP: Romelda Aiken (Firebirds) and Sonia Mkoloma (Pulse)

                Australian Netball Awards:
                Aust ANZC Player of the Year: Cath Cox (Swifts)
                Liz Ellis Diamond: Mo’onia Gerrard (Thunderbirds)

                Swifts down Magic in grand final thriller
                Chris Paine

                The New South Wales Swifts have been crowned champions of the inaugural trans-Tasman netball competition with a 65-56 victory over the Waikato Magic in Sydney on Monday evening. The Swifts and the Waikato-based Magic fittingly provided a true trans-Tasman clash in front of 12,099 spectators at Acer Arena, representing the spirit of world netball’s finest rivalry.

                NSW, marshalled by skipper and goal shooter Catherine Cox and industrious wing defender Selina Gilsenan, stemmed a Magic revival in a frenetic final period which threatened to level the scores. The Magic successfully whittled down a five-point deficit at the final change to just two goals before a controversial off-side call robbed prolific forward Irene van Dyk of the chance to move the visitors to within a goal of the Swifts. But the turnover of the ball ignited a ferocious 14-7 run home for the Julie Fitzgerald-coached Swifts, who successfully held off the Magic to deliver NSW the inaugural championship. “I think it was just sensational and so gutsy,” Fitzgerald said following the match. “It just proves to everybody that games aren’t won on paper.”

                Cox was on song in the Swifts’ attacking circle, linking up intuitively with forward partner Susan Pratley as the hosts set a high tempo from the outset of the match. Cox shot 36 goals at 82 per cent, bettered only by van Dyk’s 45 from 46, while Pratley contributed 24. The Swifts captain was full of praise for her team, which many pundits had written off prior to the kick-off of the inaugural trans-Tasman campaign.

                “I can’t even speak… a lot of people have asked us what it is about the Swifts this year and [we’re] genuinely a very, very happy team,” Cox told Fox Sports following the match. “I looked up with about four minutes left and saw that we had a healthy margin but it still makes me nervous against a side like Magic. They’re a star-studded line-up and you know they’re going to fight right to the end and they did.”

                The Swifts were relentless across all corners of the court and Cox paid tribute to a defence threatened constantly by the imposing figure of van Dyk, but which effectively subdued the threat of her forward partner Maria Tutaia. “Our defence end has just been incredible and absolute full-court effort every single person on the court tonight,” Cox said.

                Gilsenan confirmed her retirement from netball following the end of the match and thanked her team-mates for sending her out a winner. “I thought we played well in the semi-final but we just brought a whole new level this time,” she said. “I was just so surprised with how well the girls played… we were unbelievable on court tonight.”

                .

                Magic tumble to Swifts in ANZ Championship final
                NZPA
                By: Mark Geenty

                The New South Wales Swifts confirmed their trans-Tasman netball superiority tonight as another Australian trip proved a bridge too far for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic. The Swifts finished strongly to win the final 65-56 for their ninth consecutive victory to be crowned deserved champions of the inaugural trans-Tasman competition at Sydney’s Acer Arena.

                A radar-like shooting performance by Silver Ferns shooter Irene van Dyk, who shot 45 out of 46, wasn’t enough for the Magic who trailed throughout. Two goals was the closest they got early in the final quarter. Led by their own shooting star Catherine Cox, the Swifts survived that anxious moment when they led 51-49 to draw clear, after holding a 34-28 advantage at halftime. Cox shot 41 out of 45.

                The margin blew out in the final 10 minutes as the Magic, boasting six internationals to the Swifts’ three, wilted with errors at key moments. The visitors were left rueing their 56-57 loss to the Swifts in the major semifinal which decided who would host the decider. No New Zealand side won in Australia this year, with the Magic 0-3 away from home and losing all three of their matches against the Swifts.

                It was more trans-Tasman heartache for standout defender Casey Williams, Joline Henry, Laura Langman, Maria Tutaia and van Dyk who were part of the Silver Ferns who lost 38-42 to Australia in last year’s world championships final.

                Officials had hoped the crowd might challenge the world record for a netball match — 14,339 at the same stadium in a trans-Tasman test in 2004. Still, the biggest domestic netball match of the season drew 12,099 fans, a cauldron for the Magic whose block of travelling supporters rattled cowbells and did their best to be heard.

                The Swifts went in as favourites and played like it in the opening stanzas against the nervy visitors. Magic captain Amigene Metcalfe threw a loose pass to Langman for the first turnover and Henry passed to no-one as the Swifts raced to a 7-2 early lead.It quickly became a Cox and van Dyk shootout, and both went goal for goal with a perfect 12 from 12 in the first quarter.

                The Swifts maintained their early advantage to lead 19-14 at the first break, moving Magic coach Noeline Taurua to swap centre Metcalfe and wing attack Langman.But the Swifts, with international centre-in-waiting Kimberlee Green giving great service to her shooters, stretched their lead to eight.

                Cox and Williams had an epic battle, with Williams giving her opponent more headaches as the match went on. One contest for possession ended with the pair crashing over the hoardings and into the Magic bench. In the battle of the shooters Cox was first to miss, with van Dyk going to halftime with 22 from 22 as the Swifts led by six.

                Taurua made her second switch after halftime, shifting goal attack van Dyk to her more accustomed goal shoot spot in a swap with Maria Tutaia. It seemed to pay dividends as the lob passes kept finding van Dyk and the Magic midcourt got some rhythm going. A brilliant Williams intercept switched momentum and consecutive goals narrowed the gap to 42-40 midway through the third quarter. But the Swifts stepped up the pace again and the Magic trailed 45-50 heading into the final 15 minutes.

                Magic captain Amigene Metcalfe said the scoreline was a fair reflection of how the teams performed. “We did put in a good effort but Swifts are a great side and they thoroughly deserved that win,” she said. “We just made more errors tonight, that’s been the story of our season really, not putting in a full 60-minute performance. We had some good moments but it just wasn’t consistent enough.”

                Van Dyk agreed the Swifts were relentless and her side didn’t capitalise on their occasional opportunities to close the margin. She was pleased with her own performance, particularly in an unfamiliar role. “Not too bad, running out at goal attack and then going back to where I know what I’m doing (goal shoot).”

                Swifts captain Cox was emotional after her team claimed the inaugural title. “A lot of people have asked what it is about the Swifts this year. We are genuinely just a very very happy team.”

                .

                2008 ANZ CHAMPIONSHIP LEADING SHOOTERS
                1 . Irene van Dyk – Magic – 529/570 (92.8%)
                2 . Catherine Cox – Swifts – 495/607 (81.5%)
                3 . Romelda Aiken – Firebirds – 492/547 (89.9%)
                4 . Caitlin Bassett – Fever – 452/519 (87.1%)
                5 . Caitlin Thwaites – Vixens – 422/536 (78.7%)

                Avatar photoIan Harkin
                Moderator
                  Post count: 23389

                  From YouTube user Tamati Milner:

                  Avatar photoIan Harkin
                  Moderator
                    Post count: 23389

                    2009 saw the birth of what became known as the ANZ Championship winner’s curse. The defending champs from 2008, the NSW Swifts started the season well enough. Indeed, they won the pre-season tournament, and then won two of their first four matches of the home and away season. But then suddenly things fell apart, and incredibly they failed to win another game all season. They were on the wrong end of several close finishes, but without the steady hand of the brilliant wing defence Selina Gilsenan who had retired after 2008, they ended the season on just four points. They even provided the battling wooden-spooners Central Pulse with their first-ever win in the competition. Eventually, it was left to Vixens to achieve what many had expected them to in 2008, and take the title, downing Thunderbirds in the final.

                    .

                    2009 ANZ CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS

                    Queensland Firebirds
                    AIKEN, Romelda
                    CASTRISOS, Alissa
                    DZIWOKI, Carla
                    GEITZ, Laura
                    GREENWAY, Tamsin
                    LAWSON, Janelle
                    MCCLOUD, Demelza
                    MCMENIMAN, Clare
                    NOURSE, Lauren (capt)
                    O’CONNOR, Jenny
                    STEPHENS, Peta
                    TROMPF, Kierra
                    Coach: Vicki Wilson

                    New South Wales Swifts
                    BELL, Erin
                    BULLEY, Rebecca
                    COX, Catherine (capt)
                    GREEN, Kimberlee
                    KOSTER, Emma
                    MANN, Ashlee
                    MANSELL, Jessica
                    MAY, Samantha
                    PRATLEY, Susan
                    SMITH, Kimberley
                    WARE, Vanessa
                    WILD, Amorette
                    Coach: Julie Fitzgerald

                    Melbourne Vixens
                    AGBEZE, Ama
                    CHATFIELD, Bianca (co-capt)
                    CHOKLJAT, Natasha
                    CORLETTO, Julie
                    HALLINAN, Renae
                    HOWARD, Ashlee
                    KNOTT, Kathleen
                    MCMAHON, Sharelle (co-capt)
                    NASH, Chelsey
                    THOMPSON, Brooke
                    THWAITES, Caitlin
                    WALL, Sarah
                    Coach: Julie Hoornweg

                    Adelaide Thunderbirds
                    ALTSCHWAGER, Jane
                    BEATON, Emily
                    BEATON, Georgia
                    BEVERIDGE, Kate
                    GERRARD, Mo’onia
                    MEDHURST, Natalie
                    MENTOR, Geva
                    REDDY, Bianca
                    SUTTON, Joanne
                    VON BERTOUCH, Natalie (capt)
                    VON BERTOUCH, Laura
                    WINGARD, Sheree
                    Coach: Jane Woodlands-Thompson

                    West Coast Fever
                    BASSETT, Caitlin
                    BECKETT, Emma
                    BOLTON, Shae
                    BROWNE, Madison
                    CURRAN, Johannah
                    FUHRMANN, Susan
                    GILMORE, Andrea
                    GITEAU, Bianca
                    JANZ, Josie
                    KEENE, Jasmine
                    ROSMAN, Stacey (capt)
                    SMITH, Nikala
                    Coach: Jane Searle

                    Northern Mystics
                    BOND, Stephanie
                    COOKEY, Pamela
                    DAVU, Vilimaina
                    EVERITT, Rawinia
                    GEORGE, Temepara (capt)
                    GRANT, Keisha
                    LATU, Cathrine
                    PULU, Finau
                    RASMUSSEN, Grace
                    RASMUSSEN, Rachel
                    TOPIA, Jade
                    WHITE, Debbie
                    Coach: Te Aroha Keenan

                    Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                    DE BRUIN, Leana
                    HENRY, Joline (co-capt)
                    LANGMAN, Laura
                    LEITH, Halana
                    PETTIT, Nicola
                    SHADROCK, Elias
                    SOLIA, Frances
                    TOD, Jodi
                    TUKI, Jess
                    TUTAIA, Maria
                    VAN DYK, Irene (co-capt)
                    WILLIAMS, Casey
                    Coach: Noeline Taurua

                    Central Pulse
                    AMARU-TIBBLE, Te Amo
                    BROEDERLOW, Hannah
                    BYFIELD, Althea
                    GRIFFIN, Paula
                    GUPWELL, Jamilah
                    HARRISON, Larissa
                    KING, Katie
                    LEES, Camilla
                    LICHTWARK, Cushla (capt)
                    MANU, Bessie
                    MILNER, Ngarama
                    WIESER, Neesha
                    Coach: Yvette McCausland-Durie

                    Canterbury Tactix
                    BOWDEN, Maree
                    BROWN, Jodi
                    DUNN, Rachel
                    FINCH, Phillipa
                    HALPENNY, Ellen
                    KIGHT, Charlotte
                    MKOLOMA, Sonia
                    SEYMOUR, Julie (capt)
                    SMITH, Victoria
                    THOMPSON, Anna
                    WAITITI, Kahurangi
                    WILLCOX, Larissa
                    Coach: Helen Mahon-Stroud

                    Southern Steel
                    BARRETT-CHASE, Liana
                    BURGESS, Erika
                    GRANT, Katrina
                    HUTTON, Megan
                    NAOUPU, Julianna
                    SCANLAN, Sheryl
                    SELBY-RICKIT, Te Huinga Reo
                    SHOARD, Leah
                    TELFER, Wendy
                    WILKINS, Donna
                    WILSON, Adine (capt)
                    WIPIITI, Daneka *
                    * DEHN, Megan (late-season replacement for pregnant Wipiiti)
                    Coach: Robyn Broughton

                    .

                    Ins and outs of ANZ Championship squads
                    Jane Sewell

                    Adelaide Thunderbirds
                    Gains: Jane Altschwager, Joanne Sutton, Laura von Bertouch, Sheree Wingard.
                    Losses: Alex Clarke, Mandy Edwards, Kristen Hughes, Melissa Rowland.
                    Key players: Laura von Bertouch, Kate Beveridge, Mo’onia Gerrard.
                    Expectations: Plenty. Pipped by the Magic for a place in last year’s final, the Thunderbirds will be strengthened by the return of Laura von Bertouch to the front line. Questions still remain over the wing defence spot but options in Joanne Sutton and Georgia Beaton. Internationals all over the court.

                    Melbourne Vixens
                    Gains: Ama Agbeze, Kathleeen Knott, Chelsey Nash, Brooke Thompson, Sarah Wall.
                    Losses: Madison Browne, Johannah Curran, Sharni Layton, Abby Sargent, Wendy Jacobsen (injury).
                    Key players: Sharelle McMahon, Julie Prendergast, Natasha Chokljat.
                    Expectations: The Vixens were dubbed the `dream team’ last season but fell short when it came to progressing any further than the minor semi-final. Knee surgery for McMahon will put a spring back in the veteran’s step and she will be eager to stamp her dominance in the shooting circle. Late loss of Jacobsen through injury a blow.

                    NSW Swifts
                    Gains: Samantha May, Amy Wild, Sarah Barrett, Jessica Mansell.
                    Losses: Selina Gilsenan, Adelaide Johnson, Tiffany Lincoln, Leah Shoard.
                    Key players: Catherine Cox, Kimberlee Green, Rebecca Bulley.
                    Expectations: Returning as defending champions, the Swifts know what it takes to win the ultimate prize. Have Australian internationals in both circles and the mid-court but is one of two teams which has not opted for an overseas import. If Cox continues her form from last year, the Swifts will be an obvious contender for semi-finals.

                    Queensland Firebirds
                    Gains: Demelza Fellowes, Alissa Castrisos, Carla Dziwoki.
                    Losses: Jo Morgan, Meegan Rooney, Katie Walker.
                    Key players: Laura Geitz, Fellowes, Romelda Aiken.
                    Expectations: The late withdrawal of experienced head Megan Dehn will hurt the Firebirds chances of seriously challenging for the title. Showed last season they lacked a little nous on attack to complement the firepower of Romelda Aiken.

                    West Coast Fever
                    Gains: Emma Beckett, Shae Bolton, Madison Browne, Johannah Curran, Jasmine Keene.
                    Losses: Ama Agbeze, Karen Atkinson, Ingrid Dick, Tracey Pemberton, Larrissa Willcox.
                    Key players: Madison Browne, Caitlin Bassett.
                    Expectations: The Fever have a new coach and have opted out of recruiting from overseas. One only hopes they have invested in a new stadium roof _ or they only play when it’s not raining to avoid last season’s debacle when the match against the Pulse was called off when water leaked onto the court

                    Northern Mystics
                    Gains: Debbie White, Keisha Grant, Finau Pulu, Pamela Cookey.
                    Losses: Leana de Bruin, Paula Griffin, Sheryl Scanlan, Angelina Yates.
                    Key players: Pamela Cookey, Vilimaina Davu, Temepara George.
                    Expectations: The spotlight may have been taken off the Mystics after plenty of hits to its arsenal but they have already shown in pre-season play they are ready to flick the switch and tackle the big guns. The Mystics will be relying on a slimmed-down Davu to hold up its defence after the departure of de Bruin.

                    Waikato-BOP Magic
                    Gains: Leana de Bruin, Elias Shadrock, Frances Solia, Jess Tuki.
                    Losses: Rachel Beale, Keisha Grant, Amigene Metcalfe, Brigette Tapene.
                    Key players: The Silver Ferns.
                    Expectations: They simply must reach the final again this season or New Zealand’s dreams of retaining their Commonwealth Games crown in Delhi next year will take a hit. Whether or not this group can withstand such high expectations remains to be seen, especially without veteran Amigene Metcalfe running the ship.

                    Central Pulse
                    Gains: Paula Griffin, Althea Byfield, Bessie Manu, Larissa Harrison, Te Amo Amaru-Tibble, Camilla Lees, Ngarama Milner, Hannah Broederlow, Katie King.
                    Losses: Amber Bellringer, Lauren Burgess, Kahurangi Waititi, Sonia Mkoloma, Frances Solia, Hayley Crofts, Candyce Edwards, Nardia Roselli, Susan Tagicakibau.
                    Key players: Griffin and Byfield.
                    Expectations: Anywhere but the bottom of the table would be a good result for the Pulse after the turbulent off-season for the team. Only three players from last year’s squad return and under new coach Yvette McCausland-Durie the task ahead is a big one – but the only way is up.

                    Canterbury Tactix
                    Gains: Sonia Mkoloma, Larrissa Willcox, Kahurangi Waititi.
                    Losses: Jo McCaw, Hayley Stockman, Bessie Manu, Demelza Fellowes.
                    Key players: Julie Seymour, Jodi Brown and Mkoloma.
                    Expectations: Just how the Tactix stack up with a clutch of key players returning from either injury or pregnancy will dictate their season. The Tactix will be relying on Mkoloma on defence after giving away some height in Demelza Fellowes who has returned to Australia. Middle of the table at best if they find their feet early on.

                    Southern Steel
                    Gains: Adine Wilson, Donna Wilkins, Sheryl Scanlan, Leah Shoard.
                    Losses: Jenny-May Coffin, Megan Dehn, Jess Tuki, Debbie White.
                    Key players: Wilkins, Wilson and Liana Barrett-Chase.
                    Expectations: The heat may go on the Magic and their Silver Ferns but the Steel should also sweat a little with Ferny ones Scanlan, Katrina Grant, Barrett-Chase, Daneka Wipiiti and Wendy Telfer in their mix. Add in former Ferns Wilson and Wilkins and a top four spot is expected from this side.

                    Avatar photoIan Harkin
                    Moderator
                      Post count: 23389

                      Round 1
                      Sat 4 Apr – Southern Steel 55–46 Central Pulse
                      Sat 4 Apr – Melbourne Vixens 57–44 West Coast Fever
                      Sun 5 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 48–60 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                      Mon 6 Apr – Northern Mystics 38–51 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                      Mon 6 Apr – New South Wales Swifts 62–45 Canterbury Tactix

                      Round 2
                      Sat 11 Apr – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 54–47 Southern Steel
                      Sun 12 Apr – Adelaide Thunderbirds 48–47 New South Wales Swifts
                      Sun 12 Apr – Northern Mystics 54–50 Central Pulse
                      Mon 13 Apr – Canterbury Tactix 52–44 West Coast Fever
                      Mon 13 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 51–54 Melbourne Vixens

                      Round 3
                      Sat 18 Apr – Central Pulse 46–58 Queensland Firebirds
                      Sun 19 Apr – Adelaide Thunderbirds 43–49 Melbourne Vixens
                      Sun 19 Apr – Southern Steel 52–48 Canterbury Tactix
                      Mon 20 Apr – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 63–45 New South Wales Swifts
                      Mon 20 Apr – West Coast Fever 57–46 Northern Mystics

                      Round 4
                      Sat 25 Apr – Central Pulse 54–60 West Coast Fever
                      Sat 25 Apr – Melbourne Vixens 48–31 Southern Steel
                      Sun 26 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 53–42 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                      Mon 27 Apr – Canterbury Tactix 48–53 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                      Mon 27 Apr – New South Wales Swifts 59–55 Northern Mystics

                      .

                      Firebirds bring Magic back to earth

                      New Zealand’s winless run on Australian soil in the trans-Tasman netball league continued today when the Queensland Firebirds beat Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic 53-42 in Brisbane. With the competition in its second year, New Zealand teams have yet to register a win in Australia but the Magic went into today’s match on a high after their 63-45 pasting of defending champions NSW Swifts last week. However, the Firebirds showed little respect and were rewarded with a comprehensive win, extending their lead with every quarter and making the vaunted Magic attack look increasingly ordinary.

                      While the Magic’s shooting statistics were vastly superior, the Firebirds win was built on impressive ball retention and a steady supply of quality possession into 1.96m shooter Jamaican shooter Romelda Aiken. The Firebirds also found a hard working and effective foil to Aiken in busy goal attack Alissa Castrisos, whose real worth came in her workrate in and around the circle. Aiken sunk 42 from her 55 attempts for a 76 percent success rate, while Castrisos managed 11 from 16 for 69 percent.

                      At the heart of their victory was a fiery and effective defensive effort from Laura Geitz, Demelza McCloud and Clare McMeniman. Geitz, in particular, was outstanding. Despite having only two test caps for Australia to her credit against van Dyk’s 92 for New Zealand, the 21-year-old consistently disrupted the Magic’s feed into the circle. McMeniman at wing defence was another to shine as she kept Magic wing attack Frances Solia under close scrutiny, leaving her little room to run and putting pressure on every pass.

                      Neither team started well, turnovers coming thick and fast in the first quarter and neither built any sort of rhythm in getting the ball through the midcourt. The Magic’s towering Leana de Bruin, given the nod ahead of Jodi Tod at goal defence, pressured Aiken initially to pick up some valuable early rebounds.

                      In tandem with Magic goal keep Casey Williams, whose anticipation and timing were as immaculate as ever, there was plenty of disruption on the Firebirds’ feed into the circle. But with Lauren Nourse marshalling play well from centre, and Geitz and McCloud settling into their work, the Firebirds led 12-10 at the end of the first quarter.

                      Geitz kept van Dyk and Tutaia on edge, and with the Magic’s centre court static and uncertain, the supply of ball into the circle looked hesitant. Tutaia’s confidence suffered, and she put up only 18 shots in the entire match, sinking 12 of them for a 67% success rate. Van Dyk displayed her usual consistency, missing only two shots to register a 94 percent success rate.

                      Ahead 26-22 at halftime, the Firebirds’ shooting statistics weren’t as impressive, but they shone everywhere else. After the Firebirds extended their lead to 40-32 at the end of the third quarter, Magic coach Noeline Taurua made wholesale changes in the final spell. Joline Henry was benched, Laura Langman moved to wing defence while Nic Pettit came on at centre, and Tod took over at goal defence.

                      It made no difference as the Firebirds won the final quarter 13-10 to register their second win of the ANZ Championship and move into fourth place on the table. The Magic are currently second behind the unbeaten Melbourne Vixens.

                      .

                      Round 5
                      Sat 2 May – Canterbury Tactix 48–50 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                      Sun 3 May – Melbourne Vixens 50–42 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                      Mon 4 May – Central Pulse 60–61 Northern Mystics
                      Mon 4 May – West Coast Fever 67–66 New South Wales Swifts
                      BYES: Queensland Firebirds and Southern Steel

                      Round 6
                      Sat 9 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 59–36 Central Pulse
                      Sun 10 May – New South Wales Swifts 40–51 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                      Mon 11 May – Northern Mystics 52–61 Southern Steel
                      Mon 11 May – Queensland Firebirds 56–53 West Coast Fever
                      BYES: Canterbury Tactix and Melbourne Vixens

                      Round 7
                      Sat 16 May – Canterbury Tactix 47–48 Southern Steel
                      Sun 17 May – West Coast Fever 49–74 Melbourne Vixens
                      Mon 18 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 50–35 Northern Mystics
                      Mon 18 May – New South Wales Swifts 54–58 Queensland Firebirds
                      BYES: Adelaide Thunderbirds and Central Pulse

                      Round 8
                      Sat 23 May – Canterbury Tactix 49–46 Central Pulse
                      Sun 24 May – Adelaide Thunderbirds 51–50 Queensland Firebirds
                      Mon 25 May – Southern Steel 39–48 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                      Mon 25 May – Melbourne Vixens 65–63 New South Wales Swifts
                      BYES: Northern Mystics and West Coast Fever

                      .

                      Beveridge buzzer-beater sinks Firebirds

                      Adelaide goal shooter Kate Beveridge drained a goal on the siren to hand the Thunderbirds a thrilling 51-50 victory over Queensland in their trans-Tasman netball match on Sunday. The Firebirds led by four goals with just 90 seconds remaining, but Adelaide came storming home to claim a tense win. Beveridge shot 34 goals for the match, with Natalie Medhurst contributing 11. Romelda Aiken led the Firebirds with 43 goals from 55 shots.

                      .

                      Round 9
                      Sat 30 May – Central Pulse 44–66 Southern Steel
                      Sun 31 May – Melbourne Vixens 57–53 Queensland Firebirds
                      Mon 1 Jun – Northern Mystics 47–46 Canterbury Tactix
                      Mon 1 Jun – West Coast Fever 41–61 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                      BYES: New South Wales Swifts and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

                      Round 10
                      Sat 6 Jun – Central Pulse 45–59 Canterbury Tactix
                      Sat 6 Jun – Adelaide Thunderbirds 58–34 Northern Mystics
                      Sun 7 Jun – Queensland Firebirds 62–61 New South Wales Swifts
                      Mon 8 Jun – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 55–48 Melbourne Vixens
                      Mon 8 Jun – West Coast Fever 59–48 Southern Steel

                      .

                      Swifts go down in thriller
                      AAP

                      The Queensland Firebirds have hammered the final nail into the coffin of defending champion NSW Swifts in this season’s trans-Tasman netball competition with a thrilling 62-61 victory at Brisbane Convention Centre. In a pulsating final-quarter, the lead changed several times, and the Swifts appeared headed for a morale-boosting comeback win before a series of turnovers in the last two minutes.

                      Both sides lost the ball in attack and Swifts captain Catherine Cox (39 goals from 49 attempts at 80 percent) also missed a gettable shot which would have given her side a two-goal lead with 75 seconds left. Firebirds shooter Romelda Aiken, who finished with a game high 52 goals from 61 attempts (85 percent), made them pay with two quick scores in succession in front of a boisterous capacity crowd.

                      The Swifts, who came into the match with a 2-6 record and needing a win to keep their faint play-off hopes alive, still had a chance to take the match at 61-61 but Queensland wing attack Tamsin Greenway pulled off a clutch intercept for Aiken to net in the dying seconds. The fifth-placed Firebirds’ desperate win gives them a 5-4 record in the ANZ Championship after 10 rounds.

                      .

                      Round 11
                      Sat 13 Jun – Canterbury Tactix 53–46 Queensland Firebirds
                      Sun 14 Jun – Adelaide Thunderbirds 58–39 West Coast Fever
                      Sun 14 Jun – Central Pulse 35–67 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                      Mon 15 Jun – Southern Steel 52–50 Northern Mystics
                      Mon 15 Jun – New South Wales Swifts 52–63 Melbourne Vixens

                      Round 12
                      Sat 20 Jun – Northern Mystics 57–61 Melbourne Vixens
                      Sat 20 Jun – Adelaide Thunderbirds 70–40 Central Pulse
                      Sun 21 Jun – New South Wales Swifts 60–63 West Coast Fever
                      Mon 22 Jun – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 50–46 Canterbury Tactix
                      Mon 22 Jun – Queensland Firebirds 52–50 Southern Steel

                      Round 13 (Rivalry Round)
                      Sat 27 Jun – Northern Mystics 57–59 Queensland Firebirds
                      Sun 28 Jun – West Coast Fever 38–49 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                      Sun 28 Jun – Central Pulse 53–52 New South Wales Swifts
                      Mon 29 Jun – Southern Steel 58–49 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                      Mon 29 Jun – Melbourne Vixens 63–35 Canterbury Tactix

                      .

                      Central Pulse in first trans-Tasman netball league win

                      Winless no more. The Central Pulse ended their drought in the trans-Tasman netball league with a nail-biting 53-52 victory over defending champions NSW Swifts at Porirua tonight. The Pulse gained a point last season when their match against West Coast Fever was cancelled because of a leaky roof in Perth but their win tonight was well-deserved for the manner in which they held their game together.

                      The Swifts, with just two wins this season, are a shadow of the side that won the championship last year, and as the Pulse grew stronger, the visitors cracked under the pressure. With Paula Griffin, 35 from 39, producing her best shooting game of the season, the Pulse leapt out to a 49-45 lead early in the final quarter and, apart from a couple of hiccups, defended their lead staunchly.

                      Griffin found an able ally in young fellow shooter Te Amo Amaru-Tibble who shot 18 from 21 but much of the credit must go to skipper Cushla Lichtwark for an inspirational performance. Lichtwark was in the thick of the action and her never-say-die spirit transferred to her teammates in the crucial final minutes. Lanky Jamaican defender Althea Byfield was also a thorn in Catherine Cox’ side and had the Australian shooter’s measure in the final quarter.

                      The first hint of a new-found steel in the Pulse was seen when they fought back from four goals down in the first quarter to level the scores at 15-15 when it ended. The second quarter followed a similar pattern, the Pulse falling behind by five goals, but the Swifts unable to shake them off, coming into the halftime breather ahead by just one, 28-27. The Pulse then led 37-35 at one point in the third quarter only to see the Swifts draw level 41-41 after a couple of errors gifted the opposition the ball.

                      But with Griffin and Tibble gobbling up every chance they got, the Pulse leaped out to a 49-45 lead early in the final stanza, and this time, there was no reining them in. Lichtwark, giving a victory speech for the first time this season, praised her shooters, saying they did what they had to do by finding the spaces to let the feeders pop the ball to them.

                      “Obviously, we have learned from our mistakes and put it into practice tonight. It got a bit close there at the end but we got across the line. It probably wasn’t our best work but it was good enough for a win tonight. It certainly feels better than being on the other side of the scoreboard and we have to try and make it happen more often.”

                      Swifts skipper Cox said the Pulse had made it count when they needed too. “That’s been a big issue for us this season – we get five or six up and let it slide – but it takes nothing away from them, they played a great game.” Earlier tonight, the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic was the first New Zealand side to beat an Australian side in Australia in the history of the competition when they beat West Coast Fever 49-38 in Perth.

                      Central Pulse 53 (Te Amo Amaru-Tibble 18/21, Paula Griffin 35/39) NSW Swifts 52 (Catherine Cox 26/37, Susan Pratley 26/31).

                      .

                      Round 14
                      Sat 4 Jul – Southern Steel 55–48 New South Wales Swifts
                      Sat 4 Jul – Melbourne Vixens 80–39 Central Pulse
                      Sun 5 Jul – Adelaide Thunderbirds 54–35 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                      Mon 6 Jul – Canterbury Tactix 63–56 Northern Mystics
                      Mon 6 Jul – West Coast Fever 52–54 Queensland Firebirds

                      .

                      A case of wait and see for Steel
                      Adrian Seconi

                      Waiting at the traffic lights is bad enough. Queues are worse but nothing compares to the wait the Steel must endure. The combined Otago-Southland team finished the ANZ Championship round-robin phase with a 55-48 win against the Swifts in Invercargill on Saturday. But the question is: will it be enough to reach the semifinals?The Steel’s hopes hinge on the outcome of the Firebirds-Fever game in Perth tonight.

                      The Steel and the Firebirds are battling to join the Magic, Vixens and Thunderbirds in the play-offs, and if the Fever beats the Firebirds, it will be the Steel that advances. If the Firebirds win, though, the calculators will come out and the team with the superior goal percentage will move on. The Steel has every right to feel confident. While the Firebirds beat the Fever 56-53 in Brisbane in round six, the long trip to Perth robs players of their vitality. Winning by 10 goals might be too big an ask.

                      If the Steel gets through, the players can feel safe in the knowledge they have found the kind of form which could see them upset the more fancied teams like the Magic and Vixens. The seven-goal win over the Swifts was not as polished as the nine-goal drubbing of the Thunderbirds in Dunedin last month, but it was another step up for shooter Donna Wilkins.

                      Wilkins made a slow start to the ANZ Championship but has found her range since the pregnant Daneka Wipiiti pulled out three weeks ago. She landed 36 off her 38 attempts and her combination with Megan Dehn continues to flourish. Experienced defender Megan Hutton had one of her better games this season. It was also her last game at Stadium Southland. Hutton is retiring following the ANZ Championship but reckons her battered body can get her through the play-offs if need be.

                      “I hope so,” she joked. `I’ll do what I can to get my body through it. It is a bit of a mission at the moment but I know there is an end in sight.” Hutton plans to head overseas and will also need surgery on her knee. She has a torn meniscus in her left knee. The team has plans to watch the Firebirds-Fever match at coach Robyn Broughton’s place.

                      “We’ll probably get together around at Robbie’s and watch it with no distractions and laugh, cry, scream, do whatever we have to do. Hopefully, it will go our way. The Fever should be able to do it because they’ve got the home advantage. If it does go the Firebirds’ way, let’s hope it is by just a few goals.”

                      Steel 55 (Donna Wilkins 36 from 38, Megan Dehn 19/23), Swifts 48 (Catherine Cox 29/35, Susan Pratley 19/25).

                      .

                      Firebirds edge Fever but miss finals

                      Queensland has pulled off a thrilling 54-52 win over the Fever in Perth but will play no part in the trans-Tasman netball competition finals after narrowly missing out on the top four. The win means the Firebirds have finished level on 16 competition points with Southern Steel, but they required a 10-goal win to overhaul the New Zealanders on points percentage.

                      Romelda Aiken was yet again outstanding for Queensland with 45 goals from 54 attempts, providing all but nine of the visitors’ goals. West Coast’s Caitlin Bassett finished 41 of her 53 chances on goal, while disappointing shooting from Bianca Franklin and Nikala Smith may have cost the Fever the win.

                      .

                      LADDER

                      ( Team … Pts … % )
                      1 . Vixens . . . 24pts . 125.24%
                      2 . Magic . . . . 22pts . 119.75%
                      3 . T’birds . . . 20pts . 120.55%
                      4 . Steel . . . .. 16pts . 102.64%


                      5 . Firebirds . 16pts . 101.45%
                      6 . Tactix . . .. 10pts . . 96.53%
                      7 . Fever . . . . 10pts . . 90.61%
                      8 . Mystics . . . 6pts . . 88.31%
                      9 . Swifts . . . .. 4pts . . 94.79%
                      10. Pulse . . . .. 2pts . . 75.19%

                      Avatar photoIan Harkin
                      Moderator
                        Post count: 23389

                        MAJOR SEMI-FINAL
                        Sun 12 Jul

                        Vixens 58 def Magic 43

                        Vixens:
                        Thwaites 35/41 (85%)
                        McMahon 21/22 (96%)
                        Howard 2/2 (100%)
                        TOTAL 58/65 (89%)

                        Magic:
                        van Dyk 24/25 (96%)
                        Tutaia 19/23 (83%)
                        TOTAL 43/48 (90%)

                        MINOR SEMI-FINAL
                        Mon 13 Jul

                        Thunderbirds 51 def Steel 45

                        Thunderbirds:
                        Beveridge 31/36 (86%)
                        Medhurst 20/21 (95%)
                        TOTAL 51/57 (90%)

                        Steel:
                        Dehn 23/27 (85%)
                        Wilkins 22/24 (92%)
                        TOTAL 45/51 (88%)

                        PRELIMINARY FINAL
                        Sun 19 Jul

                        Magic 37 lost to Thunderbirds 51

                        Magic:
                        van Dyk 25/26 (96%)
                        Tutaia 12/17 (71%)
                        TOTAL 37/43 (86%)

                        Thunderbirds:
                        Beveridge 28/30 (93%)
                        Medhurst 22/25 (88%)
                        Altschwager 1/2 (50%)
                        TOTAL 51/57 (90%)

                        .

                        THUNDERBIRDS 51, ROLL MAGIC 37 IN PRELIMINARY FINAL
                        ANZ Championship

                        A well-oiled Adelaide Thunderbirds strode into the final of the ANZ Championship with a comprehensive 51-37 dismantling of Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in the Preliminary Final in Hamilton tonight. Despite a better performance from the home team on this occasion, the Thunderbirds backed up from their 19-goal win over Magic two weeks ago with another forceful outing.
                        There were few chinks in the Thunderbirds` arsenal. Peaking at the right time, their relentless pressure restricted the Magic’s opportunities and eventually ruled them out of the equation. The Thunderbirds will now meet the Melbourne Vixens in the Grand Final next Sunday.

                        There was a slight surprise as the Magic opted to start with Irene van Dyk at goal attack, leaving Maria Tutaia to settle into the game from goalshoot. The home team also welcomed back wing attack Frances Solia from injury. There were no surprises in the strong line-up presented by the Thunderbirds who have found momentum at the tail end of the season.

                        It was a tough and uncompromising start by both teams with the respective defensive efforts ensuring a low scoring first stanza. The teams had to resort to patient build-ups on attack as flow was stifled by intense defensive pressure. Both sets of shooters coped with the close attention to return 100 percent records. The Thunderbirds` 11-8 first quarter lead reflected the number of attempts by each team.

                        Four straight goals by the visitors on the resumption pushed the Thunderbirds out to a five goal buffer on the back of inspiring play from captain Natalie von Bertouch and playmaking goal attack Natalie Medhurst. Casey Williams and Jodi Tod inspired a resurgence from Magic on the back of strong midcourt defence from Laura Langman, Solia and van Dyk who did an admirable job of slowing the dangerous Thunderbirds` attacking line.

                        But the Thunderbirds were quick to pounce on lapses thrown up by Magic as both teams threw everything into the do-or-die clash. With the impressive Medhurst creating the openings, the Thunderbirds punished Magic for any indiscretion with clinical efficiency and accurate finishing under the hoop. Too many turnovers counted against Magic with shooters van Dyk and Tutaia being starved of possession. The Thunderbirds were all composure on the back of a steady flow of possession to hold a handy 24-18 half-time lead.

                        Again it was the visitors who were on-song early to make the best of starts to the third stanza. It prompted a switch of positions between the two Magic shooters, but they made little headway against the rampant Thunderbirds, who could do little wrong as they marched out to a 10-goal advantage.

                        Brilliant defensive work from Geva Mentor, Mo’onia Gerrard and Jo Sutton squeezed Magic’s ball supply as the home team struggled to penetrate through their attacking third. Restricting Magic to just eight goals while scoring 14 of their own sealed a big quarter for the Thunderbirds who marched into three-quarter time well in control at 38-26. Magic reverted to a helter skelter last quarter which provided plenty of thrills and spills, but there was no stopping the Thunderbirds` superior accuracy and finishing on the day.

                        Avatar photoIan Harkin
                        Moderator
                          Post count: 23389

                          GRAND FINAL
                          Sun 26 Jul
                          Hisense Arena

                          VIXENS 54 def THUNDERBIRDS 46
                          (13-13, 27-19, 41-32, 54-46)

                          VIXENS:
                          GS Thwaites
                          GA McMahon
                          WA Nash
                          C Chokljat
                          WD Hallinan
                          GD Corletto
                          GK Chatfield

                          Changes
                          None

                          Shooting stats
                          Thwaites 31/39 (79%)
                          McMahon 23/28 (82%)
                          TOTAL 54/67 (81%)

                          THUNDERBIRDS:
                          GS Beveridge
                          GA Medhurst
                          WA E.Beaton
                          C N.von Bertouch
                          WD Sutton
                          GD Gerrard
                          GK Mentor

                          Changes
                          Start Q3 – Sutton off, G.Beaton on at WD, E.Beaton off, L.von Bertouch on at WA
                          During Q3 – G.Beaton to GD, Gerrard to WD

                          Shooting stats
                          Beveridge 28/34 (82%)
                          Medhurst 18/23 (78%)
                          TOTAL 46/57 (81%)

                          Attendance: 9,500

                          ANZ Championship Awards:
                          Grand Final MVP: Sharelle McMahon (Vixens)
                          Season MVP: Romelda Aiken (Firebirds)

                          Australian Netball Awards:
                          Aust ANZC Player of the Year: Nat von Bertouch (Thunderbirds)
                          Liz Ellis Diamond: Julie Corletto (Vixens)

                          .

                          MELBOURNE VIXENS FULFIL THE DREAM, 54-46
                          ANZ Championship

                          The Melbourne Vixens backed up a super-consistent season to win the 2009 ANZ Championship with a decisive 54-46 defeat the Adelaide Thunderbirds in today’s Grand Final in Melbourne. In front of a full house of 9500, the Vixens made their move in a telling second quarter and from there never relinquished their grip. Slick and accurate on attack and suffocating on defence, the home side produced a complete team effort which left the Thunderbirds struggling. It was the third win over the Thunderbirds for the Vixens this season, their only blemish during the fourth-month competition being a loss to Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in Round 10.

                          Advancing directly to the Grand Final after winning the Major Semi-Final, the week off did little to deter the Vixens from the task at hand. The Thunderbirds could not repeat the strong form which saw them advance through the play-offs and were outplayed by a superior performance from the Vixens today. The opening quarter provided all the hallmarks of a Grand Final as both teams put their seasons on the line with a tight and testing start.

                          Neither team established ascendancy as both held strong on attack despite early nerves, and rock solid defence created missed opportunities at both ends of the court. Turnovers were limited with both teams on the whole treasuring their possession, but openings into the circle took patience. The long bomb into shooter Kate Beveridge worked well for the Thunderbirds, while the dashing Sharelle McMahon took up most of the Vixens` scoring opportunities. The 13-all deadlock at the end of the first quarter proved a fair result of an even and testing opening stanza as both teams took time to settle.

                          An injury scare to McMahon provided the impetus for the Vixens to steal a decisive march in the second quarter. The Vixens co-captain was able to play on after rolling an ankle as her shooting partner Caitlin Thwaites stepped up, her trademark accuracy returning after a slow start. With Natasha Chokljat marshalling the Vixen’s attacking momentum, crack defensive duo Bianca Chatfield and Julie Corletto gained the upper hand over the Thunderbirds shooters.

                          It was the home team who displayed more efficiency and effectiveness with the ball, while the visitors struggled to make inroads on the back of a high penalty count and crucial lapses. The Thunderbirds were unable to convert their opportunities and were held to just six goals as the Vixens peeled off 14 to lead 27-19 at half-time.

                          Looking for more penetration and drive on attack, the Thunderbirds looked to Laura von Bertouch off the bench while also added some starch to their defence line by introducing Georgia Beaton for the second half. Both changes seemed to backfire initially as McMahon shone for the Vixens, creating the openings in the attacking third and under the hoop as Thwaites provided the finishing touches. The Thunderbirds` defensive unit struggled to contain the control of the Vixens as the home team waltzed out to a 13-goal lead before the visitors made a late rally.

                          Four straight goals helped the Thunderbirds chip into the deficit, but it was the Vixens who held all the cards, leaving them with one hand on the trophy when they led 41-32 at three-quarter time. The Vixens maintained their dominance in the run home, as their control, desire and consistency proved decisive in repelling everything the Thunderbirds could throw at them.

                          .

                          Vixens overpower Thunderbirds
                          AAP/ABC

                          Melbourne Vixens have overpowered Adelaide Thunderbirds to win the trans-Tasman netball championship by eight goals at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena today. Shooters Caitlin Thwaites and Sharelle McMahon dominated for the Vixens, particularly in the second quarter when they each netted seven goals. Melbourne outscored the Thunderbirds by eight goals for the quarter to set up the win.

                          McMahon was named player of the match, finishing with 23 goals from 28 attempts. As the heat was turned up, predictably McMahon was the fire-starter. Her mid-court clash with Adelaide defender Mo’onia Gerrard early in the second quarter sparked both her and the Vixens into life after she took exception to a heavy foul from the T-Birds player.

                          “There had been a lot of talk in the media about the battle between Mo’onia and myself,” McMahon told ABC Grandstand. “From my point of view I needed to keep focused on the team and working on the things that work for us. I don’t like getting too caught up in those contests because that doesn’t work for me. It was a team effort. Everyone worked really hard to achieve what we did.”

                          The Vixens kept their lead between seven and 13 goals for the rest of the match and had contributors all over the court, with Renae Hallinan’s drive off wing defence and Bianca Chatfield’s defensive work particularly influential. McMahon said the Vixens were not phased by the weight of expectations going into the final as favourites. “I think the expectation is more from within this group,” she said. “We knew the things we needed to do and they were the things we focused on, rather than what everyone else thinks.”

                          .

                          2009 Grand Final on YouTube
                          (user: outofyourtime)

                          Q1
                          . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8mL3gmm9xI
                          . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBh-2aRnJak

                          Q2
                          . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5EGBfMaxOk
                          . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aARJANxsBnM

                          Q3
                          . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxbADF3NA3U
                          . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7ENhglfrgU

                          Q4
                          . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj4NvbAMI5Q
                          . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG0SjYXgkhU

                          Avatar photoIan Harkin
                          Moderator
                            Post count: 23389

                            2010 saw another remarkable year for the NSW Swifts. Winners in 2008, then second last in 2009, they went through the entire 2010 regular season undefeated and looked like claiming the title once again. But incredibly, they failed to even make the grand final. Firstly, they were stunned by a fiercely determined Adelaide Thunderbirds team in the major semi-final, and then also beaten by Magic in the preliminary final. The eventual grand final success of the Thunderbirds team which featured two imports led to a change in the import rule for the 2011 season. It was a second grand final defeat for a star-studded Magic team in three years, with New Zealand fans beginning to wonder if the title would ever head their way.

                            .

                            2010 ANZ CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS

                            Queensland Firebirds
                            AIKEN, Romelda
                            CASTRISOS, Alissa
                            CROFT, Sophie
                            GEITZ, Laura
                            MCMENIMAN, Clare
                            MEDHURST, Natalie
                            NOURSE, Lauren (capt)
                            RUSSELL, Jacqui
                            SCHERIAN, Laura
                            STEEL, Amy
                            TROMPF, Kierra
                            WALL, Sarah
                            Coach: Roselee Jencke

                            New South Wales Swifts
                            BORGER, Kimberly
                            BRAZILL, Ashleigh
                            BULLEY, Rebecca
                            COX, Catherine (capt)
                            GREEN, Kimberlee
                            MAY, Samantha
                            MKOLOMA, Sonia
                            PRATLEY, Susan
                            SMITH, Kimberley
                            TAIRI, Courtney
                            WARE, Vanessa
                            WILD, Amorette
                            Coach: Julie Fitzgerald

                            Melbourne Vixens
                            CALDWELL, Tegan
                            CHATFIELD, Bianca (co-capt)
                            CHOKLJAT, Natasha
                            CORLETTO, Julie
                            HALLINAN, Renae
                            JACOBSEN, Wendy
                            KNOTT, Kathleen
                            MCMAHON, Sharelle (co-capt)
                            NASH, Chelsey
                            RICHARDS, Kara
                            THOMPSON, Brooke
                            THWAITES, Caitlin
                            * WILSON, Micaela (injury replacement player)
                            Coach: Julie Hoornweg

                            Adelaide Thunderbirds
                            BEATON, Emily
                            BEATON, Georgia
                            BELL, Erin
                            BEVERIDGE, Kate
                            BORREGO, Carla
                            GERRARD, Mo’onia
                            KEENE, Jasmine
                            LAYTON, Sharni
                            MENTOR, Geva
                            SUTTON, Joanne
                            VON BERTOUCH, Natalie (capt)
                            WINGARD, Sheree
                            Coach: Jane Woodlands-Thompson

                            West Coast Fever
                            BASSETT, Caitlin
                            BECKETT, Emma
                            BOLTON, Shae
                            BROWNE, Madison
                            CURRAN, Johannah (capt)
                            EBBOTT, Sarah
                            FUHRMANN, Susan
                            GILMORE, Andrea
                            JANZ, Josie
                            LAWSON, Janelle
                            NEAL, Ashleigh
                            SHOARD, Leah
                            Coach: Jane Searle

                            Northern Mystics
                            BYFIELD, Althea
                            COFFIN, Jenny-May
                            CULLEN, Kayla
                            GEORGE, Temepara (capt)
                            HENRY, Joline
                            LATU, Cathrine
                            MES, Bailey
                            PULU, Finau
                            RASMUSSEN, Grace
                            TONE-FITZPATRICK, Sulu
                            TUTAIA, Maria
                            WILLCOX, Larrissa
                            Coach: Te Aroha Keenan

                            Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                            BROWN, Jodi
                            CHRISTOPHERS, Amy
                            LANGMAN, Laura (capt)
                            LUND, Tanya
                            SHADROCK, Elias
                            SOLIA, Frances
                            SCHOLZ, Peta *
                            TOD, Jodi
                            TUKI, Jess
                            VAN DYK, Irene
                            WAITITI, Kahurangi
                            WILLIAMS, Casey
                            * CLARKE, Jade (injury replacement player)
                            Coach: Noeline Taurua

                            Central Pulse
                            AGBEZE, Ama
                            ALTSCHWAGER, Jane (capt)
                            AMARU-TIBBLE, Te Amo
                            CASSIDY, Alanah
                            GRANT, Katrina
                            GRIFFIN, Paula
                            GUPWELL, Jamilah
                            LEES, Camilla
                            LICHTWARK, Cushla
                            MANU, Bessie
                            MILNER-OLSEN, Ngarama
                            PRITCHARD, Daya
                            Coach: Yvette McCausland-Durie

                            Canterbury Tactix
                            BOWDEN, Maree (capt)
                            CROFTS, Hayley
                            FINCH, Phillipa
                            GALVAN, Anna
                            HALPENNY, Ellen
                            KIGHT, Charlotte
                            PITMAN, Chelsea
                            POFF, Hannah
                            SMITH, Ashley
                            SMITH, Victoria
                            THOMPSON, Anna
                            TRIP, Jo
                            * HUTTON, Megan (In jury replacement player)
                            * MITCHELL, Angela (Injury replacement player)
                            Coach: Helen Mahon-Stroud

                            Southern Steel
                            BARRETT-CHASE, Liana
                            BURGESS, Erika
                            DE BRUIN, Leana
                            DEHN, Megan (capt)
                            MOYNIHAN, Emma
                            NAOUPU, Julianna
                            SAUNDERS, Hayley
                            SCANLAN, Sheryl
                            SELBY-RICKIT, Te Huinga Reo
                            TELFER, Wendy
                            TOPIA, Jade
                            WIPIITI, Daneka
                            Coach: Robyn Broughton

                            .

                            Mystics big movers in transtasman league
                            NZPA

                            Northern Mystics confirmed their status as the most energetic of the New Zealand netball franchises after today’s release of teams for the 2010 transtasman league. Only four players remain from the 12 who last year finished eighth out of the 10 teams in the ANZ Championship. Silver Ferns midcourt pivot Temepara George remains, as does goal shoot Cathrine Latu, who finished last year’s league with an impressive 86 per cent success rate from 13 games. Only long-serving New Zealand goal shoot Irene van Dyk bettered that over the full season with 93 per cent.

                            Defensive utility Finau Pulu is still on the Mystics’ roster, as is attacking midcourter and national under-21 representative Grace Rasmussen. Heading those making the trek to Auckland are Silver Ferns Maria Tutaia and Joline Henry, both formerly of Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic. Joining them are New Zealand teammate Larrissa Willcox, who played for Canterbury Tactix this season, and Jamaican defender Althea Byfield, moving from Central Pulse. Former Silver Fern turned television commentator Jenny May-Coffin has also returned to the franchise. Among missing from last year’s roster are Stephanie Bond, Vili Davu, Rawinia Everitt, Keshia Grant, Rachel Rasmussen, Debbie White and shooter Jade Topia, who has signed for Southern Steel.

                            Bottom-of-the-table Central Pulse have also been busy, making the most of a rescue package aimed at supporting any team finishing ninth or 10th for consecutive seasons. Despite their first transtasman league win in the penultimate round of this year’s league – a 53-52 win over NSW Swifts – the Pulse were the only team able to apply for concessions in the 2010 season. Among the measures were the right to contract two non-eligible players, and to apply for a $25,000 grant from the Transtasman Netball League.

                            The Pulse have lost Byfield, but have made some strong acquisitions, including Silver Ferns defender Katrina Grant from the Steel. Adelaide Thunderbirds shooter Jane Altschwager boosts the Pulse’s shooting line-up while English defender Ama Agbeze has joined the Wellington-based team from Melbourne Vixens.

                            Canterbury Tactix look to have fared the worst in the transfer window, losing shooter Jodi Brown to Magic and Sonia Mkoloma to NSW Swifts, as well as Willcox. On the plus side, they have picked up Australian defender Peta Stephens from Queensland Firebirds, and retained Silver Ferns Maree Bowden and Anna Thompson.

                            The Magic, runners-up in 2008, have maintained a solid squad despite the loss of Henry, Tutaia and Leana De Bruin (Steel), with the inclusion of Australian defender Peta Scholz further strengthening their line-up.

                            The Steel will be without shooter Donna Wilkins, but have a talented young replacement in Topia as well as a potentially destructive defensive pairing in Sheryl Scanlan and De Bruin.

                            .

                            Firebirds thrilled with Medhurst boost

                            Goalkeeper Laura Geitz says the Queensland Firebirds could explode into finals contention with the recent acquisition of star forward Natalie Medhurst. Medhurst will partner Jamaican goal sneak Romelda Aiken up front after joining the Firebirds from the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

                            Geitz says Queensland, which begins preseason training this month, is hoping to make the netball finals for the first time with Medhurst in the side. “She’s definitely been a marquee player for Adelaide in the last couple of years and obviously an Australian representative herself so she’ll combine really quite nicely with Romelda there in the goal circle.”

                            The Firebirds have five new players in total in their side for the 2010 season, including three debutants. Geitz says the team is targeting an all-important top four finish. “When it comes to missing out on a top four position by percentage it certainly leaves a pretty bad taste in your mouth,” she said. “We’re aiming for nothing less than a top four finish.”

                            Avatar photoIan Harkin
                            Moderator
                              Post count: 23389

                              Round 1
                              Sat 20 Mar – Northern Mystics 55–52 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                              Sun 21 Mar – Queensland Firebirds 47–50 New South Wales Swifts
                              Sun 21 Mar – Southern Steel 46–44 West Coast Fever
                              Mon 22 Mar – Canterbury Tactix 54–48 Central Pulse
                              Mon 22 Mar – Melbourne Vixens 48–40 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

                              Round 2
                              Sat 27 Mar – Central Pulse 50–61 Northern Mystics
                              Sat 27 Mar – Adelaide Thunderbirds 38–45 New South Wales Swifts
                              Sun 28 Mar – Melbourne Vixens 53–46 Queensland Firebirds
                              Mon 29 Mar – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 47–41 Southern Steel
                              Mon 29 Mar – West Coast Fever 62–44 Canterbury Tactix

                              Round 3
                              Sat 3 Apr – Northern Mystics 46–55 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                              Sun 4 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 40–41 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                              Sun 4 Apr – Canterbury Tactix 53–56 New South Wales Swifts
                              Mon 5 Apr – Southern Steel 56–44 Central Pulse
                              Mon 5 Apr – West Coast Fever 50–64 Melbourne Vixens

                              Round 4 (Rivalry Round)
                              Sat 10 Apr – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 55–50 West Coast Fever
                              Sat 10 Apr – New South Wales Swifts 50–36 Central Pulse
                              Sun 11 Apr – Adelaide Thunderbirds 53–36 Southern Steel
                              Mon 12 Apr – Canterbury Tactix 49–64 Melbourne Vixens
                              Mon 12 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 71–54 Northern Mystics

                              Round 5
                              Sat 17 Apr – Central Pulse 40–75 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                              Sun 18 Apr – New South Wales Swifts 55–43 West Coast Fever
                              Sun 18 Apr – Canterbury Tactix 36–53 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                              Mon 19 Apr – Southern Steel 41–56 Queensland Firebirds
                              Mon 19 Apr – Melbourne Vixens 62–51 Northern Mystics

                              Round 6
                              Sat 24 Apr – Northern Mystics 59–50 Canterbury Tactix
                              Sun 25 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 62–41 Melbourne Vixens
                              Mon 26 Apr – Central Pulse 40–64 Southern Steel
                              Mon 26 Apr – West Coast Fever 37–57 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                              BYES: New South Wales Swifts and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

                              .

                              Horror injury run for Canterbury Tactix
                              JANE SEWELL

                              Attacker Chelsea Pitman’s season looks to be over after she was felled by a clumsy contact by Mystics defender Larrissa Willcox in the 50-59 loss in Auckland on Saturday. Suspected ligament damage to her left knee is likely to keep the midcourter-cum-shooter off court for the rest of the ANZ Championship season. It was the Tactix’ third major injury of the season. They lost import defender Peta Stephens before the competition started and goal keep Anna Galvan broke her wrist in round two and is not expected back on court until after their bye round next month.

                              Tactix chief executive Anthony Dawson said the franchise would look at the options to replace Pitman and one of those could be applying to Netball New Zealand for an import player. “If we can find a player that serves our needs and can give us a good boost then we’ll certainly go after them but, of course, it’s got to be approved by Netball NZ,” he said.

                              The Tactix attempted to bring in English shooter Jo Harten when Stephens was ruled out for the season, but were turned down by NNZ. “We’re coming ninth with only one win, so we want to look at someone who can give us a boost. Jo would certainly be a player who could do that for us, but again our hands are tied.” Dawson said the Tactix would be “aggressively” searching for a replacement for Pitman this week, with a game against the Southern Steel in Christchurch on Saturday scheduled.

                              Their defeat to the Mystics followed a similar script to their other losses this season, with one poor quarter ruining their chances of victory. The Mystics had the game under control by quarter time, with an 18-10 lead and their import player Althea Byfield menacing the Tactix attack end. The Jamaican defender picked up eight deflections and five intercepts in just the first 30 minutes of play. However, it was the work of her team-mates outside the circle that set up Byfield’s ball-stealing opportunities and forced the Tactix into errors.

                              As in previous games, the Tactix matched their rivals in the remaining three quarters. A switch of positions on defence helped stem the flow of ball into the Mystics circle, with Charlotte Kight moving out to goal defence and Victoria Smith back to keep. Kight added more drive through court in an area the Tactix struggled with for much of the game. Smith was benched at halftime, when the Tactix trailed 21-30, with Megan Hutton’s long reach preferred in a bid to mess with Cathrine Latu’s radar.

                              The Queensland Firebirds have shaken up the trans-Tasman netball league by dishing out a record hiding of defending champions Melbourne Vixens at the Brisbane Convention Centre yesterday. The previously-unbeaten Vixens were thrashed 62-41 – eight goals more than their worst ever loss in three seasons of dominance.

                              Tactix 50 (Ellen Halpenny 32/37, Anna Thompson 18/23) Mystics 59 (Cathrine Latu 33/34, Maria Tutaia 26/31).

                              .

                              Round 7
                              Sat 1 May – Canterbury Tactix 38–66 Southern Steel
                              Sun 2 May – New South Wales Swifts 56–42 Melbourne Vixens
                              Mon 3 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 49–46 Northern Mystics
                              Mon 3 May – Queensland Firebirds 63–57 West Coast Fever
                              BYES: Adelaide Thunderbirds and Central Pulse

                              Round 8
                              Sat 8 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 56–44 Central Pulse
                              Sun 9 May – New South Wales Swifts 60–44 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                              Mon 10 May – Southern Steel 49–52 Northern Mystics
                              Mon 10 May – Melbourne Vixens 53–56 West Coast Fever
                              BYES: Queensland Firebirds and Canterbury Tactix

                              Round 9
                              Sat 15 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 72–52 Canterbury Tactix
                              Sun 16 May – Adelaide Thunderbirds 58–47 Melbourne Vixens
                              Mon 17 May – Northern Mystics 61–60 Central Pulse
                              Mon 17 May – New South Wales Swifts 44–40 Queensland Firebirds
                              BYES: West Coast Fever and Southern Steel

                              Round 10
                              Sat 22 May – Central Pulse 45–43 Canterbury Tactix
                              Sun 23 May – Adelaide Thunderbirds 53–51 Queensland Firebirds
                              Mon 24 May – Southern Steel 52–47 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                              Mon 24 May – West Coast Fever 52–61 New South Wales Swifts
                              BYES: Melbourne Vixens and Northern Mystics

                              Round 11
                              Sat 29 May – Northern Mystics 48–54 New South Wales Swifts
                              Sun 30 May – Adelaide Thunderbirds 58–34 Canterbury Tactix
                              Sun 30 May – Southern Steel 52–39 Melbourne Vixens
                              Mon 31 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 54–55 Queensland Firebirds
                              Mon 31 May – West Coast Fever 63–45 Central Pulse

                              Round 12
                              Sat 5 Jun – Northern Mystics 62–53 West Coast Fever
                              Sat 5 Jun – Queensland Firebirds 52–42 Central Pulse
                              Sun 6 Jun – Melbourne Vixens 43–54 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                              Mon 7 Jun – Southern Steel 53–39 Canterbury Tactix
                              Mon 7 Jun – New South Wales Swifts 60–43 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

                              Round 13
                              Sat 12 Jun – Central Pulse 52–58 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
                              Sat 12 Jun – Melbourne Vixens 46–58 New South Wales Swifts
                              Sun 13 Jun – Adelaide Thunderbirds 54–45 West Coast Fever
                              Mon 14 Jun – Northern Mystics 43–50 Southern Steel
                              Mon 14 Jun – Queensland Firebirds 75–32 Canterbury Tactix

                              Round 14
                              Sat 19 Jun – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 53–44 Adelaide Thunderbirds
                              Sun 20 Jun – West Coast Fever 67–59 Queensland Firebirds
                              Sun 20 Jun – Canterbury Tactix 47–58 Northern Mystics
                              Mon 21 Jun – Central Pulse 48–49 Melbourne Vixens
                              Mon 21 Jun – New South Wales Swifts 55–38 Southern Steel

                              .

                              Firebirds’ season ended by Fever
                              AAP

                              West Coast Fever have cost the Queensland Firebirds a trans-Tasman netball competition finals spot for the second straight season, winning 67-59 at Challenge Stadium. Last year, the Firebirds could only beat the Fever by two goals when needing to win by double-figures to book a finals spot in the final game and the situation was similar this time around.

                              Queensland needed to win on Sunday and hope the New South Wales Swifts remained undefeated by beating the Southern Steel at home on Monday night. However, none of that mattered when the Fever stunned them with just their fourth win of the season, winning by eight goals to end their season on a high and inflicting disappointment on the Firebirds. The league’s top four will now consist of the Swifts, Adelaide Thunderbirds, Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic and the Steel, with the semi finals next weekend.

                              It was a terrific shooting performance by the Fever with Caitlin Bassett scoring 44 goals from 50 attempts and Leah Shoard 23 from 27. Romelda Aiken hit 36 goals for the Firebirds and Natalie Medhurst 23. The Fever raced out to a fast start scoring the first five goals of the game and led by as much as seven before Medhurst, in particular, got the Firebirds back into the contest.

                              Queensland hit the front for the first time with just over five minutes remaining in the first half and held onto a 32-30 advantage at the break. It appeared the Firebirds would take control in the third period when they got to a three-goal lead, but the Fever would not be denied and scored 11 of the last 15 goals of the quarter to lead 49-45 at the last change. The Firebirds were never able to get close in the final quarter as the Fever dominated to lead by as much as 10 and win by eight.

                              .

                              SWIFTS UNSTOPPABLE IN SYDNEY
                              ANZ Championship

                              History was made in the Sydney Olympic Park tonight as the NSW Swifts became the first team to storm through an ANZ Championship season unscathed with a decisive 56-38 victory over fellow finalists, the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel. In the final game of the 2010 regular season, both teams had booked their top-four spots in the Finals Series, but both had something riding on the outcome of the game. The Swifts were aiming to keep their stunning unbeaten record, and the Steel were desperate to win the match, climb over the Waikato / Bay of Plenty Magic, and host a semifinal for the first time in championship history.

                              Now, the Steel will play the Magic in Auckland in a week’s time, and the Swifts will go into their semifinal against the Adelaide Thunderbirds on Sunday as clear favourites. It was an absolutely unconventional start to the game: Daneka Wipiiti immediately opened the scoring with a long-range swoosh, but the following seven minutes were marked by a melee of mistakes for both sides. The Swifts scored five consecutive goals before the Steel could add another to their tally, but both teams continued to be guilty of a slow and stuttered start.

                              Swifts shooters Catherine Cox and playmaker Susan Pratley began to get comfortable under the post, when a handy corridor opened up down the middle of the court, and the gap slipped out to six, 15-9, at the first quarter break. Wipiiti, still putting it up from distance, and Megan Dehn did not miss a shot in the first spell, but the Steel’s downfall was getting the ball safely into their hands.

                              In the next phase, it was all Steel, as they added five to the Swifts’ one – thanks in large part to close defence attentions of Leana de Bruin and Te Hunga Reo Selby-Rickitt. But as seemed part and parcel of the first half of this game, the power balance swung back the Swifts’ way to lead by eight halfway through the quarter. Another surge by the Steel approaching halftime saw them close within four, 27-23 – determined not to let the chance of a home semifinal slip away.

                              In the midcourt, the battles for supremacy intensified with the Swifts’ Kim Smith and the Steel’s Liana Barrett-Chase frequently tangling on and off the ball. Sonia Mkoloma and Rebecca Bulley turned up the heat on defence, as the Steel appeared to tire, and the gap reached double figures, 40-29, going into the final spell.

                              The difference ballooned out as the game wore on; even at the finish, when it was obvious the Swifts had the game in the bag, Cox and Pratley continued to fire the ball through the hoop – with Pratley playing a major hand in the outcome with 27 from 32.

                              .

                              LADDER

                              ( Team … Pts … % )
                              1 . Swifts . . . . 26pts . 123.51%
                              2 . T’birds . . . 18pts . 116.21%
                              3 . Magic . . . . 18pts . 108.95%
                              4 . Steel . . . .. 16pts . 107.87%


                              5 . Firebirds . 14pts . 113.99%
                              6 . Mystics . .. 14pts . . 99.15%
                              7 . Vixens . . . 12pts . . 95.74%
                              8 . Fever . . . . . 8pts . . 94.57%
                              9 . Pulse . . . . . 2pts . . 80.05%
                              10. Tactix . . . . 2pts . . 74.25%

                              Avatar photoIan Harkin
                              Moderator
                                Post count: 23389

                                MAJOR SEMI-FINAL
                                Sun 27 Jun

                                Swifts 38 lost to Thunderbirds 52

                                Swifts:
                                Pratley 22/31 (71%)
                                Cox 9/16 (56%)
                                Wild 7/8 (88%)
                                TOTAL 38/55 (69%)

                                Thunderbirds:
                                Borrego 37/43 (86%)
                                Bell 12/16 (75%)
                                Beveridge 2/2 (100%)
                                Keene 1/1 (100%)
                                TOTAL 52/62 (84%)

                                .

                                THUNDERBIRDS BLAST INTO FINAL
                                ANZ Championship

                                The Adelaide Thunderbirds will host the Grand Final of the ANZ Championship after producing the upset of the season with a stunning 52-38 win over the NSW Swifts in Sydney today. Apart from the opening few minutes, the Thunderbirds dominated today’s outing to leave the seemingly untouchable Swifts with their first loss of the season. The visitors had done their homework well, heaping pressure on a Swifts team unaccustomed to being under the pump and who had little reply.

                                Luckily for the Swifts, they get a second chance after finishing in the top spot after the regular season and will meet the winner of the Magic v Steel match to decide the second finalist. There were a couple of surprises in the Thunderbirds line-up with Erin Bell getting the nod ahead of Kate Beveridge at goal attack and Emily Beaton taking the wing attack’s bib. Not surprisingly, the Swifts remained unchanged from their recent successes.

                                Initially, the changes looked to have backfired on the Thunderbirds, who made a nervous start. Mistakes in the Thunderbirds attack line handed the ball to the Swifts as shooters Catherine Cox and Susan Pratley helped the home team to a handy lead. However, the Thunderbirds gradually worked their way into the game on the back of a strong return from shooter Carla Borrego and a huge defensive lift across the court.

                                Contesting every ball and shutting down their opponents’ space, the Thunderbirds overcame their jittery start to place all the pressure back on the home team. Clearly rattled, the Swifts showed signs not seen so far this season as they struggled to get their attack working. Quick on the transition through court, the Thunderbirds made the most of their opportunities to lead 14-10 at the first break.

                                The Thunderbirds’ intensity continued on the resumption, the smothering through court defence causing a host of turnovers from the Swifts. In-circle defenders Geva Mentor and Mo’onia Gerrard were always a menacing presence with the accuracy of Cox and Pratley falling away under the onslaught. Bell and Beaton responded to their call-ups with forceful and dominating efforts as the score continued to balloon in the Thunderbirds’ favour. The error and turnover rates showed no signs of abating for the home team as the pressure took its toll.

                                With their confidence high, the visitors took complete control of proceedings, finding a seamless and easy passage through court as Bell and Borrego provided the finishing touches under the hoop. Nothing came off for the shell-shocked Swifts as the Thunderbirds powered out to a 31-18 halftime lead.

                                Changes in the form of Ashleigh Brazill coming into centre from the bench and Kim Green reverting to wing attack for the Swifts did little to change the direction of the game. The heightening physical niggle between the teams remained and the Swifts suffered another blow when Cox was forced from the court with a thigh injury after earlier suffering a blow to the face.

                                Captain Natalie van Bertouch was a strong presence through court for the Thunderbirds while Sharni Layton continued her recent good form with a big contribution from wing defence. The Swifts were able to gain ball defensively but struggled to make use of it on attack as unrelenting Thunderbirds pressure paid big dividends. With the score climbing, the Thunderbirds eased into the last break with a handsome 45-27 lead.

                                With the game comfortably in the bag for the Thunderbirds, there was little comfort in the one-sided contest for the Swifts in the final quarter. The Thunderbirds had the luxury of giving their entire bench a run in the final few minutes while the Swifts were left with plenty to ponder before next week.

                                .

                                MINOR SEMI-FINAL
                                Mon 28 Jun

                                Magic 50 def Steel 42

                                Magic:
                                van Dyk 41/46 (89%)
                                Brown 9/11 (89%)
                                TOTAL 50/57 (88%)

                                Steel:
                                Dehn 24/25 (96%)
                                Wipiiti 11/17 (65%)
                                Naoupu 7/9 (78%)
                                TOTAL 42/51 (82%)

                                PRELIMINARY FINAL
                                Sun 4 Jul

                                Swifts 49 lost to Magic 54

                                Swifts:
                                Cox 32/38 (84%)
                                Pratley 17/21 (81%)
                                TOTAL 49/59 (83%)

                                Magic:
                                van Dyk 43/44 (98%)
                                Brown 11/13 (85%)
                                TOTAL 54/57 (95%)

                                .

                                WBOP MAGIC BOOK SPOT IN GRAND FINAL
                                ANZ Championship

                                Continuing their stellar run, Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic booked their spot in next week’s ANZ Championship Grand Final after toppling minor premiers NSW Swifts 54-49 in Newcastle. Notching their fourth win on the trot, WBOP Magic will meet Adelaide Thunderbirds on Sunday in Adelaide after dominating the Preliminary Final against the Swifts. Built on the back of an inspiring effort from evergreen shooter Irene van Dyk, who shot 44 goals from 45 attempts, the vision and feeding of her sidekick Jodi Brown and a telling defensive effort, Magic shattered the Swifts’ dream season.

                                Claiming the minor premiership with a record unbeaten 13-game winning streak through the regular season, the Swifts could not reproduce the same form in the Finals Series as they fell foul to both the Thunderbirds and Magic in successive weeks. Hitting form at just the right time, Magic notched just the second win in 41 outings by New Zealand teams in Australia over the three years of the competition. They also achieved the only other win, recorded against the Fever last year.

                                In a slight surprise, Kristy Durheim got the nod ahead of Courtney Tairi at wing attack for the Swifts while the rest of their make-up for today’s vital clash was predictable. In the wars lately, captain Catherine Cox fronted with a heavily bandaged left thigh and bruising on her face due to last week’s feisty clash with Adelaide Thunderbirds. Magic also presented predictably with defender Jodi Tod taking her place despite problems with an ongoing calf injury.

                                Cox and her shooting partner Susan Pratley got away to a comfortable start as the Swifts forged an early lead before Magic wound up their response. With goal attack Brown used predominantly as a feeder, van Dyk found herself on the end of a quality delivery of service under the hoop. Showing an immaculate pair of hands and her usual accuracy, the rangy shooter helped level up the scores as the teams went goal-for-goal.

                                Wing defence Kimberley Smith was a strong presence in disrupting Magic ball, but missed goals by the Swifts helped the visitors head into the first break with a narrow 12-11 lead. Letting the ball goal with confidence on attack, it was all the Magic on the resumption. Swifts were able to stay with them briefly before the visitors took off.

                                Brown continued her playmaking role to great effect and in tandem with Laura Langman continued to place perfectly placed ball into the circle. Van Dyk was in dominating form, her sharp movement and positioning giving threatening defender Sonia Mkoloma no chance as she went on to record a 100 percent shooting return. At the other end of the court, Magic’s defensive trio of Casey Williams, Tod and English import Jade Clark made life difficult for the Swifts attackers. Hunting and working in unison, their timely ability to snare intercept and rebound ball helped the visitors march out an imposing 29-20 lead at half-time.

                                Inspired by some slick play from Cox, the Swifts upped the tempo. With Tairi replacing Durheim, the home team engineered better quality ball into the circle with Cox lifting her accuracy rate. With the Swifts showing flashings of their best and narrowing the gap to six goals, it also meant a lift in the physical intensity with plenty of niggle happening between the two sides. However the visitors held strong, repelling the Swifts’ surge to finish the stanza in style. Slick interplay through court and the unwavering accuracy of van Dyk – with a perfect 35 shots from 35 attempts – helped Magic to stretch out to a 10-goal margin when they led 42-32 at the last break.

                                The Swifts threw everything into a frantic and torrid run home, making the odd inroad into Magic’s lead but it proved a bridge too far as the minor premier’s season ended in despair.

                                Avatar photoIan Harkin
                                Moderator
                                  Post count: 23389

                                  GRAND FINAL
                                  Sun 11 Jul
                                  Adelaide Entertainment Centre

                                  THUNDERBIRDS 52 def MAGIC 42
                                  (15-8, 28-21, 39-29, 52-42)

                                  THUNDERBIRDS:
                                  GS Borrego
                                  GA Bell
                                  WA E.Beaton
                                  C N.von Bertouch
                                  WD Layton
                                  GD Gerrard
                                  GK Mentor

                                  Changes
                                  None

                                  Shooting stats
                                  Borrego 40/46 (87%)
                                  Bell 12/19 (63%)
                                  TOTAL 52/65 (80%)

                                  MAGIC:
                                  GS van Dyk
                                  GA Brown
                                  WA Solia
                                  C Langman
                                  WD Clarke
                                  GD Tod-Elliott
                                  GK Williams

                                  Changes
                                  None

                                  Shooting stats
                                  van Dyk 30/33 (91%)
                                  Brown 12/16 (75%)
                                  TOTAL 42/49 (86%)

                                  Attendance: 9,300

                                  ANZ Championship Awards:
                                  Grand Final MVP: Geva Mentor (Thunderbirds)
                                  Season MVP: Liana Barrett-Chase (Steel)
                                  Best Young Player: Sharni Layton (Thunderbirds)

                                  Australian Netball Awards:
                                  Aust ANZC Player of the Year: Nat von Bertouch (Thunderbirds)
                                  Liz Ellis Diamond: Nat von Bertouch (Thunderbirds)

                                  .

                                  THUNDERBIRDS CROWNED 2010 ANZ CHAMPIONS
                                  ANZ Championship

                                  Producing a dominant effort, the Adelaide Thunderbirds proved too good for the First Windows Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic in winning the 2010 ANZ Championship Grand Final 52-42 before an official crowd of 9,300 in Adelaide today. Putting the disappointment of losing last year’s Grand Final, and a comprehensive loss to the Magic just three weeks ago, the Thunderbirds were deserved winners with a powerful outing. Apart from the opening few minutes, the Thunderbirds held sway. A relentless defensive effort and accurate finishing under the hoop from the home team had Magic under the pump for most of the match.

                                  In the only really contentious position, the Thunderbirds opted for the more mobile Erin Bell at goal attack in their starting line-up while Magic stuck with their same successful seven of the previous three weeks. A string of turnovers punctuated the opening minutes before the Thunderbirds reaped the rewards from a strong defensive presence. Prolific shooter Carla Borrego found her radar after a tentative start, a telling eight-goal unanswered burst powering the home team out to a handy advantage.

                                  Thunderbirds defenders Sharni Layton, Mo’onia Gerrard and Geva Mentor exerted all sorts of pressure, picking up vital intercepts and leaving Magic shooters living off just scraps.19 attempts at goal by Thunderbirds compared to the Magic’s nine told the story of the first quarter as the home team headed into the first break with a decisive 15-8 lead.

                                  A more cohesive defensive effort helped Magic contain the Thunderbirds on the resumption as the teams went goal-for-goal. Showing no signs of letting up, the home team continued to harass and were quick to pick up any soft or loose passes. The Magic attackers were forced to work extra hard for everything with key shooter Irene van Dyk being well stitched up by Mentor. Stunned and unable to find many answers, the visitors slipped to 11 behind as Borrego and Bell showed slick work under the hoop for the Thunderbirds. A late four-goal run hauled the Magic back into the contest as they went on to draw the second stanza but the Thunderbirds were still comfortably placed at 28-21 heading into the main break.

                                  Inspired by some strong defensive efforts from Casey Williams, Magic made a positive start to the third quarter but it was short-lived. Struggling to hit the targets of shooters van Dyk and Jodi Brown, the feeders were often astray with their passing. The Thunderbirds defensive trio continued their smothering dominance with an outstanding showing.

                                  Mentor’s long reach and jumping skills continued to thwart van Dyk. Enjoying a much greater volume of ball, midcourters Natalie von Bertouch and Emily Beaton excelled for the home team through court, feeding precision ball to the shooters as the Thunderbirds continued to pile on the goals. Stretching out to a 12-goal advantage, Thunderbirds eventually settled for a healthy 39-29 scoreline at the last break. Showing more flow on attack, Magic threw everything into a last gasp highly charged run to the line. Managing to narrow the gap to five, the visitors could not contain the rampant home team who were not about to let this one slip.

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