Laura Clemesha (left) of the Firebirds puts pressure on Cody Lange of the Magpies.
Laura Clemesha (left) of the Firebirds puts pressure on Cody Lange of the Magpies. Robert Cianflone

Firebirds aiming for a strong end to season

NETBALL: The Queensland Firebirds will look to end the 2017 season on a high when they take on arch rivals the NSW Swifts at Qudos Bank Arena tomorrow.

Despite a late flourish in which Queensland defeated top contender the Giants last Saturday, both the Firebirds and Swifts will play out their respective seasons this weekend after failing to make finals.

Firebirds defender Laura Clemesha said it was fitting the 2015 and 2016 ANZ Championship grand final rivals were facing off in the final game.

"It's a really exciting rivalry we've developed over the past couple of years and it's both of our last games of the year. It's our grand final and it'll be a game worthy of that tag," she said.

"The fact that we have the opportunity to finish the season on three wins in a row is just so exciting and motivating for the group. We've only been able to string together two wins so far, so it would be a great building block for 2018, which is ultimately what we're looking for.

"The Swifts are so dangerous at the moment. They've really started to get their connections flowing at the end of the season and they've given a lot of the top teams a run for their money."

Amid a promising season in which the Swifts drew with competition pace-setters the Melbourne Vixens and lost by five or less to finals contenders four times, the shooting prowess of young attacker Sam Wallace has perhaps been the biggest find.

The 23-year-old has shot 475 goals at just under 90% accuracy.

"In their attack end, Sam Wallace is an absolute gun. Her percentages are really high every week, so how we go about shutting down her will be really key," Clemesha said.

"The first time I played Sam she just held so strong and wasn't missing goals - I felt the ball go over my head a lot. We'll change things up in the attack end. Not to give too much away, but we'll work as more of a unit to combat them."

Clemesha said her side would shift its attention to enjoying the finals after a big final game with the Swifts.

"We'll all be watching with great interest. Personally I'd love to see the other Queensland team in the Lightning get up, so I'll have fingers crossed for them," she said.

"But the rounds have been so unpredictable, who knows what finals will bring."