Flyers eye grand final after disciplined build-up
NETBALL: "Very prepared'' is how Ipswich Flyers coach Nicole Grant describes the feeling in her team chasing a spot in this year's SEQ Cup grand final.
Fresh from a 62-39 last round victory over Underwood, Grant was upbeat about the Flyers' semi-final battle with Metro at the Queensland State Netball Centre on Friday night.
"Our progression throughout the season has placed us right where we need to be for finals,'' Grant said, a week after the Flyers upstaged previously unbeaten champions Goodna.
"The win over the Sapphires just proved to the team how far we have come.
"We wanted to be winning the tight, physical games leading into finals.''
What impressed Grant in her team's last hit-out before the semis was the Flyers' attitude.
"We knew after a very physical match the previous week we had to get off to a good start,'' she said.
"Last time we played Underwood we were very complacent and we learnt from that.
"I was able to try a different combination at each quarter and the team adjusted seamlessly. We were down a few players to illness and injury so to come off with a margin of 23 points was pleasing.''
Victory on Friday night will secure the Flyers a spot in the grand final against the winner of the other semi-final between the Sapphires and Western Districts.
"The Flyers have been working hard all season to reach our goal of making the finals,'' the first-year Ipswich coach said.
"Now that it's here, I believe they are not just physically ready, but also mentally prepared.
"The team always back each other on court. They never give in. They never stop learning.
"They have been incredibly disciplined all season. They have the right attitudes and they have so much fun together.''
Skye Sippel missed the Goodna game due to influenza and has been slowly recovering.
Selena Hirsch also sat out the Underwood game being ill.
Charisma Tuupo has been battling a knee injury all season.
While focused on getting her team primed for the semi-final, Grant was not a huge fan of having to meet an unknown opponent in the crossover format.
"But I can understand why they tried it out this year,'' she said.
"There were so many teams that nominated and it's hard to know from year to year who the stronger teams will be.
"It's tough going into a knockout final without having played the opponents. However everyone is in the same boat so no one is at a disadvantage.''
However, the change in scheduling from the usual Thursday timeslot presented no issues.
"Playing Friday night doesn't change anything for our team,'' the experienced netballer said.
"Hopefully playing Friday night allows for more supporters to come down and cheer the team on.
"It has allowed us more time to prepare.''
After a practice match against the men on Monday night, the Flyers watched a video of their previous game midweek to finalise preparations for the 6.30pm semi-final.
As for Metro, the astute Grant gained a sneak peek of what awaited her team.
"I was able to watch some of their game last week against Wests,'' she said.
"It was a good match to watch as it was one v two for that pool playing each other for the top spot.''
State of play
QPL SEQ Cup finals: Friday (6.30pm) - Goodna Sapphires v Western Districts; Ipswich Flyers v Metro (Carina Leagues) at the Queensland State Netball Centre.
Rd 14 results: Ipswich Flyers def Underwood Park 62-39; Goodna Sapphires bye.