Grand final derby: How nerves can provide winning edge
FACING the might of the Goodna Sapphires, Ipswich Flyers coach Nicole Grant is counting on her team to replicate what was achieved in its breakthrough netball victory over their city rivals.
"Having beaten Goodna in our last encounter shows the form our team is in which is extremely promising heading into the grand final,'' Grant said, preparing for Friday night's SEQ Cup showdown against the Sapphires.
"We know Goodna will have a point to prove and will come out firing.
"The team know what has to be done to get the win. We will focus on our game plan and take the game quarter by quarter.
"Starting strong is our main focus, which we have been executing well all season.''
Grant expects her team to have extra incentive being a local derby between the champions and contenders.
"There is a huge hype over this game. The team need to use that hype to their advantage,'' Grant said.
"I'm expecting a very physical game. They (the Sapphires) are experienced with finals. However so are most of the ladies in our team.
"It will be an extremely competitive game.''
Former Flyers player Grant has been involved in a number of finals from club to state level.
"Regardless of what finals you are playing in, I think the key is knowing there is no second chance,'' she said.
"There can't be any 'what ifs'.
"You must fight for every ball and finish the game knowing you couldn't have given any more.''
She offered some valuable advice to her players lining up on Friday night.
"You need to be able to stay calm and controlled right from the start. The first few centre passes are crucial,'' she said.
"Finals' atmosphere is completely different to regular season matches.
"It's about calming the nerves and using the excitement to lift your game to new levels.
"I know how nervous the team will be initially, so my job is to help transform their nerves into motivation.
"The team have worked so hard to get where they are and deserve to walk away from the game feeling proud of what they have achieved this season.''
Grant was hoping for a big crowd to watch the grand final.
"Ipswich Netball Association really gets behind the Flyers and their support is what can lift the team and get them over the line when it counts,'' she said.
The grand final is at 7.50pm on Friday night at the Queensland State Netball Centre.