The USQ Ipswich Jets are one victory away from grand final glory after surviving a major challenge from Thunder in last weekend’s Sapphire Series preliminary final. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media
The USQ Ipswich Jets are one victory away from grand final glory after surviving a major challenge from Thunder in last weekend’s Sapphire Series preliminary final. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media

How confident Jets keep relaxed before chasing final glory

A COFFEE, chilling by the pool, team lunch and even some TV before the big game.

USQ Ipswich Jets captain Stephanie O'Brien knows the importance of keeping relaxed before a grand final.

But as she goes about her pre-game routine, O'Brien dismisses any extra pressure preparing to face Cougars in Saturday afternoon's Sapphire Series grand final at the Queensland State Netball Centre.

"There's a lot more hype around it than a normal game,'' O'Brien said.

"But we've been training all year for it.

"We know how to play netball.

"The crowd is a big issue for us (hoping to have plenty of support).

"It's just about driving ourselves and just play netball. We know what to do.''

The Jets players receive instructions from head coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser during last weekend’s preliminary final against Thunder. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media
The Jets players receive instructions from head coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser during last weekend’s preliminary final against Thunder. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media

The Jets leader said the grand final focus was to enjoy it and to finish off a tremendous season having won the minor premiership in only the club's second year.

"Everyone's hard work shows,'' the Bremer State High School PE teacher said.

"It's a really exciting feeling.

"It's super exciting and I think it kind of hasn't hit us yet.''

The Jets have extra motivation anxious to give retiring regular Lucy Benjamin a winning send-off.

"It's her last game at this level,'' O'Brien said.

Action from the Sapphire Series preliminary final won by the USQ Ipswich Jets over Thunder at the Queensland State Netball Centre. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media
Action from the Sapphire Series preliminary final won by the USQ Ipswich Jets over Thunder at the Queensland State Netball Centre. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media

O'Brien said all the Jets players were ready after spending time at Thursday night's training going through different scenarios.

She said the goal was to go out really hard early to settle any nerves.

The Jets have one win and two losses against their major rivals who led the competition for several weeks before the Ipswich side secured top spot heading into the finals.

"We know that we can win against them, which gives us confidence,'' O'Brien said.

"It's always a physically demanding game.

"It's really nice to know that we've got nothing to lose in the grand final and that's the goal from the start.

"We've just got to go out there and play a special game of netball.''

O'Brien hopes having a nailbiting preliminary final victory against Thunder last weekend helps as the Cougars had a week off.

"I think it shows that we can win those tough games,'' the former Brisbane West Lions netballer said.

"We all play better when we play every week.

"I'm hoping it's an advantage.''
 

GAME DAY

Sapphire Series grand final: Saturday (5pm) - USQ Ipswich Jets v Brisbane North Cougars at the Queensland State Netball Centre.