USQ Ipswich Jets netballer Lia Woolnough works hard for her team in a Sapphire Series battle against Cougars earlier this season. The powerhouse performers clash again in Saturday night’s grand final. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media
USQ Ipswich Jets netballer Lia Woolnough works hard for her team in a Sapphire Series battle against Cougars earlier this season. The powerhouse performers clash again in Saturday night’s grand final. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media

Jets welcome shot at Cougars after historic grand final feat

THE grand final-bound USQ Jets delivered exactly what they have declared all season.

They have a winning mindset, able to tackle any pressure situation.

The Jets displayed that superbly in withstanding a major threat from Thunder to win Saturday night's Sapphire Series nailbiting preliminary 51-48 at the Queensland State Netball Centre.

In only the Ipswich netball club's second season, the Jets top side have secured a grand final spot against arch rivals Cougars.

The Jets Ruby competition team is hoping to join them after Tuesday night's preliminary final.

For Jets Sapphires head coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser, another shot at Cougars in next Saturday night's grand final was a deserved reward.

"We're extremely proud,'' Jeanes-Fraser said.

"We were really fortunate. We had board members out there last night and a number of our community sponsors, which was terrific.

"Just for the girls, it's a really good achievement (after all the hard work) . . . getting across the line is fantastic.''

However, having shared in previous grand final successes with the Lions, the wise and astute mentor knows the ultimate Jets goal remains.

"The biggest thing is we need to enjoy this week and link in the achievement we've done . . . but now we are here, we've got another job to do.''

Winning the grand final is the primary objective, inspired by the team's champion mindset approach.

"That's what they did really well yesterday,'' she said.

"We were down to the Thunder. They certainly put it to us but at no point were our girls worried.

"They still maintained that they were going to get across the line.

"They just played some smart netball when the moments were crucial.''

USQ Ipswich Jets head coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser.
USQ Ipswich Jets head coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser.

The Jets have lost twice to the Cougars and produced a vital win to secure the minor premiership.

"We're hoping to turn the table this time,'' Jeanes-Fraser said.

"We lost first time, we beat them second. They won last time (major semi-final).

"It's our turn now to take the grand final.''

In Saturday night's preliminary final, the Jets trailed by five goals at quarter-time before leading by one at halftime.

"We had a bit of a slow start,'' Jeanes-Fraser said.

"I think we tightened up just because we so desperately wanted to be in that grand final.

"We just wanted to make the final and we didn't let the flow of the game happen early.''

But when the pressure was on and Thunder was dominating the ball possession, the Jets players responded.

"The girls fought very valiantly,'' she said. "It could have gone either way.''

A concern was losing goal attack Rosie Baker in the third quarter with an ankle injury.

Experienced netballer Lucy Benjamin took over, helping guide the Jets to victory.

The Jets Rubies lost their qualifying semi-final by four goals to Cougars on Saturday.

They need to beat Tigers in Tuesday night's preliminary final at the Queensland State Netball Centre to make back-to-back grand finals and give the Jets two shots at glory.