Why Jets feeling so positive about shot at title
PREPARING to work with university rowers this week, senior Jets netballer Lucy Benjamin had another reason to feel buoyant.
The Ipswich-based Jets team had just overpowered the Bull Sharks by 30 points to secure a spot in next weekend's Netball Queensland Sapphire Series preliminary final.
After playing a valuable team role switching from goal shooter to goal attack during the match, Benjamin rated the 73-43 semi-final victory one of her team's best this season.
"It was a really great game,'' Benjamin said, sensing her team's confidence before they even took to the Queensland State Netball Centre court.
"A number of the girls said it was probably one of the best games we've played all year.
"We connected really well in defence and attack, which is something that we have been missing I guess the last couple of weeks.''
The timing and better ball delivery were back against the Bull Sharks.
Having played in every match for the Jets in the inaugural Sapphire Series season, Benjamin said the latest result was timely with a showdown against the QUT Wildcats looming in next Sunday's preliminary final.
"If we take into next weekend the positivity and the preparation that we had for this game and what we've been doing in the last couple of weeks . . . then we'll have no worries against Wildcats,'' she said.
Although the Wildcats finished in second one spot ahead of the Jets, Benjamin said her team had the tactics "to combat their number of strengths throughout their court''.
Benjamin, 29, said making such a strong first quarter and maintaining the intensity under pressure was pleasing for the Jets.
"In the last couple of weeks, we've been a bit up and down,'' she said.
"We might start a bit slow and come strong at the end of the game or start really strong and let them back in.
"Yesterday, we were just consistent throughout the whole game.
"The girls were happy and there was so much positivity on court.''
Saturday's elimination semi-final was between the third-placed Jets and fourth-placed Bull Sharks.
Competition leaders Cougars advanced directly to the grand final after holding out QUT 48-46 in the other semi-final.
In her encounter, Benjamin was happy to again switch roles with Jets talent Charlie Bell who is part of Netball Queensland's Elite Development Program.
Former Brisbane West Lions netballer Benjamin scored 24 goals starting as shooter before moving to goal attack in the second quarter.
Bell, 18, finished with 40 goals fulfilling the shooting role. "She was phenomenal,'' Benjamin said.
"Even just stepping up into Sapphire this year, her game has improved out of sight. She's become a completely different player, playing at that higher level with girls that have got a little bit more experience.''
The Jets team in this year's Ruby South series also advanced to Sunday's preliminary final after a hard-fought 57-54 success over the Cougars in their semi-final.
The Jets Rubies will also play QUT next Sunday afternoon at the Queensland State Netball Centre.
Before that though, Benjamin has a busy week ahead working as an events and communication co-ordinator at Rowing Queensland.
She's part of the Rowing Queensland team hosting the Australian Uni Sport nationals at Wyralong Dam, between Boonah and Beaudesert.
State of play
Sapphire Series semi-finals: Jets def Bull Sharks 73-43, Cougars def QUT 48-46.
Preliminary final: Sunday (6.10pm) - Jets v QUT at QSNC.
Ruby South Series semi-finals: Jets def Cougars 57-54, Tigers def QUT 58-34.