The Tasmanian Magpies suffered two losses at the hands of the league-leading Vic Fury ahead of the ANL finals in Canberra this weekend.
The Victorian Fury reaffirmed that they are indeed the team to beat heading into this weekend’s Australian Netball League (ANL) finals after securing the double victory over the Tasmanian Magpies in the final round of the season.
The results demoted the Magpies to third position on the ANL ladder, after the NSW Waratahs leapfrogged into second place, following their dual wins over the Queensland Fusion.
The Magpies were convincingly beaten by the Fury in game one, with head coach Kate Upton noting her team’s inability to settle early in the match.
“We had a slow start in that first game,” Upton told Magpies Netball this week.
“Being down by six goals in that opening quarter really challenged us.
“We struggled to get the ball down into our goalers and we lacked that polish in our final conversion.”
Former Vic Fury goaler Jane Cook was a welcome addition back into the Magpies’ line-up, having missed the previous round in Canberra with illness.
With the match being played at a physical and intense pace, the Fury’s ability to shut down the Magpies’ mid-court proved pivotal to the win.
“Our defence was strong, but our mid-court were put under extreme pressure from the Fury’s fierce and fast style of play.”
“Both Mary Livesey and Sharni Lambden had tough assignments but showed great signs in being able to limit the exposure of the Fury goalers within the circle,” Upton said.
In game two, the Magpies were able to make some adjustments and add Collingwood Magpies Alice Teague-Neeld and Shae Brown into their team to take on the Fury at Margaret Court Arena.
“The additions of those two senior players provided us with long definite lines in attack and allowed there to be clear options down the court.”
Former Tasmanian Magpie and Collingwood training partner Samantha Gooden provided a strong target for the Fury in goal attack, alongside Rahni Samason by the post.
For the Magpies, Brown and Teague-Neeld rotated between goal attack and shooter, adding depth to the attacking end.
The moves had an immediate impact, with the Pies netting 16 goals in the third term – the team’s highest output in a single quarter across the weekend.
The Magpies put out the challenge to the Fury in the second game, but were ultimately unable to close the deficit, going down 53-57 in the final term.
The Magpies will now prepare for their knockout semi-final match against the NSW Waratahs this coming Saturday, with the medalled matches to be played on the Sunday at the SolarHub ACT Netball Centre in Canberra.
Upton said the team’s focus heading into the finals was consistency and conversion.
“We’re focused on being able to execute under pressure and learning to maintain that pressure throughout the entire match.”
“Whoever is most effective in converting the ball down their attacking end will be the team that wins.”
GAME 1 – Victorian Fury (55) defeated Tasmanian Magpies (44)
GAME 2 – Victorian Fury (57) defeated Tasmanian Magpies (53)
Saturday 30 June, 3pm, SolarHub ACT Netball Centre, Canberra.
Saturday 30 June, 5pm, SolarHub ACT Netball Centre, Canberra.
Sunday 1 July, 12:30pm, AIS Arena, Canberra.
All finals matches will be broadcasted live on Netball Australia’s Facebook page.