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Netball - 18. July 2008.

ANZ Championship weekend update


ACER Arena in Sydney has been confirmed as the venue for the 2008 ANZ Championship Grand Final on Monday 28 July.

Tickets for this match will go on sale, Monday 21 July at 12 noon (AEST). Tickets available through www.ticketek.com.au

2008 ANZ Championship Grand Final

Monday July 28

NSW Swifts v winner of the Preliminary Final

ACER Arena, Sydney


Monday July 21

ColourPlus Waikato / BOP Magic v Adelaide Thunderbirds
Mystery Creek Events Centre, Hamilton


One spot remains in the inaugural ANZ Championship grand final with the ColourPlus Waikato / Bay of Plenty Magic to take on the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Hamilton on Monday night.

For the winner, it’s a meeting with the NSW Swifts at ACER Arena in the final decider but for the loser it’s the end of their 2008 season.

The Magic and the Thunderbirds have met once this season, all the way back in round one. In that game, it was the Magic on home soil that took the points with a four goal win.

The Magic suffered a heart breaking one goal loss (57-56) to the NSW Swifts in the major semi final after making an unforgettable charge late in the final quarter to give themselves a chance. But a courageous intercept from Swifts centre Kim Green in the final 30 seconds and a clutch shot from Catherine Cox sealed their fate silencing the Hamilton crowd.

On the other hand, the Thunderbirds overcame a slow start to outclass the Melbourne Vixens at ETSA Park to run away with a five goal victory. Down by as much as ten goals at one stage the Thunderbirds staged a dramatic fight back lead largely by the efforts of Mo’onia Gerrard and Natalie Von Bertouch.

This week both sides will need to produce their best in order to book a place in next week’s grand final. Irene Van Dyk lined up at goal attack for the full duration of their semi-final; the mercurial shooter again executed a perfect shooting game. If she lines up at goal attack again, she may face a torrid defensive onslaught from Gerrard who was influential in her side’s comeback on Monday night when she was moved from the wing into the defensive circle.

That end of the court will hold several keys to this clash as potentially four of the best players in the world will go head to head. Magic shooter Maria Tutaia and Adelaide import Geva Mentor could potentially join Van Dyk and Gerrard in an enthralling goal circle battle.

Another key match-up will come in the centre with Thunderbirds captain Natalie Von Bertouch lining up against Laura Langman. The Adelaide centre came alive in the semi final to produce one of the matches of her life, her side will be needing a repeat effort if they are to quash the Magic’s finals hopes.

The Thunderbirds have been the most accurate shooting team in the competition however for the first half of their semi final contest sat in the low 60’s. Kate Beveridge was a victim of some early game nerves however when she settled into the match she proved to be a major thorn in the back of the Vixens defence line. This week she will face the daunting task of taking on the Holden Player of the Series, Casey Williams. Goal attack Natalie Medhurst was uncharacteristically quiet against the Vixens and somewhat silenced for the majority of the game but ignited in the final quarter to get her side across the line.

This match will no doubt be a thriller; both sides have a wealth of talent and are more than deserving of a place in the final. The Magic have the hopes of a nation pushing them on while the Thunderbirds are rapidly gathering momentum at the right time of the season.

So much to play for, the Magic and the Thunderbirds, undoubtedly a contest worth waiting for.

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