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Netball - 15. April 2011.

ANZ Champs: Preview Saturday, Sunday, Monday

Expect some serious moves at the pointy end of the ANZ Championship ladder during this weekend's final Super Round for 2011.

With the current points bottleneck from 2nd to 5th positions, the final four is likely to come down to percentage. This means that winning margins will be even more important than ever before, with every goal counting in the race to the 2011 Finals Series.

The four teams who are vying for the three remaining Finals spots - Vixens, Mystics, WBOP Magic and Swifts - are all on the road this weekend, although the LG Mystics are the only team to be crossing the Tasman in Round 10. If the Auckland side can back up for their second consecutive win on Aussie soil when they meet the Swifts on Monday night, they will enter the final two rounds in New Zealand full of confidence and surely on track for a first-ever Finals appearance.
Centre Pass the official ANZ Championship video podcast
Make sure you check out this week's edition of Centre Pass, featuring special guest, Network Ten and 3AW reporter Sarah Ashmore. She and host Dan Ryan look at the race to the finals, preview Round 10, and question how the loss of captain Lauren Nourse will impact the Firebirds as they prepare for their first ever Finals Series.
 
Thursday 14 April
First Windows Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic v Mercury Energy Tactix
7.40pm, Energy Events Centre, Rotorua
 
Queensland Firebirds v Melbourne Vixens
7.40pm, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane
 
Saturday 16 April
Adelaide Thunderbirds v NSW Swifts
1.50pm, ETSA Park, Adelaide
 
Sunday 17 April
West Coast Fever v Melbourne Vixens
12.20pm, Challenge Stadium, Perth
 
Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel v First Windows Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic
6.20pm, Stadium Southlands ILT Velodrome, Invercargill
 
Monday 18 April
Mercury Energy Tactix v Haier Pulse
7.40pm, CBS Arena, Christchurch
 
NSW Swifts v LG Mystics
7.40pm, Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, Sydney

All times shown are local times

Adelaide Thunderbirds v NSW Swifts
Head to head: Swifts 5, Thunderbirds 3

    * The NSW Swifts are back on the road after their successful raid in New Zealand last week, where they shocked the WBOP Magic, claiming a 53-46 victory in Tauranga.
    * The Thunderbirds' chances of defending their 2010 ANZ Championship title effectively came to an end when they were defeated by the Melbourne Vixens 55-53 at Hisense Arena last weekend. They now sit four points behind the top four, having played an extra game.
    * The Swifts sit in fourth, just behind the Melbourne Vixens by a fraction of a per cent (0.09) which equates to less than a goal.
    * The last time these two sides met was the opening game of the season when the Swifts made light work of the Thunderbirds, winning 60-40 in Sydney.
    * The Swifts highest score and greatest winning margin this season came against the Thunderbirds in the Round 1 fixture.

West Coast Fever v Melbourne Vixens
Head to head: Vixens 6, Fever 1

    * The Vixens continued their recent impressive form in Round 9, defeating the Adelaide Thunderbirds 55-53.
    * The West Coast Fever is coming off a disappointing 56-54 loss to the Mystics at Challenge Stadium on Monday night.
    * Despite leading at all the breaks, the Fever failed to hold on to their advantage as the Mystics claimed their first victory on Australian soil.
    * The Vixens have won both their fixtures since losing co-captain Sharelle McMahon to her Achilles injury.
    * The last time these two sides met was in Round 5 this season when the Vixens comprehensively defeated the Fever 70-39 at the State Netball Hockey Centre in Melbourne.
    * That 31-goal victory was the Vixens' largest winning margin of the season while the Fever's 39 goals is the lowest they've ever scored against the Vixens.
    * The Fever's only victory over the Vixens came in Round 8, 2010 when they won 56-53.
    * The Fever are guilty of slow starts in the past two seasons, winning just seven first quarters and five second quarters in 23 matches.
    * The Vixens are strongest in the first and third quarters, winning those quarters in 11 of their 22 previous games.
    * Fever goal shooter Caitlin Bassett continues to lead the league in scoring with 362 goals from 402 attempts at 88.5%. This will be her 50th ANZ Championship match.
    * The Vixens' highest scorer is Kate Beveridge, who sits 10th with 211 goals from 270 attempts at 78.1%.

Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel v First Windows Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic
Head to head: WBOP Magic 6, Steel 2

    * When the teams last met in Round 2 this year, the Magic defeated the Steel 51-36 in Rotorua.
    * That match was the first time the winning margin in games between these two sides was greater than 9 goals.
    * The Steel and Magic have met in Invercargill on three occasions, with the Steel winning two of those matches and the Magic once.
    * This will be Leana de Bruin's 50th ANZ Championship match.

Mercury Energy Tactix v Haier Pulse
Head to head: Tactix 5, Pulse 2

    * When the teams last met in Round 6 this season the Pulse defeated the Tactix 46-43 in Palmerston North.
    * The last time the sides met the Pulse won just their third ever ANZ Championship match. The Pulse won 46-43 over the Tactix and they will be looking to add to their other win this season against the Fever to take their ANZ Championship all time win tally to five.
    * The Pulse and Tactix have played out two matches that have been decided in extra time. The first two meetings between the sides were both won by the Tactix after fourteen minutes of extra time.
    * The Pulse currently sit in eighth position; if they can maintain this spot, they will have their highest ever finish in an ANZ Championship season.

NSW Swifts v LG Mystics
Head to head: Swifts 3, Mystics 0

    * The Swifts are lining up in their second game of the round after their fixture on Saturday afternoon against the Adelaide Thunderbirds at ETSA Park.
    * The fixture against the Swifts will be the Mystics' first game of Super Round.
    * The Mystics are coming off their maiden victory on Australian soil after defeating the Fever 56-54 in Perth last weekend.
    * That victory saw the Mystics move up into second place on the ANZ Championship ladder.
    * The Swifts have won all three previous meetings between the two sides with the latest victory coming in Round 11, 2010 when they won 54-48.
    * Regardless of the previous outcomes, it's always a close result between the two teams with no greater than six goals separating the sides at the final whistle.
    * The Swifts play their first home game since their Round 6 57-53 loss to the Firebirds.
    * This will be the Swifts' final home game of the regular season with their following two fixtures to be played in Dunedin and Melbourne.
    * This will be the Mystics' last game in Australia during the 2011 regular rounds.
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