14/04/2024

GIANTS Netball star midcourter Jamie-Lee Price (Photo: GIANTS Netball/Twitter)

Losing two Suncorp Super Netball grand finals in their history has only fuelled the premiership ambition for GIANTS Netball.

Losing two grand finals Suncorp Super Netball grand finals in their history, including the 2021 premiership decider to the Swifts, has only fuelled the premiership ambition for GIANTS Netball.

Reflecting on the disappointment, the GIANTS have worked hard on ensuring that these experiences strengthen the team.

The first grand final loss for the club was in 2017 at the hands of fellow expansion club, the Sunshine Coast Lightning, who comfortably outplayed the GIANTS side winning 65-48.

The second grand final loss was last season when the NSW Swifts defeated the GIANTS 63-59 in front of a packed Nissan Arena.

GIANTS Netball star midcourter and vice-captain Jamie-Lee Price spoke to media leading up to the minor semi-final which is a do or die clash against the Collingwood Magpies.

“We have made two grand finals in our short period of time being a franchise and I think it’s character building,” Price explained.

“Last year was very disappointing and I guess it shows how important it is to have strong starts in finals and not only that but finishing it off.

“At the end of the day, we don’t want to be playing catch up netball, we want to be having strong starts and being in the lead so we don’t put that much pressure on ourselves.

“I think even the first grand final we got smashed by the Lightning, so they are two very different experiences and we will learn a lot from both of them but our younger girls that were playing last year in particular were in their first finals series, they’ve taken a lot out of it and really stepped up this year.”

“[Coming] from that grand final experience people like Sophie Dwyer, Amy Parmenter and Tilly McDonnell, [who were] playing their first finals series, you can take a lot of confidence out of that,

“It was a really big learning curve for us and we are really looking forward to playing this weekend and actually being in the finals again,” Price continued.

The NSW Swifts celebrate winning the grand final.
The NSW Swifts celebrate winning the 2021 grand final against GIANTS Netball. (Image: Helen Housby/Twitter)

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Speaking about her finals experience and considering the youth within the team, Price recognises her role as a leader in stepping up on court with her voice and through her actions. She spoke about how she works with captain Jo Harten and Maddie Hay to calm and inspire the group.

“I think this year in particular, I’ve taken up a bit of a leadership position with Jo Harten and Maddie Hay,” she said.

“We are obviously the leaders and we need to perform and take the lead, taking those drives confidently and connecting and communicating with the players around us as well.

“[Doing that is] really important and especially in the finals series, it’s a bit more nerve-wracking and overwhelming so just keeping cool, calm and collected is really important as well.”

It has been a whirlwind of a week for their minor semi-final’s opponent, the Collingwood Magpies.

Collingwood has three players and its senior coach out due to COVID health and safety protocols and qualifying for finals after a close loss was something unusual, however, Price maintains that it didn’t matter whether the Magpies or the Swifts made the finals, they will just play their brand of netball.

“It was pretty crazy but I think we were just happy that we weren’t in the Swifts or the Magpies position like we definitely knew we were going to be playing this week at home,” she said.

“I guess it didn’t really matter who we were going to be playing in terms of every team is so hard in this league, so very interesting to watch and I would have hated to be the Swifts watching that game for sure.

“We are obviously looking forward to having our home semi this weekend and have our crowd around us at Ken Rosewall Arena.

“Collingwood had a very strong game against the Vixens considering they had their head coach out and two really key players out for them.

“They did really well and I guess that’s weird for them, they still lost and they were celebrating because they lost by only a couple of points which is really rare but I guess it’s exciting for them and they will have a lot of confidence growing.”

https://twitter.com/collingwoodsn/status/1536243219771625472

During the regular round games, GIANTS Netball had the wood over the Magpies in both encounters. In round five GIANTS Netball thrashed Collingwood by 15 points at Ken Rosewall Arena and in round ten they won by nine goals in front of the Magpies faithful in Tasmania.

Despite winning both games, Price says that finals is a different game and they will be prepared to fight hard for the win.

“I think that definitely goes out the window in finals, although we’ve beaten them twice during the season, I think anything is possible and I think that it’s not even the same so I don’t think it is something we can fall back on, I think we need to work extra hard and the destiny is in our own hands.”

Another big talking point about the upcoming final is the hot form of the Collingwood Magpies goal shooter Shimona Nelson.

The Jamaican attacker has had her most consistent year of SSN netball to date scoring the second most goals in the regular season behind fellow Jamaican shooter West Coast Fever’s Jhaniele Fowler.

The job on Nelson will likely fall to young goal keeper Tilly McDonnell, who has had a great season in her first full season for GIANTS Netball.

Price said the effect the midcourt will have on stopping the influence of Nelson and how they plan to combat her own midcourt supply.

“I think with any tall shooter out the back, you’ve just got to make it hard for the midcourt,” she said.

“[You can just] not let it get down to circle edge cause when it gets down to circle edge, it’s a very hard job for Tilly we’ve just got to make her life easier.

“[We do that] by putting the pressure on the middies and the goal attack and not allow them to have goal side of Shimona (Nelson) or get the ball before it gets to Shimona.”

The minor semi-final between GIANTS Netball and the Collingwood Magpies will be played at Ken Rosewall Arena with the winner playing the loser of the major semi-final (Melbourne Vixens or West Coast Fever. The loser of this game is bundled out of the Suncorp Super Netball finals for 2022.

Tilly McDonell is becoming a star defender for Giants Netball (Picture: Suncorp Super Netball/Website)

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