20/04/2024

Giants Netball and West Coast Fever will go head-to-head in an attempt to secure a spot in the 2021 Super Netball Grand Final. (Photo: Super Netball)

Giants Netball and the West Coast Fever are both searching for a Grand Final match-up against the NSW Swifts. We preview the key match-ups, pivotal players and how each side gets that ever so important win.

Giants Netball and the West Coast Fever will step onto court on Saturday afternoon, leaving it all on the line in an attempt to gain a spot in the 2021 Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final.

Looking to avenge themselves in a rematch in the Grand Final against the NSW Swifts, the Giants will be looking to repeat their Round 14 performance in which they defeated the Fever 75-73 to secure the Minor Premiership. 

The Fever will be hungry for a shot at Grand Final redemption, after a runners-up performance against the Vixens last year. The West Australians will leave it all on court, striving to send head coach Stacey Marinkovich off on a high note. 

We break down the match-up and take a look at the key players in this must-win final. 

Last Time They Met

The Giants last faced the Fever only two weeks ago in the final round of the home and away season. It was a tight finish, but the Giants scored the final two goals to take the win 75-73. 

Only eight players were available for the Giants in that match, with April Brandley and Tilly McDonnell suffering ankle injuries. It meant that Sam Poolman had the help of Kristiana Manu’a to stop the ever dominant Jhaniele Fowler. 

Jhaniele Fowler will play a pivotal role for the Fever on Saturday. (Photo: Super Netball/Twitter)

Both teams took commanding six goal leads during the hour of play. The Fever jumped out to a six goal lead in the first quarter, but the Giants brought it back to an even game to start the second half and pushed ahead to a six goal lead in the third quarter. 

In an uncharacteristic move, Marinkovich looked to her bench and made a few rotations throughout the second half to try and stop the Giants’ attack. 

It wasn’t enough to get the job done though, as the work of Maddie Hay feeding into accurate shooters Sophie Dwyer and Jo Harten secured the Giants a double chance in the finals.

Key Match-Up: Sophie Dwyer and Sunday Aryang

Whilst many eyes will be on the clash of the captains in the circle, the battle between Sophie Dwyer and Sunday Aryang will cement the league’s ‘Rising Star’ award for the year. 

With both young guns earning the call up to the Diamonds ensemble, Dwyer and Aryang have proved themselves week-in week-out for their respective teams. 

The Round 14 clash saw Dwyer sink 27 goals with three super shots to carry the Giants to the minor premiership, whilst Aryang only played 35 minutes as Markinkovich tried different combinations to slow the Giants cross-court precision. 

Whilst it’s hard to ignore the other match-ups across court, including that of Verity Charles and Amy Parmenter, the battle between Dwyer and Aryang will be a focal point for many young players across the country who dream of playing in the league one day.

Pivotal Player: April Brandley

After the Giants faced quarantine issues in Round 5, April Brandley was forced to choose her family over the Fever. 

The talented defender also suffered an ankle injury prior to the Round 14 clash, meaning the Fever have no experience against a Giants side that features April Brandley.

Although in both games this year, the Giants have played an incredible game against the Fever in the absence of Brandley. There is reason to suggest she will bring a flair to the defence that will assist the Giants in gaining a place in the Grand Final.

Brandley brings international experience to the Giants defence, which will play an important role in combating Fowler’s exceptional form. 

Facing the league’s best goal scorer, Brandley in combination with Poolman will adopt a strong, yet active circle to force errors for the Fever goalers. 

The way in which Julie Fitzgerald can potentially utilise Brandley will give the Giants outfit a boost exactly when they need it most. 

Potential Kryptonite: Fourth Quarter

Wherever the match is at three-quarter time, you can guarantee the Fever will put it all on the table in the final 15 minutes of play. The final quarter has been their area of dominance this season, and they haven’t lost one throughout the season. 

https://twitter.com/SuperNetball/status/1428250382468190210?s=20

In Round 14 against the Giants, the Fever came home strong including a run of seven goals in eight by Jhaniele Fowler. While it didn’t get them the win on that occasion, a big final quarter almost secured a double chance. 

The second half is also a strong suit of the Giants who swing the momentum in their favour throughout the match, but will also back themselves in for a run of Super Shots to finish each quarter.

The Giants will need to be up by a few goals and have plenty in the tank to go toe-to-toe with the Fever in the fourth, if they are to win through to the Grand Final. 

Tip for the match: Giants by 2

Jessica Miles and Sarah Wildy

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