With wins locked at 1-1 in 2021, Fever and Giants will lay it all on the line for the last spot in the Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final when they renew acquaintances on Saturday afternoon.
The star-studded match-up between Giants wing defence Amy Parmenter and Fever wing attack Verity Charles will go a long way to deciding who will face Swifts in the decider.
The two sides met just a fortnight ago in the final round of the regular season. Parmenter was able to gain the ascendency on that day with six deflections and an intercept, which helped Sydney-siders claim a high-scoring 75-73 thriller.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Charles said she was jumping at the chance to play against one of the best players in the league after such an entertaining battle between the two living in recent memory.
“I think ‘Ames’ is killing it at the moment,” she smiled.
“She’s had an awesome season and I think she’s had some great seasons in the past as well.
“We’re both probably quite speedy, so I just look forward that – to see who can outsmart who on the day, and that excites me.
“I’m just looking forward to that game.”
For Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich, the job at hand boils down to the pressure that her experienced side can apply for four quarters, with the previous match-up against Giants in the forefront of her thinking.
“It was pretty much a shoot-out in the end,” she reflected.
“It was high attacking numbers from both sides, and it’s going to be the team that can put the most defensive pressure on each other to get ball or to cause error.
“I think that’s what it’ll come down to – what team can accumulate pressure.”
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A loss would spell the end of Marinkoch’s tenure with Fever, after the Diamonds coach announced that 2021 would be her last with the powerhouse club.
That won’t be in her mind come Saturday, though.
With a match as evenly poised as this one looks coming in, composure at crucial stages and executing the game-plan when it’s all on the line is what she is looking for from her side.
“The last five minutes [of the game] you certainly see an intensity that goes to another level, and particularly when a game’s on the line and whether you’re chasing a score or whether you’re trying to keep your composure to keep ticking the scoreboard over to stay ahead.
“I think the biggest thing is sticking to your game-plan, I think there can be emotion and sometimes you try too hard which sometimes disconnects your group.
“For us we’ve got to stay connected, we’ve got to let the unit do the work to apply the pressure or get the ball where we want so that we can maximise any opportunity of rebounds or causing error before it gets there.”
The Super Netball Preliminary Final is set to begin at 3:00pm AEST on Saturday, with the winner going on to face the NSW Swifts in the Grand Final next weekend.
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