Battle Of The Birds In Decider

Picture: Sarah Reid/
Natalie von Bertouch led her team to the top of the table. Picture: Sarah Reid/
The Adelaide Thunderbirds  face the Queensland Firebirds  in the ANZ Championship Netball final at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Sunday afternoon, with both sides bidding to become the first team to win the competition twice. The Thunderbirds celebrated success in the trans-Tasman tournament in 2010, while the Firebirds went through 2011 undefeated before lifting the trophy.

Adelaide has been the best team in the ANZ Championship all year and goes into the decider on the back of a twelve game winning streak, with their only defeat this campaign coming against the Melbourne Vixens in the second week of the season. Much of their success has been built around the drive that inspirational skipper Natalie von Bertouch has provided from the midcourt, with goal shooter Carla Borrego and goal attack Erin Bell gets plenty of opportunities to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Young Firebirds centre Kim Ravaillion suffered cartilage damage to her knee in Queensland’s 50-46 victory over the Vixens that earnt them the right to play in the decider but is expected to play as the starting centre. She will play a keep role in shutting down von Bertouch and her teammates in the middle alongside captain Laura Geitz and veteran Natalie Medhurst, who is playing her 150th national league game.

The Thunderbirds have dominated meetings between these sides since the national competition was formed in 2008, winning on ten of the twelve occasions that they have done battle, including the past four. Adelaide came from behind at halftime  in both matchups this season, winning by a solitary goal in round six before triumphing by two seven weeks later.

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