Firebirds Wary Of Magic

Queensland Netball Team - Firebirds
The Firebirds can't waste their second chance. Image courtesy of:Picture: Peter Wallis Source: The Courier-Mail

Queensland Firebirds  v Waikato Magic 
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
Monday June 16 – 7:20 PM (AEST)

Magic: WLLWL

There are no more second chances for the Queensland Firebirds, who have a sudden-death match against Waikato Magic on Monday night to secure a Grand Final berth.

This is as a result of falling short to the Minor Premiers, the Melbourne Vixens, 47-52 in the Major Semi-Final of the ANZ Championship a week ago. The 2011 champs now face the prospect of another thrilling finals encounter against the Magic, who eliminated the NSW Swifts in the Minor Semi-Final in Sydney.

Looking for another crack at the Vixens, the Firebirds are fired up and ready to hit the court in front of a packed and passionate house, hoping to secure a third Grand Final appearance in four years. Though they take losing form into this one, at least scoring sensation Romelda Aiken is in hot form. The lanky sharp-shooter scored 35 goals against the Vixens to take her tally to over the 500 mark for a fourth season.

Recruited to the Firebirds this season, newbies Amy Wild and Verity Simmons will be better for their first finals appearance, which is good news for Aiken. Two weeks ago, the Queensland franchise travelled to Hamilton and beat the Magic 59-55 on their patch. Another positive for the homeside - Aiken averages 36.5 goals a game against the Magic and 36 goals in five ANZ Championship Finals appearances. Her overall career average is 37.2 goals per match.

The Firebirds and Magic have only met twice in Brisbane, with the home team winning both encounters – Round 4, 2009 (53-42) and Round 8, 2011 (53-49).

For the visitors, this is the sixth time in seven seasons they've reached the Preliminary Final stage of the ANZ Championship. The only year they failed to advance past the first week of the Finals was last season, when they were eliminated by the Firebirds. Jo Harten is the most accurate shooter of the three teams left in this year’s Finals series, shooting at 89.5 per cent accuracy for the season.

Magic shooter Ellen Halpenny is the fourth most accurate shooter from long-range this season for players that have put up more than 100 goal attempts. She’s shooting at 75 per cent from her 104 shots. 

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