The Victorian Fury have started their final series in terrific form, overcoming the Canberra Giants in the first major semi-final which will see them straight through to the Grand Final on Sunday.
With scores level 15-15 at the first break, the pressure was well and truly on for the home side, who defeated the Giants on both accounts earlier in the year. The Giants didn’t shy away from the intensity the Fury were bringing, with only a 2-goal lead to the Fury at half time.
Sacha McDonald and Emma Ryde were linking well in the goal end, making it hard for the Giants defence to cause a turnover. Lara Dunkley was impressive across the four quarters, taking a game-changing intercept that sparked a passage of intense play from the Fury to take the lead at half time.
The Fury defenders were working overtime, with Rudi Ellis, Jacqui Newton and Allie Smith instrumental in holding up the Giants attack end, leaving the Giants looking for answers in the third quarter.
The Fury attackers did well to transition to the rolling subs throughout the game, with Kate Kelly-Oman having a huge impact, alongside speedster Elli Leydin and reliable Elle McDonald. While Ruby Barkmeyer was able to get a feel for the game in the goaling circle in the third quarter.
It was Fury’s patient and trusting transition down the court that ultimately got them across the line, and the brilliant finish by the goalers. Fury captain, Jacqui Newton was hoping to take the win, after suffering a loss in the semi-final this time last year.
“Finishing first at the end of the season doesn’t mean anything, because there’s always that chance you could bomb out,” Newton said.
“When you get to finals everyone’s got the exact same opportunity, so you’ve just got to take every game as it comes and make sure we’re on the same page.
“I think today we knew what we were coming into, that they would come out hard from the start. We knew that because we played them in round one, and so much has changed, so you can’t take anything for granted.
“We knew our ball speed is our biggest asset, and if we could just get the ball moving and slow them down, we would be alright.
When highlighting the key players in today’s game, Jacqui was quick to commend the work of goal shooter Emma Ryde, who contributed 50 of the 59 goals today at 89%.
“Emma is monumental, it is so good having her there, especially when we’re in that situation where we’re heading towards the final second of possession and we know she is always going to be presenting.”
The Fury now look ahead to tomorrow’s Grand Final, who will be against the winner of the second semi-final, the Tasmanian Magpies or the NSW Waratahs.
“Both teams have got certain aspects of their game that you don’t want to play against, and then they’ve got things that you find easier than the other.
“I think today there were some really good patches, but then there were just some sloppy passages. I think we took our foot off the pedal at some stages and we really talked about that at half time and three-quarter time.
“We just needed to punish them and put the foot down in that last quarter to build on our lead, which probably didn’t happen as much as we would like.
“I think tomorrow we’ll really focus on going into fifth gear and finishing off the game how we want to.
“Our crowd was awesome today; we were really happy with the turn out. I think it was helpful in those stages of the game where things were a bit balanced, it was good having that extra voice.
The Fury return to the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Sunday at 12.30pm with hope to stake the claim of premiers following a stellar season.
Tickets are available to purchase at the venue – adult $5 and child/concession $3. Fans who can’t make it to the State Netball and Hockey Centre, don’t miss out on a minute of the action with all games broadcast live via the Netball Australia Facebook page.