It is just under a year ago that the Firebirds made the long trip across the Nullarbor in the hope that they could sneak into the 2009 Finals Series.
Sitting in fifth position, out of the top four on percentage only, the Firebirds needed to roll the Fever by enough to boost their percentage to sneak over the Southern Steel and into fourth spot.
In there way was a determined Fever side out to finish their season on a high.
In front of a fired-up Western Australian crowd the Firebirds couldn’t rally and while they recorded a two-goal win the Queenslanders fell heartbreakingly short of the finals, missing out by just over one percentage point.
2010 is a new year with a new line-up but once again the Firebirds are heading into the final round tantalisingly close to a Finals berth.
The Queenslanders sit one game out of the top four but carry the competition’s third-highest percentage.
Above them sit New Zealand’s Steel and Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic in third and fourth place
With the top two New Zealand teams facing off against the competition leaders the NSW Swifts and Adelaide Thunderbirds this week a real opportunity for the Firebirds to slip into the four, and even host Semi-Final 2, beckons.
The Firebirds will travel to Perth heavy favourites boasting a 5-0 winning record against the Fever and coming off a 43-goal win against the Canterbury Tactix last week.
But the result is far from a sure thing with the young Fever side in fine form in recent weeks with the exciting West Australians just falling short in the final quarter of their Round 13 clash against the second-placed Thunderbirds in Adelaide.
One of the keys to this match will be the clash between Firebirds powerhouse Romelda Aiken and the Fever’s towering defender Susan Fuhrmann.
Sitting fifth in the competition for defensive rebounds, Fuhrmann delivered a strong performance against shooting sensation Carla Borrego in Round 13, restricting the Thunderbirds’ star shooter to 73% accuracy – more than 10 percentage points less than her season average of 85.5%.
At the other end of the court the stage is set for another great battle with Caitlin Bassett – the competition’s second most prolific goal scorer – up against Laura Geitz, one of the dominant defenders of the competition.
In the middle, Fever’s Madison Browne and Firebirds Lauren Nourse are set to go head-to-head in centre.
With both players competing for a spot on the Diamonds team for the Holden Netball Test Series and Commonwealth Games in October, the pair will be out to impress in front of national selectors.
So while the Firebirds may have a sense of déjà vu on the trip to Perth, they will be doing everything in their power to have a different result this year.
Things are set to sizzle for the Hottest Game in Town!
To catch all the action tune into TEN at 2.30pm Sunday.
Last time they met:
Round 7, 2010
Firebirds (63) defeated Fever (57) in Brisbane
Firebirds shooting statistics:
Natalie Medhurst 27/34 79%
Romelda Aiken 36/39 92%
Janelle Lawson 2/4 50%
Leah Shoard 5/15 33%
2010 Holden Netball Test Series
Don’t miss your last chance to see the Diamonds before the Commonwealth Games at the 2010 Holden Test Series.
The Diamonds take on the Jamaican Sunshine Girls in Tests in Melbourne (August 8), Sydney (August 11) and the Gold Coast (August 15).
Tickets on sale now
The Diamonds then face arch-rivals the Silver Ferns on August 29 in Adelaide.
Secure your seat now.
With the Commonwealth Games only months away the road to Delhi starts here!
For more information on tickets click here
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