The Adelaide Thunderbirds are hungry to avenge the heavy loss they suffered just two weeks ago to the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic when the sides meet up again this weekend for the ANZ Championship minor semi-final.
The Thunderbirds were in the hunt to claim the league’s minor premiership until they suffered a surprising 59-42 loss to the Magic in Tauranga in Round 13 however Adelaide’s Renae Hallinan said the loss will provide motivation heading into the finals series.
“I think we have had a fantastic preparation leading into this finals match,” Hallinan said.
“We’ve taken on the Magic and they absolutely handed it to us, then we were able to bounce back by playing another New Zealand side with that style of netball which we did and we had a good win on the weekend.
“That belting that Magic gave us has just made us that little bit more hungry for now and it’s finals where the points matter.”
Statistics suggest that the Thunderbirds have struggled against the Magic in the past having lost five of the eight previous meetings, including four of five fixtures in New Zealand, though Hallinan believes that history means little in finals.
Adelaide can take confidence from their record against the Magic in finals with the Thunderbirds winning two of the three fixtures, including the 2010 Grand Final in which they defeated the Magic 52-42 – the last time they beat the Magic.
“You always learn more from a loss than from a win so we had a lot to take from that match,” Hallinan said.
“Adjustments can be made and we will tweak a few little things but the season is forgotten now.
“Finals are a whole new ball game … bring it on.”
Despite the loss two weeks ago, Hallinan has said that three victories in the final four rounds have put her side in a good position heading into the Finals Series – their first finals campaign since winning the premiership in 2010.
“I think what we’ve done in the last couple of weeks leading into the Tactix match and now into this first final is really worry about our own game plan, and not so much about the Magic.” Hallinan said.
“I can tell you we will be going in really hard, there will be no uncontested ball and we just can’t wait for the contest.”
Hallinan was quick to dismiss the idea that the Thunderbirds, who finished the season in fourth place, have struggled in New Zealand, in particular against the zone defence.
The Thunderbirds lost two of their three fixtures across the Tasman this year which included a 47-46 defeat at the hands of the Central Pulse in Wellington in Round 8 followed by the 17-goal loss to the Magic.
“There are certainly adjustments to be made, we have made those adjustments and it’s finals time where you need to play your best netball and that’s what we’re going to do,” Hallinan, who joined the Thunderbirds from the Vixens at the start of the year, said.
“I don’t care where in New Zealand we play.
“We are going to New Zealand, it’s a netball stadium and as soon as you cross that white line it means business and that’s what we’re focusing on this week.
“We’ll have a really good week of training here at home. We’re going to go over to New Zealand a day earlier to acclimatise, get ourselves ready, enjoy a bit of the scenery and then business time.”
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