History will be created in the Australian Netball League (ANL) on Saturday night when the Queensland Fusion clash with the Western Sting in the second semi-final in Melbourne.
Neither the Fusion or the Sting have qualified for the Grand Final in the six previous seasons of the ANL and Fusion coach Kylee Byrne said she is eager to advance to Sunday’s season decider for the chance to claim its first title.
“This finals series for us is three years in the making and the feeling in this group is very positive. They are ready to fire this weekend,” Byrne said.
“The unity in this Queensland Fusion team is amazing and the team is more than ready to produce the goods to progress to Sunday’s grand final.”
“We are leaving no stone unturned and believe we have the team which will win Queensland its first ANL Championship,” she said.
The Fusion hasn’t won a finals berth since 2011and secured a spot courtesy of a record seven-game winning streak during the season, including defeating the Sting by 13 goals in week four in Brisbane, which Byrne said gives her team added confidence heading into the semi-final on Saturday.
“We had a convincing win in our round match but with five more games under our belts since then we are definitely a better outfit and have come a long way as a team since,” Byrne.
“The Western Sting boasts experience all across the court but I believe we have the team to get over the top of them.”
The Fusion and Sting have met once previously in a final, in the play-off for third and fourth back in 2011, which the Sting won 51-48.
However, Fusion holds a 5-3 advantage in overall head-to-head meetings.
Byrne said her team is such an exciting mix of experienced, elite-level netballers and also talented, young future stars including the Mission Queensland Firebirds newest recruit Ingham born shooter, Beryl Friday.
“Beryl made her Fusion debut last year and walked away demanding more of herself to get more court time in the 2014 season and she has done just that,” Byrne said.
“She’s exceptionally talented and so accurate as a shooter. It’s a great skill to have and we know that if we get the ball to Bez it’s going in.”
“Beryl has done everything I’ve asked of her this year and I think we’re at a place where she could really do some damage for us this weekend,” Byrne said.
SEMI FINALS DRAW
Saturday, August 23, 5:00PM
Victorian Fury v Netball NSW Waratahs
Waverley Netball Centre
Saturday, August 23, 7:00PM
Western Sting v QLD Fusion
Waverley Netball Centre