By Georgie-May Walker.
Steelcats coach Sue Warmington says her Magnetic North Steelcats are fitter than ever heading into their clash against City division standouts Suncoast Lynx in the Samsung QSNL major semi-final on Sunday.
The introduction of training partners and a rigorous training schedule including a tough gym program primed the Steelcats for a bumper season where they won 10 games and lost only two.
Steelcats coach Sue Warmington said the Lynx would be tough competition, but she had the utmost confidence her side could pull off the win.
“At the end of last season, there were a couple of things we needed to do bigger and better and a gym program was definitely one of them,” Warmington said.
“We’ve had great continuity in the group and introduced training partners. As a group of 15 these ladies have just been outstanding, pushing each other on and off the court. It’s been fantastic.
“It does make it a little difficult (that we haven’t yet played the Lynx), but for us it has been business as usual. The Lynx obviously haven’t lost any games so we must play our best netball to put a good showing up against them.”
Warmington is confident her defensive end will win the ball necessary to allow her strong attackers to thrive.
“We have such strong players across the board and if they get it together at the right time hopefully we can come away with some nice passages of play,” she said.
“It would be enormous for the region – not just for the girls but for the whole community – if the girls came away with the win and qualified for the grand final.”
The Lynx will provide stiff opposition for their Townsville-based opponents, with exciting young talent including Queensland 17/U star Macy Gardner and 2016 QSNL player of the year Eden Cassidy in outstanding form.
Coach Lauren Forbes praised her players for their persistence and reliability throughout the season.
“I’m very lucky I’ve got a bunch of very talented athletes. This year they’ve worked hard on their connection both on and off court, and it’s obviously worked out well for them and has played them in a really good position going into finals,” Forbes said.
“We’ve been really lucky throughout the season to have a really good shooting average. It means the rest of the court is confident in being able to turn over that ball and our shooters are able to deliver. We’ve worked hard on our one-on-one pressure throughout the whole court. So for us it’s about applying that pressure early and often across the four quarters.
“We’ve done a lot more of match play over the last couple of weeks and put in a lot of different scenarios of what we could come up against. Our division one team are coming in to play against us this week at training to set up a few different things on us, so we are fully prepared.”
The Lynx and Steelcats will both be seeking their maiden QSNL grand final victories when they hit the court for the 2017 finals campaign.