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2016 Grand Final Predictions

Who will be crowned our 2016 ANZ Championship winners, The Coffee Club Queensland Firebirds or the NSW Swifts?

We turn to some of our netball experts to find out how they think the big Grand Final will unfold.

Lisa Alexander, Australian Diamonds coach
The game will go into double extra-time, with the Firebirds finishing slightly ahead due to their home court advantage.

The game changer is a hard one in what will be a close fought game; the winner of the contest between Maddy Turner and Gretel Tippett will make the difference. Firebirds by two.

Janine Southby, Silver Ferns coach
This is going to be a tough one because both teams are strong, but I’m going to back the Swifts recognising the influence of Laura Langman. The Swifts showed a strong game on Monday night; they’re professional, incredibly motivated, fit and hungry for success.

Laura will be the game changer in my mind. She made the move to the Swifts with the key aim of challenging herself in a new environment. This season she has grown her game in both attack and defence – she is an incredible athlete with a strong work ethic. My pick, the Swifts by three.

Stacey Rosman, West Coast Fever coach
The Firebirds playing in their home environment will be incredibly tough to beat given the level of self-belief they take from not having lost in Brisbane since our trip there in Round 1 of last season.

I strongly believe this game will be decided in the mid-court, as the ability to control the pace, the delivery of the ball and the pressure that enable defenders to have an impact on the contest, will be crucial.

In my eyes it will all come down to which side wins the wing defence battle with both teams possessing quality players in such an influential position. It shapes as an intriguing Grand Final but I think the Firebirds will create some history and go back-to-back with a four- goal victory. 

Simone McKinnis, Melbourne Vixens coach
I think it is going to be a really tough one and hard to pick really, but will slightly favour Firebirds for the win by maybe five and become the first (and last) team to win back to back premierships in the ANZ Championship.

Really looking forward to watching it all unfold on the day.

Sue Gaudion, Fox Sports Australia commentator
The momentum, home ground advantage and rich history all points to a third Queensland Firebirds Championship making them the most successful team in the competition.

We know their starting line up and that is unlikely to change, however I believe the NSW Swifts destiny lies solely in getting their combinations 'right' at the 'right' time! If Thwaites gets the nod, then her second quarter will be telling with Geitz rarely beaten in consecutive quarters. Firebirds by six.

Sarah Allen, Fox Sports Australia commentator
The perfect ending to the final ANZ Championship season – the two best teams battling in a Grand Final re-match of 2015.

There will be a lot of emotion coming into this match, the Swifts will have burning memories of the year prior, there will be potential retirements from both sides and potential player movement following this last hurrah.

If any team can absorb the emotions and pressure, it’s the Queensland Firebirds. They showed in the semi-final against Steel that if they are within four goals of a side they will snatch the win. Sharni Layton is my favourite player to watch, however Romelda Aiken has proven she is truly unstoppable and I think she will lead her side to a six goal win.

Jenny Woods, Sky Sport NZ Commentator
Sunday's Grand Final will be Laura Langman's 137th - and obviously last - ANZ Championship game. She has played six games more than any other player. The Swifts midcourt against the Magic was outstanding ... strangling the life out of them.

To have any chance against the Firebirds, who can sniff a historic back-to-back title, the Swifts must win the midcourt. Langman at C, in that sweet combination with Green at WA could be the key to reversing last year's result. My tip, Swifts by three.

Amanda Lulham, Daily Telegraph Journalist
Valuable lessons have been learned from the last loss and Swifts full court defence has been amping up for weeks. This is a tougher, fitter and faster team than last year who excel with the backs against the wall. 

Sharni Layton. Managed to agitate Romelda last game and has the capacity, with help from full court defence, to again rattle the shooting machine just enough to give the Swifts the chances they need. Swifts by two.

Damien Stannard, Journalist
If the NSW Swifts play as they did against the Magic, the Firebirds will monster them. They had more than double volume of turnovers but I’d hope the Swifts bring a greater level of execution.

My game changer is Gabi Simpson who mixes toughness with sublime athleticism. Loves a big stage and has future Firebirds captain written all over her. Firebirds by seven.

The Firebirds will host the Swifts in the 2016 ANZ Championship Grand Final at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Sunday July 31. The game will be broadcast live on 

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