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Extra-time special makes for epic finale

The Coffee Club Queensland Firebirds and NSW Swifts once again had fans on the edge of their seats, taking the ANZ Championship Grand Final into extended extra time.

After the thrilling game, Firebirds captain Laura Geitz admitted how taxing extra time was on the players.

“I thought, oh gosh please don’t let it go into extra time,” Geitz said of her feelings pre-game as the Firebirds team manager explained procedures should the game go into extra time.

“It’s a different feeling to last year, it was so up and down. I think everyone is exhausted, but is feeling absolute elation.”

The game was a constant see-saw, both teams leading by up to five goals at different points during regular time.

The Swifts demonstrated extreme determination and gusto, fighting back in the fourth quarter from a five goal deficient, scoring three goals in the final minute to trigger extra time.

Neither side was able to close out the game at the end of the first nor second seven-minute terms of extra time.

“Even before extra time there was an opportunity to close the match out, but we were our own worst enemy,” said Geitz.

“The Swifts applied fantastic pressure, credit to them but we did really make it difficult for ourselves at different times.

“It was such a see-saw, up and down, up and down and that’s emotionally exhausting. But at the same time there is an amazing faith and trust in the group that we know how to win in those situations.”

Kim Ravaillion, a critical connector for the Firebirds, was named Finals Series Most Valuable Player, for her exceptional performances across the entire Finals Series, including two match MVPs in the Australian Conference Final and Semi-Final.

Ravaillion has played in four consecutive ANZ Championship Grand Finals each year since her debut, and attributed the personal accolade to the support of her teammates.

“They make it real clear that I’m the connecting role and I’ve got to be in there and have a lot of energy and the minutes in me,” Ravaillion explained.

“I do my bit for the team and that just enabled me to do my job so much more easily and the confidence the girls give me, that’s what made me play my game.

“I think it’s the best sport in the world to be honest.”

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