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Fitzgerald hopes to weave her magic

Tonight, one of the ANZ Championship’s most storied rivalries will enter its final chapter, when the Cold Power Magic and the NSW Swifts meet for the sixth time in finals history.

It is a rivalry that dates back to the inaugural season where the Swifts recorded an against-the-odds one goal Major Semi-Final victory in Hamilton and then backed it up with a 65-56 win in the inaugural Grand Final in Sydney.

Since then, every time these two teams face-off on court, fans are kept on the edge of their seats as they ride the wave of emotion that is finals netball at its best.

A lot has changed since the teams last met in Round 2 – especially for the Magic.

Not many would have predicted they would knock off New Zealand Conference pace-setters, the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel, to secure a home Semi-Final; except the person who masterminded the win – coach Julie Fitzgerald.

“It’s tremendous if you look back on the season we’ve had – to be able to come through and win against the Steel who were in such good form was very encouraging,” Fitzgerald said.

“We knew we had to get off to a good start, otherwise it would have been hard to have that belief – and we’ll be looking to do that again [against the Swifts].

“Playing at home is a great advantage; to be able to play in front of our home crowd is fabulous.”

Fitzgerald knows the Swifts better than most; she was at the helm of the team from 2008-2011 and led them to their only ANZ Championship Grand Final win in 2008.

Will she plot their downfall and guide the Magic to their fourth Grand Final?

Only time will tell; but waiting for the winner is The Coffee Club Queensland Firebirds and a spot in next Sunday’s ANZ Championship Grand Final.

The Magic will play the Swifts in the New Zealand-hosted Semi-Final on Monday night at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton. Fans can catch all the action live on SKY Sport NZ 1 and FOX SPORTS Australia from 7.30pm (local time).

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