Date: Sunday 24 July
Time: 12.00pm (local time)
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane
Broadcast: SKY Sport NZ, Fox Sports, ONE HD (On delay on Monday 25 July), Netball Live App
Match Centre: anz-championship.com
Hashtags: #ANZCFinals #FIRvSTE
Our two teams who finished on top of the Australian and New Zealand Conferences at the end of the regular season will meet in the Australian-hosted Semi Final, fighting for a position in next weekend’s coveted Grand Final.
The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel were shocked by the Cold Power Magic last weekend, suffering their first loss for the season, a narrow two-goal defeat. This will only motivate them more this week to come out firing, especially with a Grand Final position on the line.
Last time these two teams met in Round 11 it was the Steel who emerged 15-goal victors in Dunedin. Te Paea Selby-Rickit was named MVP for the match, netting 15 goals from 17 attempts, playing a major feeding role to circle partner Jhaniele Fowler-Reid.
In Round 11, the Firebirds were also without their defensive duo Laura Geitz and Clare McMeniman, with star shooter Romelda Aiken playing in the goal keeper position for half of the game. Expect the two line-ups who battle this weekend to look different compared to when they last met.
Keep an eye on the match-up between Gina Crampton and Gabi Simpson. They only played on each other for one quarter earlier this year, although it is a match-up that excites on paper.
The Firebirds’ home court is proving to be a tough place to beat the Queenslanders. They have not lost in Brisbane since Round 1, 2015 and have never lost a finals match at home.
The Steel will be searching for their first ever win in a final this weekend. They have not won a single finals appearance in four attempts, including last weekend’s New Zealand Conference Final, although won two and drew one of their games played on Australian soil this season.
The head-to-head ledger sits firmly in favour of the Firebirds, having only lost their first ever and their most recent encounter with the Steel, leading 7-2.
Steel have never won in Brisbane in four attempts.
Three of the games played between these two sides have been decided by two goals or less.