Weekend Preview - ANZ Championship Round 5
Round 5 action of ANZ Championship is set to explode this weekend, with pride on the line and rivalry at its fiercest as the intra-nation battles are fought. Watch out for the match of the round with the highly anticipated top of the table clash between the NSW Swifts and the Melbourne Vixens in Newcastle on Monday night.
West Coast Fever get the round underway on Saturday when they host the in form Queensland Firebirds at Challenge Stadium. When these two sides met in round one, the contest went right down to the wire with Firebirds sneaking home by two goals.
The Firebirds will be hard to stop again but Fever is capable of big things. Consistency across the board will be paramount to their success. Young Susan Fuhrmann will be put to the test against Romelda Aitken as will Laura Geitz down the other end against the 19-year-old shooting sensation Caitlin Bassett.
ColourPlus Magic are sitting just outside the top four and will be looking to creep up the ladder this weekend when they host the Suzuki Pulse in Hamilton. Pulse will be desperate to get their first win of the season and they will be looking to recapture the form that pushed Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel into overtime only a few weeks ago.
Magic looked sharp against West Coast Fever and they will be keen to build on that performance and power their way up the rankings. The duel between the long bomb master Maria Tutaia and England's Sonia Mkoloma will be match up to enjoy.
Monday netball will be a night not to be missed as the top two sides go head to head for the first time, with the match promising to be another classic between the two states. The Swifts will play host to the Vixens in Newcastle and the court will be covered with current and former international players. The goal circle contest between Catherine Cox and Susan Pratley up against Bianca Chatfield and Julie Prendergast will go a long way in determining a winner, with a plethora of class and talent in that circle.
This will be another solid test for the Swifts backline as they try to restrict the supply of ball to the Vixens shooters and limit the volume of shots put up by dangerous Australian squad member Caitlin Thwaites.
Only the brave dare venture down to Stadium Southland but the LG Mystics will need to muster every ounce of courage to score their first win of the season against the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel. This game could swing either way, with both sides full of talent, with a clean execution of game plans a key in this match.
Tempera George and Liana Barret-Chase will be a duel to watch in the mid court, while the match up at the respective ends will be key to this game. Steels spearhead Daneka Wipiiti up against the might of Vilimaina Davu, and Mystics Catherine Latu against the intimidating Megan Hutton.
While Round five earns the Adelaide Thunderbirds and the SKOPE Tactix have the first of the byes for the season.