Breaking the hearts of Sunshine Coast Lightning would be the perfect way to reach another Super Netball grand final for Sam Poolman.
The GWS Giants defender desperately wants “another crack” at West Coast Fever, who are already through to the championship decider in Perth on August 26.
Standing in the way of the minor premiers is Lightning, who annihilated the Giants 65-48 in the league’s inaugural grand final last year.
The Giants host Sunshine Coast in the do-or-die preliminary final at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday.
GWS were on a high after sealing the minor premiership with a win over Fever in the league’s final round but were brought crashing back down to earth in a six-goal loss to West Coast in the major semi-final last weekend. Lightning beat Queensland Firebirds by one in the minor match-up.
“Everyone was pretty down because individually and as a team we just didn’t put out the performance that we know we could against Fever,” Poolman said.
“No one slept for two nights after the loss because everyone was so pissed off with how we played. When we turned up to training we all said we’ve never felt like that after a game, so it’s about turning that into something productive.
“It’s another week and another challenge and it’s been a while since we’ve played Lightning, so we’re excited.”
The Giants gave up grand final hosting rights by losing to Fever and this weekend will be the last time they play in Sydney this season.
“We know it’s our last home game and we’re at Qudos, which provides a lot more of a crowd,” Poolman said.
“Knowing that this will be the last game at home for Prat [Susan Pettitt] and Serena [Guthrie], who announced this week she is going back to England, means there’s a lot to play for in a positive way. As long as we enjoy it, that’s when we play our best netball.”
The Giants won 54-51 when they met Lightning in a grand final rematch in round one of the season.
When they played in round eight, the game ended in a 53-53 stalemate.
Lightning had a slow start to their championship defence but have finished the season with a flourish and have not lost since going down to Fever 59-58 in round 10 on July 7.
“Last time we played them we had ourselves in a really good position with a good lead and let the draw happen,” Poolman said.
“The back half of their season has been quite strong but there’s definitely a little bit more motivation there to get one up on them after they absolutely smashed us in the grand final last year.
“We match them well, it’s just about us playing well. I think we were our worst enemy last week. But we’re very good at bouncing back and everyone is really determined.”
Meanwhile, the Newcastle open championship finalists are already decided with the last round on Saturday.
Maryville Tavern play Forsythes, BNC Whanau take on West Leagues Balance 2, Wests 1 meet Nova Thunder and Souths’ two sides battle.
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