NSW Swifts coach Rob Wright says the Magic will be smarting from a regular-season defeat when they take to the Allphones Arena court on Sunday.
NSW Swifts coach Rob Wright expects a tight ANZ Championship minor semi-final against Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic on Sunday, despite a comfortable win against the same opponent just a fortnight ago.
The Swifts, who are hunting their first national title for six years, were 55-43 victors over the Magic in the penultimate round of the regular season.
However, Wright says the Magic, who are the only New Zealand side left in the competition, will be smarting from that defeat when they take to the Allphones Arena court.
“They will make sure that what went wrong last time doesn’t happen again,” said Wright.
“I expect it to be a lot tighter this time.”
The match will be the first finals outings for the Swifts since 2011, when they were led by current Magic coach Julie Fitzgerald, who also took the NSW side to their only title in 2008.
The Swifts had been on a five-match winning streak until their expected loss last weekend, but Wright says the defeat against the Auckland-based Northern Mystics was a one-off.
“I was very disappointed with that result because we had our opportunities to win,” said Wright.
“I think it was just a case of they played extremely well, and we were a just a bit off our game.
“The beauty of the result is that it makes sure we are really switched on, and have addressed that for this week.
“To me it is just a case of keep doing what we have been doing. Last week we did some nice stuff, but it was a bit too patchy and you get punished for that.”
The Swifts expect another big crowd after setting the competition all-time record mark of 10,118 a month ago, and Wright says home support could be a crucial factor.
“I’m putting a call out to our fans to produce a sea of red,” he said. “This is our last home game and the crowd will be such a factor.”
Experienced Swifts midcourter Sarah Wall will undergo an 11th-hour fitness test having missed last week’s match.
The winner will tackle the loser of Monday’s major semi-final between the table-topping Melbourne Vixens and Mission Queensland Firebirds.