Queensland are hoping a reversal of their semi-final slow start will prove decisive in Monday’s trans-Tasman netball preliminary final.
Avoiding a repeat slow start is Queensland’s first goal as they chase another trans-Tasman netball championship grand final appearance.
The Firebirds host the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in Monday’s preliminary final in Brisbane knowing a win will give them a third grand final appearance in the past four seasons.
But defender Clare McMeniman warns victory won’t come unless the team can improve on their performance in last week’s semi-final loss against the Melbourne Vixens.
The Firebirds trailed 16-9 after a poor opening quarter and never recovered, eventually going down 52-47 as the Vixens booked a grand final berth.
Queensland beat the Magic in the final round of the regular season, although McMeniman says that will count for little if the Firebirds don’t hit the ground running.
“You can’t play catch-up in finals netball,” McMeniman told AAP.
“We were lucky that we had exposure to the Magic a week before we played the Vixens.
“We’ve had a taste of what they’re like and had a go at playing the way we want to play against that style.
“We came up with a win over in New Zealand so we’ll be looking to continue along the same lines but obviously do it better so we can be assured of that victory.”
History is against a Firebirds win despite their form heading into the finals.
In the past five years, the loser of the major semi-final has failed to bounce back in the following game.
Despite that, McMeniman was confident her teammates will rebound well from the disappointment of the Vixens match.
“Obviously it’s not as smooth a transition into the grand final as we’d like but we have to overcome that this weekend and get a win on the board to get through to that final,” she said.
“Everyone’s been very focused following the game and everyone’s got individual and group goals that we’re all striving towards to better our performance against the Vixens and have a win against the Magic.”