DURBAN (25 May 2016) – The last weekend of Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League action will see the Flames, Crinums, Southern Stings and Jaguars all battling it out for a place in Saturday’s final of Africa’s premier netball league.
Michael Vlismas – The first challenge will be Friday’s semi-finals at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban.
The first semi-final at 18:00 sees the unbeaten North West Flames against the Free State Crinums.
The Flames had last weekend off as they watched the quarterfinals to see who their opponents would be. And coach Dorette Badenhorst is well aware of the challenge they face against a resurgent Crinums team that is hunting a third consecutive Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League title.
“We all know the Crinums are coming back very strong now, so it’s important to make sure we prepare well for the semi-finals because we know it’s going to be hard. I think on attack we’re on a high at the moment so that’s great timing,” said Badenhorst.
Her captain, Nadia Uys, says the team is preparing for what they expect will be their toughest match of the season.
“It’s definitely going to be netball on another level. Probably the toughest game in this whole tournament. Last year the Crinums beat us in the semi-finals. This year we’re coming in firing on all cylinders. But it’s going to be hard out there and will a take a lot of courage.”
Crinums coach Burta de Kock believes her players are peaking at exactly the right time for what she also believes will be a hard-fought match.
“The Flames will be tough, but our preparation has been outstanding and we’re going to climb in hard in this match. The most important thing now is not to lose focus.
Making it through to the semi-finals was only the beginning of what is still ahead of us. Every team wants to win this competition. For me it’s very important that I keep my players’ confidence on a high so that they go into the semis not worried about who they are playing, but as a team that is one unit on attack and defence. And I have no doubt that I have a team that believes very much they can win this.”
The second semi-final sees the Gauteng Jaguars take on the Western Cape Southern Stings at 20:00 on Friday.
The Jaguars are looking to make their third consecutive final, and coach Jenny van Dyk believes their slow start to this year’s competition is paying off now in the playoffs.
“I think we’re peaking at just the right time. I’m very proud of my team. They’ve shown a lot of character to get to this point. The semis is all about the team that makes the least mistakes. It’s not that you want to have a negative outlook on the game. But it’s about limiting your mistakes and pushing for interceptions to put pressure on the other team. Your goal average is also important. If your goal average is in the high nineties then you’re looking good.”
The Stings were the pacesetters early in the competition, with coach Annelie Lucas proving she is more than up to the challenge in her first Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League season as head coach.
“We’ve been very patient about our build-up to the finals. The Jaguars have the length in the circle with their shooters but I believe my defenders will be able to accommodate this.”
Finals (Olive Convention Centre, Durban):
27 May – Semi-Finals
18:00 – Flames v Crinums (Semi-Final 1)
20:00 – Jaguars v Southern Stings (Semi-Final 2)
14:00 – 5th/6th Place Playoff: Fireballs v Kingdom Stars
16:00 – 3rd/4th Place Playoff
18:00 – Final