Aussie netballers seeking semi wins

Adrian Warren, NZ Newswire July 6, 2012, 9:26 pm

Melbourne Vixens are ready for the Mystics' chairlift tactic, with both Australia teams in the trans-Tasman netball semi-finals seeking to reverse a regular season defeat.

Sunday's major semi-final at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne pits minor premiers Vixens against New Zealand's Mystics, who beat the Victorian team 49-45 at Hisense Arena in May.

Monday's elimination minor semi in Hamilton puts the red-hot Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic against fourth-placed Adelaide, who they thumped 59-42 in Tauranga in the penultimate round less than two weeks ago.

Mystics, who were losing grand-finalists last year, successfully employed the chairlift - netball's version of lifting in a rugby lineout - against the Vixens.

"They tried the lift last time which they hadn't before and caught us off guard," said Vixens coach Julie Hoornweg.

"The word out of New Zealand is that they've got another trick or two up their sleeve, so we need to be alert and on our toes and play our own game."

Hoornweg said getting one of her shooters between the Mystics two circle defenders was one of the ways to negate the tactic.

Adelaide will have to win twice in New Zealand if they are to make history and become the first team to win from fourth position.

However, Thunderbirds coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson stressed only two points separated the top four and felt there was very little between the four semi-finalists.

She said it would be a big challenge to overturn such a recent large defeat to Magic, who have won nine in a row.

"They will certainly be the team to beat, but their record is three (wins) out of ten in finals," Woodlands-Thompson said.

She felt playing the semi in Hamilton rather than Tauranga, which would have almost doubled the Thunderbirds' travelling time, was a plus.

"I think we need to see that as an advantage and we have tapered well," Woodlands-Thompson said.

"The girls are feeling fresh and fit."