Ipswich is dominating netball across south east Queensland, as the Flyers and Goodna Sapphires prepare for the state finals, following their clash in the Queensland Premier League SEQ Cup grand final.
In a closely fought game, the Flyers clinched a 58-55 victory against Goodna Sapphires on Friday night at the Queensland State Netball Centre.
Flyers’ coach Nicole Grant said she was proud of the team for how well they came together and kept their focus to beat two-time defending titleholders Goodna.
“I’ve never seen team cohesion as strong as our team this season,” Grant said.
“It’s easy to lose your head out there in a grand final, but our team stayed focused – if someone dropped a ball, there was no negative attitude or blame towards one another. Everyone just moved past it and looked forward.”
Former Brisbane West Lions player Grant said the team worked hard throughout the season, and made significant progress after their 20-point loss to Goodna earlier in the season.
“The girls trained hard and improved each week. We used a lot of videos to work on our play and everyone really took everything on board,” she said.
Goodna Captain Robyn Walsh said that having an all-Ipswich final showed the strength and talent that the region has in the sport.
“It’s great for the younger players to see that no matter what association you play for or where you live, you can play in top level netball. I see it as nothing but a win for Ipswich and surrounding areas,” Walsh said.
The Sapphires’ captain gave full credit to the Flyers for their win, and said Goodna was now focused on coming back stronger for the state finals.
“Unfortunately we did not put our best performance out on the court when it was required. We have so much more to give and are looking forward to the State Championships,” Walsh said.
Grant said it was exciting to have an all-Ipswich final and see so many fans showing their support in the team colours.
“Looking up at the crowds, you could see so much green. The Ipswich Netball Association really got behind us, and it was great to have so much support from our fans.”
Grant said she would be taking a break before deciding if she would return to coach the Flyers next year.
“I’m just taking some time now to enjoy the win after all the hard work we’ve put into the season,” she said.
“Winning the grand final was a bit of a bucket-list item for some of our players as well, so we’ll have to wait and see,” she said.
The Ipswich Flyers and Goodna Sapphires will now play the best teams from across Queensland in the state finals in October.