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NSW Swifts face Brisbane netball hoodoo

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/07/2016 Adrian Warren

The NSW Swifts must break through two big historical barriers to overcome arch-rivals Queensland Firebirds in the trans-Tasman netball Australian conference final.

Despite their record as a netball powerhouse, the Swifts have surprisingly lost all 10 matches they've ever contested in Brisbane, including last year's epic grand final which was decided by one goal at the death.

It's just as well that Monday's big match won't be won on paper as Swifts fans will be further concerned to learn the Firebirds have never lost a finals match in Brisbane.

First though, the New Zealand conference final will be contested on Sunday, with the unbeaten Southern Steel hosting Waikato-BOP Magic in Invercargill.

Magic are the only one of the 10 teams to have made each of the nine finals series, but they will start as underdogs against a Steel side that scored 10-goal wins over them in both regular season clashes.

The Firebirds are the first defending champions from Australia to make it back to the finals the following season.

They've done it just in time, with the competition finishing in it's ninth year and being replaced in 2017 by separate tournaments in Australian and New Zealand.

The Swifts can take heart from the fact they won their last scrap with the Firebirds in late May in front of a competition-record crowd of 13,314 at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena.

The two teams met at the corresponding stage of last year's tournament, but the Swifts will be much more rested than they were before the 2015 Australian conference final.

They lost to the Firebirds by 11 in Brisbane, less than 48 hours after winning a home elimination game.

"We had to play on the Friday night and then had to travel Saturday and play the Sunday lunchtime," Swifts' goal attack Susan Pettitt recalled.

"We've had an eight-day turnaround (this year), so it's a little bit longer than a normal week.

"Mentally and physically it's an advantage to have the whole week to prepare to get our bodies right from the last game and to work on things we want to work on."

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