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Swifts-Firebirds rivalry hits new heights

AAP logoAAP 31/07/2016 Vince Rugari

NSW Swifts coach Rob Wright expects their sizzling rivalry with the Queensland Firebirds will rise to yet another level when a new eight-team Australian netball competition begins next year.

Few thought last year's nailbiting grand final between the two sides could be topped - but somehow, some way, it happened on Sunday in what is being hailed as one of the greatest matches of all time.

The Swifts were beaten 69-67 in sudden-death double overtime in front of a raucous Brisbane Entertainment Centre crowd, with the Firebirds clinching back-to-back titles in the process, drawing the trans-Tasman era to a fitting close.

For a heartbroken Wright, the only consolation was that he was involved in such an awesome spectacle.

"It's red hot isn't it," he said of the rivalry between Queensland and NSW.

"I think it just shows how good this game is. Netball in Australia is the world's best and I think this rivalry has just gone to somewhere new, which is really cool.

"In the nine years of this competition, I feel like (it) has just continued to step up every year.

"I expect nothing will change next year, it's going to get tougher and tougher."

The stakes will rise in 2017 with a lucrative free-to-air broadcast deal and the introduction of three new franchises backed by AFL and NRL clubs.

A recruitment feeding frenzy is imminent, with the Swifts already said to be in talks with Silver Ferns star Maria Tutaia, while veteran Firebirds skipper Laura Geitz is weighing up whether she will play on.

"I don't think anyone really knows what next year holds," Geitz said.

"Every athlete needs to take some time away from what's just happened to work out exactly what their future holds.

"We've got a big week next week with reviews and everything else and just let it all sink in, and then decisions will obviously have to be made."

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