Why Jets have extra motivation for grand final bid
A DEPENDABLE captain retiring, previous experience and a wealth of personality has given the Jets added motivation for Sunday's Netball Queensland grand final.
The third-placed Jets are bracing for a classic battle with minor premiers Tigers in the 4.20pm showdown at the Queensland State Netball Centre.
Although the Jets were unable to beat the Tigers in two previous Ruby South Series encounters this season, coach Camille Rieck senses her team has the right ingredients to put the icing on the proverbial cake.
"It's really just about doing the little things well,'' she said, fresh from last weekend's 43-37 preliminary final success over the QUT Wildcats.
She said that was a theme inspiring her side this week.
"We haven't actually had a successful win against the Tigers this season but that is about to change this weekend,'' she said.
Rieck said the improvement in her team this season augured well to surprise the Tigers, who had just two losses from 12 games.
"Since we last played the Tigers, our group of girls have come together better,'' she said.
"They are concentrating throughout a game better.
"They're moving the ball a lot better . . . and using the full court. We're also converting our shots a lot more.''
Rieck has also incredible faith in her well-balanced team, led by retiring captain Stevie Lingman. The dependable centre/wing defence will play her final game at this level before getting married.
"She's very experienced, very knowledgeable,'' Rieck said of her skipper. "I couldn't think of anyone better to have leading the group.''
Rieck said wanting to send Lingman out a winner provided extra incentive for her team.
"The girls want to make sure we finish with a classy win for Stevie,'' the coach said.
However, Sunday's game has many Jets players with terrific stories.
Only two Jets netballers haven't been involved in a grand final.
Wing attack Lucy Walker is preparing for her third grand final, having already enjoyed two victories with Lions at 19s and Division 2 level.
Another experienced player is goal keeper Emilie Gilbert who was nominated for this year's Rubies Most Valuable Player honour.
"She's a good workhorse,'' Rieck said. "She has a great ability to move the ball off the body. She's our intercept queen at the back end.''
Defenders Gilbert (Queensland) and Skye Smith (Australia) have high level indoor netball experience.
Up front, the Jets have plenty of goal-scoring prowess built around former Lions players Briony Payne and Sam Ryan.
Rising shooter Bella Rynne has also made valuable contributions throughout the season along with Georgia Bloxham, Emalee Sammons and Olivia Ridley.
Originally from Perth, centre Ridley recovered from a foot injury to find her best form at the right time.
"She's just been a fabulous input into the team,'' Rieck said.
With such an accomplished side, Rieck is looking for the final ingredient to get her team home. She's put out a call to arms for vocal support from Jets supporters and the Ipswich community.
"Tigers usually bring a loud crowd with them - their orange and black in the stands,'' she said.
"We're hoping to bring the Green Army (to cheer on the Jets).
"I am so excited and proud of our Jets Ruby girls because their journey to the grand final is such a great accomplishment with a new group of young athletes and teammates.''
The Sapphire Series grand final between Cougars and QUT is also being played at the Queensland State Netball Centre.
Ruby South Series grand final: Sunday (4.20pm): Ipswich Jets v Tigers at Queensland State Netball Centre.