Everything you need to know ahead of this weekend's Suncorp Super Netball semi-finals.
Sunshine Coast Lightning will host the NSW Swifts to see who earns grand final hosting rights and the minor-semi final will see the Melbourne Vixens host the Collingwood Magpies to determine who moves through to the preliminary final and who will be eliminated from the finals.
Sunshine Coast Lightning v NSW Swifts
Saturday 31 August - 3pm AEST
USC Stadium, Sippy Downs
Broadcast: Nine & Netball Live app
The two-time defending champions versus the young upstarts in their maiden Suncorp Super Netball finals series.
You couldn't have scripted a more captivating major semi-final battle than the one that presents between the Sunshine Coast Lightning and the NSW Swifts, with the winner set to book a berth in the championship decider in two weeks.
As the Lightning prepare to part ways with inaugural coach Noeline Taurua at season's end, the experience of two finals campaigns - both of which delivered the ultimate success - weighs heavily in the premiers' favour, as does the presence of premiership stars Laura Langman, Steph Wood, Karla Pretorius and Laura Scherian.
The Swifts, on the other hand, might be an unknown finals quantity but what they lack in experience they more than make up for in confidence and team unity. A lesser side might have faded out after the loss of captain Maddy Proud, and yet the Swifts have reached the finals knowing their best is still good enough to beat anyone.
The semi-final blockbuster could very well be decided in the defensive ends with Lightning goal defence Karla Pretorius and Swifts keeper Sarah Klau set to have a big say in the result, after both starred when the teams last met in Round 11.
The battle between Pretorius and Swifts goal attack Helen Housby shapes as an international clash for the ages, with the two best players at their positions set to face off for the first time since Round 4.
Who wins? Flip a coin.
Melbourne Vixens v Collingwood Magpies
Sunday 1 September - 1pm AEST
State Netball and Hockey Centre, Melbourne
Broadcast: Nine + Netball Live app
Will ladder position or on-court form win out as the Melbourne Vixens take on the Magpies in a knockout Suncorp Super Netball semi-final?
The Vixens have been touted as title contenders both before and throughout the season, with their Diamond-studded list the envy of most Suncorp Super Netball franchises. But a worrying dip in performance that's seen them drop their final three games of the season has the pundits wondering if they're destined to finish another year empty-handed.
The Magpies, on the other hand, have gotten hot at just the right time, storming into the finals with three consecutive wins, including a crucial (and dominant) 58-47 result against their crosstown rivals in the last round of the season.
While the Magpies have been considered under-performers across the first two seasons of Suncorp Super Netball, could this be the year in which they finally deliver on all that promise? With goal attack Nat Medhurst in rare form, shooter Shimona Nelson now providing the consistent target her team has craved, and Ash Brazill a revelation at centre, their attacking line suddenly looks as potent as any of the top four.
But don't discount the Vixens, who will enter this clash confident that their netball is good enough to beat anyone, but also wondering if they can produce it.
Can the Vixens recover from the mental blow they were dealt last Sunday, or do the Magpies genuinely have the goods to defeat them for the third time this year?
There's good cases to be made for both in what promises to be one of the games of the season.
China International Women’s Match Race
photo Getty Images
Tang Xijing (CHN) and bronze medallist Angelina Melnikova (RUS).
local Dakhla resident stormed to the top of yesterday's women's Kite-Surf single elimination