Sam Poolman and the Giants have had a strong preseason tournament, falling just short of a bronze-place finish with a 44-46 defeat against the Sunshine Coast on the final day.
The #TeamGirls Cup went well for the Sydney-based team regardless of the finish however, as the squad looked to prepare for the Suncorp Super Netball season ahead in 2019. Before the Lightning defeat on day four, the Giants had scored a 2-2 record to make it into the third place match.
A 47-33 defeat against state rivals the NSW Swifts was the first of the steps for the Giants, before they knocked off West Coast 40-28 in a lopsided affair, and delivered a 9-point win against the Magpies in the third game.
Head coach Julie Fitzgerald praised defensive partnership Kristiana Manu’a and Poolman, who shone in the two victories against the Fever and the Magpies. Together, the duo managed to let in just 65 goals in the second two games, even forcing four held balls in just a single quarter against West Coast.
They were also bolstered by the appearance of new signing Matilda McDonell, who played both goal defence and wing defence throughout the preseason tournament.
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Preseason training, alongside the #TeamGirls Cup result, has given head coach Julie Fitzgerald a lot of confidence heading into the new season as the Giants look to go further than their third place finish in 2018.
The key word for the squad was “re-energised” according to the long-term netball coach, who said she’s focusing on making sure “each player individually improves” so that the team can “come together and hopefully be better than it has previously”.
“I think having the new players in there re-energises the whole group and we’re excited that we’ve had a bit of a change and that young people have come in with fresh ideas and a fresh approach, their excitement is contagious,” Fitzgerald said.
Tickets for the 2019 Super Netball season are now on sale, with a bumper home clash with the Swifts set to begin the Giants’ season. They will welcome the NSW squad to Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday, April 28.
The home and away season will be played over 14 weeks beginning on April 27, with all eight clubs playing each other once at home, and once away. A four-week hiatus will take place after Round 9 to allow for the 2019 Netball World Cup, before teams return to play out the final five rounds of the season. A three-week finals series will then follow, to be contested by the top four-ranked teams, with the Grand Final to be held on the September 15.