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'Brutal' games expected in Netball Premier League semi-finals

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JOHANNESBURG - After seven weeks of exciting netball the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League will come to an end on Sunday in Bloemfontein.

Who will be the queens of the court? Gauteng Jaguars will face one of the stronger teams this season, the Western Cape Southern Stings, in the first semi-final at Mangaung Indoor Sports Centre. Tip-off is at 4pm and at 6pm the Gauteng Fireballs will battle it out with the North West Flames in the second semi at the same venue.

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Chante Bester, captain of North West Flames, looks for an opportunity past Kgomoeadira Kealeboga, of the Northern Cape Diamonds. Photo: Gerard Duraan/BackpagePix

Jaguars vice-captain Tshina Mudau is looking forward to Saturday's semi-final and is hoping her team are up for the battle for a spot in the final and a possible title after Free State Crinums dominated the league for the past three seasons.

“I think there’s pressure on all four teams. We don’t feel excluded or exempt from the pressure that comes with being in the semi-finals. We want to make the final and make the outcome completely different from the past three. We definitely want the final and consider ourselves champions already,” she said.

The Jaguars have lost only one game this season. Mudau said facing the Southern Stings won’t be an easy task as the Cape team have many experienced players.

“All the teams have been very strong this year and the Southern Stings themselves have so many Proteas players. We are trying to take it game by game," she said.

“Basically... each individual has to focus on their (direct) opponent. They are fierce as a team because they are so experienced, but if we can target them individually, and break (their teamwork), we can beat them,” said the 23-year-old who also plays for UP Tuks."

The Flames against the Fireballs will be an interesting match as the North West side will be seeking revenge after losing 48-44 against the same opposition in the first weekend of the tournament.

“It’s definitely going to be a brutal game, especially after we lost to them the first weekend.” said Flames captain Chante Bester.

“But I think we are preparing very well. We are looking at the previous games...at the mistakes we’ve made throughout the tournament and how to correct them,” added Bester

“It’s never nice losing. It’s never a nice feeling. We used that just to motivate us. We can’t go into the tournament thinking ‘You got this,’ before you’ve actually played the game.

“So we motivated ourselves to work harder, train harder, work as a team and just to play until that last whistle blows,” she added.

The winner of the tournament will travel to New Zealand later this month, to take part in their club championship. They will play from July 2 to 7.

The Star

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