Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday 21 June – NSW Swifts v Queensland Firebirds, Grand Final

Current location: Brisbane, Queensland
11.11am, Waiting. Waiting for a train to get me to the stadium. Waiting to see Dana, Bree's auntie who I was going to the game with. Waiting to watch the Swifts... Waiting to see them (hopefully) win!

The odds were against the Swifts, who've never won away to the Firebirds, and who weren't the favourites for this match. But they'd hit their stride a few rounds earlier, and were looking strong, despite having played a few extra games in the past couple of weeks, while the Firebirds had had a rest thanks to finishing top of the ladder.

The atmosphere at the stadium was amazing right from the beginning, with about eight times as many Firebirds fans as Swifts fans, but we were doing our best to match their volume levels. The game was super-mega-exciting, with the Swifts taking a very slight lead early (1 goal up at quarter time) and maintaining the lead for almost 59 minutes of the 1-hour match. The quality of netball played at this level never fails to astound me, but today they really upped the ante and all us fans and viewers were treated to such a fast-paced and hard-fought match.

Sadly, the last minute proved to be the Swifts' undoing, with the Firebirds managing to even the score then win by a single goal in the final minute (scored by an ex-Swifts player, no less!). The stadium absolutely erupted – I have honestly never heard noise like it, and it must have been incredible to be a Firebirds fan at that game. Us in the Swifts corner just couldn't believe it and there was definitely a sense of injustice, as we'd been winning the entire game, but that's sport, and the Swifts just couldn't hang on at that moment. They definitely did themselves proud though!!

After the match, I went with Dana and her family back to the hotel the Swifts were staying in (as Dana's daughter Taylah plays for the Swifts), and I got to meet some of my favourite players. Exciting times, but there was obviously a bit of a subdued feeling in Swifts camp that afternoon! We had a nice could of hours though, before I got back on the plane and headed down to Sydney. What a weekend – I'm so glad I made the decision to go up, and am so proud to be a Swiftie! We'll get 'em next year!

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