By Cameron Tenardi
The USC Thunder netball team have their eyes firmly set on a maiden finals appearance after defeating the defending HART Sapphire series champions on Saturday.
Coach Garry Pashen said the 47-41 win against the Wildcats could give his side the belief to force another upset victory towards the back-end of the season.
“I think what it gives us confidence for is that if we progress to finals, and that’s what we are aiming for, there’s a fair chance that we’ll come up against the Wildcats,” Pashen said.
“So to have that win against them now, it will give us great confidence going into any finals against them.
“Once you get to finals anything can happen.”
USC Thunder have traditionally struggled against the league leaders, having never finished inside the top four, but this victory over the defending champions could represent a change in the team’s belief.
Goal defence Sarahpheinna Woulf said their win over the Wildcats was the start of something big.
“We have been wanting a win for a very long time, so to get this it’s like all our hard work has paid off,” Woulf said.
“We didn’t start off as well as we wanted to, but we are performing right now, and I think if we trust in each other and keep building each week then they better watch out.
“I really trust in our team that we can win it this year, we just gotta take it quarter by quarter and game by game.
“I honestly think that this year is our year.”
The Sapphire series was delayed earlier this season due to the COVID-19 outbreak and has since struggled to confirm playing dates and locations.
Pashen said that the team must deal with the uncertain schedule.
“At the moment we’ve got the mind-frame that it is what it is, and we’ll cope with it as we go,” Pashen said.
“Whether it’s a double header or we’ve got a week off, we just plan for it as we go and cope with it.”
The Wildcats sit third in the competition and over the past two seasons have had the upper hand over the Thunder side, however history counted for little on Saturday as USC finally got one back on the Brisbane south-based side.
Pashen was happy with the six-goal win but said it was the way the girls took what they had done at training and incorporated it into their game that impressed him the most.
“[I’m] obviously pleased about the result,” Pashen said.
“But what I’m probably more pleased about is the things that don’t get measured on the scoreboard.
“I’m really happy with the way that they were patient and worked with the body to get through that zone.
“These guys are defending champions and just ahead of us on the table, so we are stoked to get away with that win.
“Their performance was the main thing, and obviously the scoreboard then took care of itself.”