Queensland Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke has made a point of defending the physicality of Australian teams in the lead-up to her side's trans-Tasman league preliminary final against the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.
Talking about the Magic getting used to facing the traditional Aussie defensive style which involves players closer to the body compared to New Zealand's traditional zone defence, with this being their third successive match against an opponent from across the ditch, Jencke was a touch prickly.
"I want to say it's not physical, I want to say it's a contest," she said. "I think that's a mistaken philosophy that it's physical. I think it's a contest for the ball, and both teams as are as strong at it. I don't think it's just one way, that's for sure."
Jencke felt all teams tend to play a mixture of the defensive styles and have had to adapt to the changing face of the game.
Her mob are led by one of the most physical in captain Laura Geitz, and the Magic will have to play smartly to limit the star defender's effect on the game.
The Firebirds have a fully fit squad for Monday night, and they are looking for some improvements after going down to the Melbourne Vixens in the major semifinal.
"Spirits are really high," Jencke said. "You're always disappointed when you lose. But keeping it all in perspective, Vixens are sitting top of the table and now have got themselves a grand final berth."
Jencke said her team would take "a little bit" from their meeting a fortnight ago, when the Firebirds prevailed 59-55 in Hamilton to secure second place.
"I take that we were up, I think a few times we weren't able to consolidate. I also take that Magic are a team that will never lay down and that will keep coming at you really strongly because they've got really good leaders. And I take that we need to adjust a little bit in our attack end and use the ball a little bit better. And I felt defensively we needed to adjust and play our different angles better."
- Waikato Times
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