Only four points separated the Blaze and Fire at the end of the regular season and all indications suggest this Saturday’s second edition of the ‘inferno rivalry’ will be close again.
The Blaze’s clinical execution at penalty corners proved the difference in a 4-2 result when the teams met back in Round 3. Brisbane have proven to be a constant threat through their penalty corner battery, and with specialist drag flickers including some of Australia’s best in Jodie Kenny, Madison Fitzpatrick and Ashlea Fey, the Fire can ill afford to allow the Queenslanders too many set piece opportunities.
But the Fire have their own attacking prowess and will back themselves to pierce a Blaze defence that has only conceded five goals so far. Miki Spano finished as the league’s equal leading scorer after the regular season with six goals, while the likes of Gabi Nance and Emma de Broughe have provided more than worthy side acts to help the Fire finished in third.
Adelaide Fire are certainly a more imposing outfit with Hockeyroos duo Karri McMahon and Jane Claxton in their line up, and their experience will be crucial if the girls from South Australia are to get past a Blaze team that boasts a host of their own Hockeyroos.
Notably, all of the Blaze’s three Fitzpatrick sisters – Savannah, Madison and Kendra – are set to line up together in a competitive match for the first time.
They said it…
Melody Cooper (Adelaide Fire Head Coach)
“Semi finals are always exciting and the team have prepared well. We are focusing on what we can control and looking forward to the challenge.
“Our brand of hockey has been progressing well throughout the campaign.
“Brisbane have a number of experienced internationals and Jillaroos in their team and for us to counter we will need to be really clinical in our delivery.”
Holly Evans (Adelaide Fire Captain )
“The lead up to the semi-final has been exciting! The whole group have been working hard on the training track over the past 16 weeks and this week has been no exception.
“Brisbane are a strong attacking team, so we know we need to bring our A-game, but we are confident that our preparation will hold us in good stead and we can’t wait to get out there.”
“Each game we have looked to progress and learn in order to be at our best come finals. The loss against Brisbane in the regular season really sparked the flames to step up and prove that Adelaide is a contender and I think we showed that last week against Melbourne. It will no doubt be a fast and exciting game and the girls are ready for the challenge.”
“We are a tight-knit group and will leave it all out there for each other. So the key for us is to ensure we play our style of aggressive and team-oriented hockey for the full 60 minutes. If we can do that then we can beat anyone.”
Brisbane Blaze v Adelaide Fire
Saturday 9 November 2019
State Hockey Centre (QLD)
Match Start: 5:00pm local (6:00pm AEDT)
Tickets: Click here for ticketing details
Broadcast: LIVE and exclusive on Kayo
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #BBZvADL #HockeyOne
Brisbane Blaze Women’s team: 1.Savannah Fitzpatrick, 2.Madison Fitzpatrick, 3.Layla Eleison, 4.Ashlea Fey, 5.Rosie Malone, 6.Morgan Gallagher, 7.Jodie Kenny, 8.Jordyn Holzberger, 12.Kendra Fitzpatrick, 13.Rebecca Greiner, 14.Meg Pearce, 15.Hannah Astbury (GK), 19.Morgan Mathison, 22.Britt Wilkinson
In: 12.Kendra Fitzpatrick, 13.Rebecca Greiner
Out: 9.Jesse Reid, 20.Aleisha Neumann
Adelaide Fire Women’s team: 1.Linzi Appleyard, 3.Brooklyn Buchecker, 6.Jane Claxton, 7.Emma De Broughe, 8.Holly Evans, 13.Sarah Harrison, 15.Euleena Maclachlan, 17.Karri McMahon, 19.Gabi Nance, 20.Hattie Shand, 21.Miki Spano, 22.Leah Welstead, 23.Gemma McCaw, 30.Ashlee Wells (GK)
In: 23.Gemma McCaw
Out: 25.Kate Denning
Past match results
Brisbane Blaze Women’s Team (Finished 2nd)
Rd 1 v Canberra Chill (A): L 2 (2)-2 (3) (Malone 43’/43’)
Rd 2 v HC Melbourne (A): L 0-1
Rd 3 v Adelaide Fire (A): W 4-2 (Harris 5’, Fey 21’, Wilkinson 44’, Eleison 50’)
Rd 4 v Tassie Tigers (H): W 5-0 (Harris 8’, Wilkinson 15’/15’/42’, Fey 38’)
Rd 5 v Perth Thundersticks (H): W 3-0 (Fey 15’/35’, Harris 43’)
Rd 6 BYE
Rd 7 v NSW Pride (H): W 2-0 (Kenny 26’, M.Fitzpatrick 41’)
Top goal scorers: Ashlea Fey, Britt Wilkinson 4; Ruby Harris 3
Adelaide Fire Women’s Team (Finished 3rd)
Rd 1 v NSW Pride (A): W 2-1 (McMahon 34’, Spano 41’)
Rd 2 v Tassie Tigers (A): W 4-0 (Spano 32’/56’, Nance 34’, de Broughe 43’)
Rd 3 v Brisbane Blaze (H): L 2-4 (Spano 33’/54’)
Rd 4 v Perth Thundersticks (H): L 1-2 (McCaw 42’)
Rd 5 BYE
Rd 6 v Canberra Chill (H): W 4-0 (de Broughe 6’, Spano 23’, Nance 46’, Shand 60’)
Rd 7 v HC Melbourne (A): W 1 (4)-1 (3) (McMahon 53’)
Top goal scorers: Miki Spano 6; Emma de Broughe, Karri McMahon, Gabbi Nance 2