Acid test for Geitz’s Firebirds
SHE’S played at the Commonwealth Games and she’s represented her country 19 times, but Allora’s Laura Geitz plays one of the biggest games of her blossoming career on Monday night.
After going through the ANZ Championship regular season undefeated, Geitz and the Queensland Firebirds are preparing for the major semi-final against the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
The 23-year-old goal-keeper admits to being nervous ahead of the biggest game of the year so far.
“This is definitely up there as one of the biggest games of my career and I’m feeling a little nervous about it. But nerves for me are a good thing, I like to have nerves before a big match,” Geitz said.
Despite their undefeated record, success hasn’t come easy for the Firebirds, finishing a heart-breaking fifth for the previous three seasons.
Monday night’s match will be Queensland’s first finals match. The Magic, on the other hand, are the only team to make the finals of the championship every year since the competition began in 2008.
“They’ve definitely got experience in the finals which is something we don’t have a lot of,” Geitz said. “But I see that as an advantage for us, we want it.”
“As I’ve said before, we’re a team and team work is something that has really shone through for us on court this year.”
One of the keys to the Magic’s successes over the last four years has been New Zealand great and captain Irene Van Dyk.
Geitz plays directly opposite the goal-shooter Van Dyk on Monday night and she is well aware their battle will play a big part in determining who goes directly through to the grand final.
“She’s a fantastic competitor and an amazing athlete,” Geitz said. “But obviously on the court I’ve got a job to do.
“It’s a huge match-up between the both of us. She’s a player we need to shut down for the whole 60 minutes because she can score extremely quickly.”
Going into the season, Geitz never expected the Firebirds to be sitting where they are now, with a chance at becoming the first team to go through the ANZ Championship undefeated. But she is refusing to get ahead of herself.
“It’s been a good season and we’re happy with where we are sitting. But we’ve got to push all that aside ... finals are completely different,” Geitz said.