The 2015 Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League kicks off this weekend with a mouth-watering Gauteng derby between the Pretoria-based Jaguars and Johannesburg-based Golden Fireballs on Friday. The two teams, who are counted among the favourites in Division 1, both want to get off to a winning start this weekend and set the early pace in the five-week competition that runs every weekend from tomorrow to the final on June 7 at the University of Pretoria Sports Complex. Jaguars captain Erin Burger, who played for the Fireballs last season, said their chances for the tournament were good: ‘They need to be ready for us. Everybody is saying it’s a big derby but for us it’s just another match. Yes they are Gauteng and yes we are friends but come game time tomorrow then they are the opposition and you don’t even see a face. It’s going to be a hard, difficult one.’
Fireballs captain Amanda Mynhardt said her team was raring to go: ‘Tomorrow will set the tone for the competition and hopefully we’ll have a good result after that. I hope it’s going to be a good quality we’ll bring out our best and they will bring the best and we hope to have the result at the end of the day.’ The Gauteng derby stats proceedings at 6pm on Saturday and promises to be a titanic encounter as the teams know each other exceptionally well and will want to snag the provincial bragging rights. Both teams are littered with players who have national team experience.
For the Jaguars the 1.89m-tall Goal Shooter Melissa Myburgh and Lenize Potgieter will be the main targets up front while Under-21 SPAR Proteas Goal Shooter Deancke Roode will want to stamp her authority on the competition. One thing is certain both team badly want to win this one. Jenny Van Dyk says: ‘The squad has prepared well for the Premier League and we are very confident as the majority of our team that made the final are still part of the squad and haven’t stopped training together. We have a well-balanced team with some very experienced senior players and some eager young talent.’
The Golden Fireballs, however, are not intimated and are confident of a strong showing, said coach Martha Mosoahle-Samm: ‘It’s important for us to take it tomorrow to give the girls confidence and to make it easier for us later in the tournament. Our goal is to win the league and we believe that we can go all the way.’ The Gauteng derby is not the only mouth-watering prospect. On Friday the North West Flames will be up against the champions, and on Saturday Jaguars will face the Crinums in a repeat of last year’s final. Both teams were near flawless throughout the competition last year and the winning team will take much confidence in the run-in for the title.
The newly-promoted Southern Stings will also want to prove a point in their first year in the top division, especially after Spar Proteas coach Bennie Saayman earlier this week labelled them as the outside contenders to the title. In Division 2, the relegated Eastern Cape Aloes and Kingdom Stars are favourite to win the fight for promotion. Both team will want to get off to the perfect start this week before they face off in Week 2.
Photo: Gauteng Jaguars captain Erin Burger (left) and Golden Fireballs captain Amanda Mynhardt show off their new kit at a press conference ahead of their derby clash on Friday.
Photo credit: Newton Sports PR