Super Netball 2017: Bulley and Fitzgerald looking to go full circle in decider

STEELY FOCUS: Bec Bulley. Picture: Getty Images
STEELY FOCUS: Bec Bulley. Picture: Getty Images

THROUGHOUT a stellar netball career, success has always followed Giants defensive ace Bec Bulley.

In a decade at the top level, she’s won three premierships with three different clubs, the first coming under current Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald with the Swifts in 2008.

She saluted again in 2013 with Adelaide and two years later retired on the back of a third title, this time with the Queensland Firebirds, and a World Cup gold medal with the Diamonds. 

It’s that proven record as a winner that prompted Fitzgerald to talk her into a comeback in 2017 – with 15-month-old daughter Indie in tow.

On Saturday, they’ll have the chance to go full circle in the Suncorp Super Netball decider against Sunshine Coast, nine years after winning a fairytale crown with the NSW Swifts. 

“It’s really exciting, I actually feel I’m playing like I was in 2008,” Bulley said.

“It’s a great team to be a part of and, even though there’s been however many years in between, it still feels the same. Julie’s still the same amazing coach. 

“When she first called me I didn’t really think about finals netball at all. I knew we were a good team and we were certainly looking to make the finals but to be in another grand final is awesome.

“It's a great story and hopefully we can get a win on Saturday and that will just be the icing on the cake.”

Bulley hasn’t missed a minute of game-time this season and Fitzgerald will no doubt be leaning heavily on the Woonona local’s experience in an otherwise youthful roster.

“There’s only Susan Pettitt and myself who’ve played in a grand final at this level before,” Bulley said.

“Hopefully we can steer those less experienced players through and remind them it is just a normal game.

“Even though it is a grand final, you just need to play like you’ve been playing all season. You don’t have to do anything extra special. If you try too hard that’s when you don’t play well.”

The Giants will head into the clash high on confidence after convincing victory over minor premiers Melbourne in last week’s prelim final.

“It was a really good confidence booster to beat a quality side like the Vixens by eight goals,” Bulley said.

“In previous games there were times where we’d get good lead and then let the opposition back in.

“It was really evident when we played the Magpies [in the minor semi-final], we could’ve gone to seven or more goals up and we let them back into the game.

“It was good that we were able to build on that win against the Vixens. We were really happy with that performance and hopefully that momentum continues going into the grand final.”

The Lightning claimed a razor-thin one-goal victory the last time the two sides met in the final round of the regular season. 

It saw the Giants finish third and have to go the hard route to the decider, but it’s something Bulley feels will work in their favour. 

“I actually think finishing third has worked well for us because it means we’ve got momentum going into this grand final,” Bulley said.

“I feel like we’re playing so much better than we were back then and we only lost by a goal. We haven’t had a week off and we’ve had two really good wins so I feel like we’re really well prepared to take on the Lightning.”