Warrior Sally set for attack

Target: Gerroa's Sally Fitzgibbons has her Bells Beach memento. Picture: STEVE ROBERTSON
Target: Gerroa's Sally Fitzgibbons has her Bells Beach memento. Picture: STEVE ROBERTSON

Never far from the limelight, Sally Fitzgibbons is enjoying being able to stay under the radar heading into the opening day of the World Tour event at Bells Beach.

With much of the hype around the scintillating early form of defending world champion Carissa Moore and five-time winner Stephanie Gilmore, talk of the 2011 runner-up has somewhat cooled after two rounds of competition.

But while her opening-round performance at Snapper Rocks wasn't the start she craved, the Gerroa star went within a whisker of a finals appearance in the second of Australia's three event swing at Margaret River.

She hopes to go one better at Bells and plans to use her title rivals red-hot beginning to her advantage.

"I think with people already concentrating on Steph and Carissa having those good starts, it is great to just work away behind the scenes without that extra added pressure," Fitzgibbons said.

"Hopefully we can come from behind and just peg them back."

A win at Bells Beach would go along way to throwing Fitzgibbons right back into the title conversation.

The Victorian break has been a happy hunting ground for the 23-year-old, who claimed honours there in 2011 and 2012.

She believes those wins will come in handy when she hits the water in her first-round heat this week.

"The memories I have created at this event are so good and you come back each year and I get goosebumps when I walk down the stairs," Fitzgibbons said.

"You can really visualise that week and what you went through.

"The week down here at Bells as everyone knows, it is a bit of a warrior week and you have all different conditions, long paddles and often one big swell so there is a lot to take in."

While a win at Bells is high on her agenda, Fitzgibbons won't be getting carried away if she can't score the result.

This season's increased schedule to ten events on the women's tour means she has more chances to get a world tour win.

"I am definitely working as hard as I can so it all flows my way," she said. AAP


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