Jacinta Messer goes head to head with Netball legend

QUEENSLAND Firebird Jacinta Messer was 10 the first time she saw Irene van Dyk playing for South Africa against Australia in a netball Test in Brisbane.

Messer remembers being in awe of the goal-scoring prowess of van Dyk, but tomorrow will be doing her best to shut down the threat the veteran Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic sharpshooter poses in the trans-Tasman Championship sudden-death semi-final in Hamilton.

The Queenslanders must beat the Magic, the defending champion, otherwise their bid to win the title for only the second time since the competition started in 2008 will be over.

The Magic has won the past two meetings between the sides, but Messer said that counted for nothing.

"It's all about here and now," Messer, who can play goal keeper or goal defence, said. "This is the time of year it matters the most - we won't die wondering."

Van Dyk is battling a shin injury, but you can be sure the 41-year-old won't get any sympathy from Messer and her teammates.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds face the Melbourne Vixens in the other semi in Adelaide over the weekend.


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