QUEANBEYAN Yowies coach Jamie Browne describes the Coffs Harbour Suns as his side’s “voodoo team”.
When one considers the finals heartbreak Coffs has inflicted on Queanbeyan in recent years, it’s an apt descriptor.
This Saturday will see the two sides face off in the NSW Waratah Women’s State League semi-finals for the third time in three years.
And given their recent history, it’s a match up the Yowies are relishing.
In 2011, the Yowies’ historic quest for an inaugural State League title came to a heartbreaking end in the form of a three-point semi-final defeat to the Suns.
Last year saw Coffs Harbour repeat the dose at the same stage of the season to once again deny Queanbeyan its shot at grand final glory.
Browne has been involved in each of the Yowies’ finals campaigns, as an assistant to Nathan Arousi three years ago and as head coach the past two seasons.
And it what is likely to be his last season at the helm, Browne said Queanbeyan was determined to turn the tables on their finals nemesis.
“I don’t think there’s much doubt that if we’d got that game against Coffs [in 2011] we wouldn’t have had any drama beating Dubbo in the grand final so that does still feel like the one that got away,” he said. But that’s sport for you.
“Last year we had a few injuries and they beat us convincingly but here we are taking them on again. Especially for those girls who were there in 2011 and 2012, there’s a lot of motivation there.
“They’re a bit of a voodoo team for us so we definitely want to give them a bit of pay back.”
After stepping into Arousi’s shoes in 2012, Browne has guided the Yowies to the finals in each of the past two seasons.
But a desire to spend more time with his young son means this year’s campaign will likely be his last tilt at what has proven a long-elusive title.
“I’ve been here for a year with the men and three year with the women so I think the time’s right to give it one last shot and then someone else can have a go,” he said.
The winner of Saturday’s clash will face the winner of the second semi-final between Bathurst and Newcastle in the grand final on Sunday.
Browne, meanwhile, said this year’s campaign will likely be his last tilt at what has proved a long-elusive title.
“I’ve been around basketball as long as I could walk so even if we don’t get the right result this weekend it’s going to be very hard to walk away next season,” he said.