The rivalry between City West Falcons and the Geelong Cougars is set to go up another notch in the Victorian Netball League championship division finals.

The top-two ranked sides will face off in a mouth-watering semi-final at the State Netball and Hockey Centre tonight at 7pm for a direct passage through to the season decider.

The beginning of the rivalry can be traced back to last year’s grand final when the Falcons beat the Cougars in a hard-fought contest to take out the premiership.

While that grand final created an instant rivalry, there was already one building among the two clubs west of the West Gate Bridge.

Ever the netball promoter, Falcons coach Marg Lind was quick to jump on the fierce city-versus-country factor.

“It’s a Geelong and Melbourne thing – just like Western Bulldogs and Geelong Cats [in the AFL],” Lind said. “There’s definitely a rivalry, it’s always competitive and we know it’s going to be on.”

Moreover, the two teams are extremely familiar with one another.

Geelong is coached by former Falcons assistant coach Gerard Murphy.

The Cougars also have five starting players who came through the Falcons system.

“They all know each other pretty well,” Lind said. “A lot of them have come through our stable and some have come through state teams together and are a very similar age group.

“There’s a fair bit of knowledge about each other on both sides.”

Lind half-joked that Geelong’s potential tactics to bring down the Falcons could be “tactics we’d use on ourselves” because of Murphy’s familiarity with Falcons netball. She conceded Geelong will be a dangerous team in the finals.

“We’re under no illusions, they’ll be out to get us, no doubt.”

City West Falcons finished the home-and-away rounds with a 17-1 record after a 69-36 win over Boroondara Express in the final round last Wednesday night at the SNHC.

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