Team Bath boss Anna Stembridge hopes to end her time at the helm on a high ahead of the Vitality Netball Superleague play-offs.

The Blue & Gold face unbeaten Manchester Thunder on Friday for a place in Sunday’s Grand Final at the Copper Box Arena in London.

Stembridge is stepping down as head coach at the end of a seven-year second spell at the club and is simply hoping to enjoy the final two games.

“I want the team to finish on a positive note and put out the performances that they feel proud of,” said Stembridge.

“It’s been a challenging year like it has been for so many clubs, and to get ourselves in this position and keep fighting until the last whistle, for me that’s more important. 

“I absolutely want to be in that Grand Final, I’d love that fairy tale ending but I also know there are a number of other teams that also want that.”

Last season’s beaten finalists secured fourth-place with a week to spare after a season fraught with difficulties from Covid and injuries, but Stembridge believes her side have a real chance of victory.

“When you make finals, the slate is wiped clean,” she added. “The gloves are off, it’s knockouts. No matter what’s happened before, it’s all about looking forward. 

“You can take confidence from having played or having beaten teams that are in that group, but ultimately the pressure is on, the eyes are on you and it really matters because it's knock-out netball.”

It’s a situation that Stembridge’s team know well after finishing in the play-offs every season under her stewardship, something the former England Roses coach reckons will serve them well this weekend.

“We’ve had this experience before, we’ve been in this position before,” said Stembridge.

“You always look to those that have had those experiences to draw upon those experiences in those moments and we’re very lucky.

“We only had three athletes that had ever played in a Grand Final last year. To then have four more, experience what it is to start and play in a Grand Final and then two others come on and experience it, that’s hugely invaluable.”

For Stembridge, whatever happens on court, she is hopeful that she departs with the Blue & Gold in a better place than she found them.

“I’d always like to believe that you have a positive impact on the environment, the people that you work with,” she added.

“As long as I feel I have left it in a more positive manner, I’ll walk away happy.

“I’ve got some wonderful memories. I’m very grateful for the opportunities and experiences they’ve given me.”

Who will be crowned champions? Vitality Netball Grand Final 2022 takes place at London’s Copper Box Arena this Sunday 5 June. Get your tickets here