The Queensland Firebirds have soared into the grand final of the Australian National Netball League after a history-making victory.
The eleven-goal win over New Zealand’s Waikato Magic means the Firebirds will host the grand final in their first ever championship appearance.
Grace Duckham reports.
Last night’s victory was special.
Not only were the Firebirds playing for a grand final appearance but they did it the hard way, giving up their home court advantage.
The minor premiers were forced to play on the Gold Coast, because of a scheduling conflict in Brisbane.
It didn’t stop them.
Their 11-point victory – their 14th in a row, has cemented the Queenslanders as favourites for the final.
Despite playing away from home there were no signs of nerves from the Firebirds.
Captain and goal keeper Laura Geitz led by example, shutting down Magic shooter and New Zealand international, Irene van Dyk.
Under the leadership of Geitz, the Firebirds kept the more experienced Magic line-up restricted to just eight goals in the first quarter.
Laura Geitz, Queensland Firebirds Captain: “We played probably our best game of the season last night, but I think and we all agreed that in the change room after it, it was a good game of netball but there’s still a lot that we can improve on.”
Natalie Medhurst and Romelda Aiken formed a lethal combination in attack, shooting at 83 per cent for the match.
Natalie Medhurst, Queensland Firebirds Goal Attack: “I know particularly for Romelda and myself, I think our combination has certainly grown and just having that understanding of each other.”
It will be a nervous wait for the girls preparing for the final, here at the Brisbane Convention Centre in a fortnight’s time. Coach Roselee Jencke says the girls know what’s needed to win and will leave nothing to chance.
Laura Geitz, Queensland Firebirds Captain: “We’ve still got our best netball to come yet and hopefully that’s in two weeks time.”
The Firebirds will play the winner of next Sunday’s preliminary final between the Magic and the Northern Mystics.
Grace Duckham, QUT News.