The Lorna Jane Queensland Firebirds have today named their 2019 Leadership team ahead of the Suncorp #TeamGirls Cup on Friday. Gabi Simpson will once again be at the helm, supported by a leadership team with over 200 national league games experience.
Caitlyn Nevins, Romelda Aiken and Mahalia Cassidy will form the official leadership group that will look to steer the Firebirds to their maiden Suncorp Super Netball Premiership. After a vote by the team at their recent pre-season camp, the leadership group to support Simpson was formed.
Entering her fourth year with the club, Mahalia Cassidy is excited to step up in an official leadership capacity. “It is really exciting, we have a really strong leadership group that I’m proud to be a part of,” Cassidy said.
“For me it doesn’t change how I approach playing, as long as I provide a strong connection between our defence and attack, I trust that the girls behind me and in front will get the job done. We have a big focus this year on enjoying ourselves and forming a tight unit on and off the court,”
“I know that if we can get that right, the rest will fall into place,” she said.
Fellow midcourter Caitlyn Nevins spoke highly of dark horse Cassidy. “Mahalia is one of the biggest work-horses in our team. She has matured and grown over the last couple of years. She is growing into a Firebirds leader of the future,” Nevins said.
Gabi Simpson enters her third year in the captaincy role, but admits there is always more to learn.
“Each year I’ve learnt something new about myself but more importantly about the team. My core values are about care and love. I’ve been able to really adopt that into the way that I lead. It feels a lot more natural than it ever has,” Simpson said today.
Coach Roselee Jencke believes the leadership group will support Simpson as she continues to evolve.
“Gabi has grown immensely. She’s had the opportunity to learn from one of the great leaders in our sport in (Laura Geitz). Gabi wants to help everybody around her be better,” Jencke said.
Aiken surpassed 150 national league games for the Firebirds in 2018 and has played over 70 international games for Jamaica. Firmly embedded in Firebirds culture, Aiken epitomizes the perseverance and dedication the Firebirds look for in their athletes.
“I only speak when I need to speak, I tend to think of myself as a sounding board.” Aiken said.
Aiken is also keen to team up with new recruit and fellow shooter Tippah Dwan.
“We’ve got young Tippah coming up. She is so deadly on court. To be able to add to my game, I learn from her,” she said.
The Firebirds will have just their second hit-out of the season this weekend in the inaugural Suncorp Super Netball pre-season tournament. All eight SSN teams will descend on Brisbane this weekend to battle it out for the #TeamGirls Cup. With the winner taking first bragging rights into the third season of the competition beginning 27 April.
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