The Firebirds were overrun by a fast-finishing Adelaide Thunderbirds at Netball SA Stadium last weekend while Fever fell to an agonising one-point loss to the NSW Swifts, with Romelda Aiken-George scoring the match-winning goal for the Swifts in the dying seconds of the game.
LAST TIME WE MET
The Firebirds almost caused one of the boilovers of the Suncorp Super Netball season as they charged home against the Fever in a pulsating Round 5 clash at Nissan Arena earlier this year.
Having been down by as much as 15 goals in the third quarter, the Firebirds stormed back into the contest with WA-born Donnell Wallam spearheading the comeback in the final quarter.
Time ran out for the Firebirds however as the Fever held on for a 73-71 victory.
An ankle injury suffered against the Thunderbirds has sidelined Gabi Simpson for the Firebirds, with Leesa Mi Mi brought into the squad as a temporary replacement player. Mi Mi will make her SSN debut if she takes the court. Hulita Veve will also continue as a replacement for Macy Gardner (wrist) for a third straight week. The Fever meanwhile welcome back Jess Anstiss and Sasha Glasgow, who were both late outs for the Swifts game due to COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols.
KEY MATCHUP – KIM RAVAILLION v ALICE TEAGUE-NEELD
Gabi Simpson’s injury will most probably force Firebirds’ captain Ravaillion to shift to wing defence, a position she has played multiple times already this season to great effectiveness. Ravaillion’s speed and competitiveness will be key assets against in-form Teague-Neeld who leads the league for centre pass receives and goal assists. Preventing Teague-Neeld from connecting with Fever star Jhaniele Fowler will be Ravaillion’s primary role.
Donnell Wallam heads back to her home state closing in on a significant milestone, just 47 goals away from scoring 1000 in her Suncorp Super Netball career. Wallam has so far scored 953 goals in 23 matches including 434 this season to be second on the overall scoring list for 2023 behind Fever star Jhaniele Fowler.
“I know Nelly’s home crowd will be there for us so that’s a bonus, but I think we match up really well against Fever so the group’s really excited to go to Perth and going off the last time we played them we really pulled it back in the last half so I think it’s going to be a good game,” – Firebirds’ goal attack Mia Stower.
HOW TO WATCH
Tune in to watch Saturday’s match live and on demand on Kayo Sports.