You could feel the purple hearts thumping in support of the Queensland Firebirds, despite a 71-60 Suncorp Super Netball loss to the Melbourne Vixens in today’s Indigenous round clash at the Queensland State Netball Centre.
Firebirds soared in the opening half, leading by as many as seven goals. New goaling combination of Gretel Tippett (29 goals from 31 attempts) and South African Lenize Potgieter (31 from 34) began to find its feet, as the purple crowd found their lungs, and it was electric.
The towering pair scored a combined 35 goals in the first half to secure the Firebirds two much needed bonus points.
At the other end, Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe were in everything defensively in the second quarter, ripping in three intercepts as an 18-17 quarter-time lead quickly became a seven-goal advantage to the Birdies.
The Vixens looked listless in defence, allowing the Firebirds far too much space and easy avenues to goal. Some signs of life late in the second quarter allowed the Vixens to narrow the gap to three goals at half-time.
Whatever was said in the change rooms during the break clearly worked for the Vixens. In the third, Vixens defensive end put the pressure on, with Tippett held to just three goals for the quarter.
Meanwhile, Vixens goal attack Tegan Philip added 12 of her 28 goals in the third quarter, and Nissan MVP Caitlin Thwaites (43 from 47) shot seven of her own to surge clear of the Birdies 51-44 with one quarter remaining.
The purple crowd did not give up, but the Vixens were unstoppable, pouring in 20 goals to 16 in the final quarter to grab a second bonus point and wrap up an important 11-goal win.
The result sees the Vixens sitting just two points behind the second-placed Sunshine Coast Lightning, while a disappointed Firebirds are left to regroup ahead of next week’s Round 9 clash against the Magpies at Melbourne Arena.
Q1: Firebirds 18 v Vixens 17
Q2: Firebirds 17 v Vixens 15
Q3: Firebirds 9 v Vixens 19
Q4: Firebirds 16 v Vixens 20
Suncorp Super Netball Premiership Points
Firebirds – 2
Vixens – 6
Nissan Player of The Match – Caitlin Thwaites (Vixens)
Firebirds shooting statistics – 60/65 (92.3%)
Lenize Potgieter – 31/34 (91.2%)
Gretel Tippett – 29/31 (93.5%)
Vixens shooting statistics – 71/80 (88.8%)
Caitlin Thwaites – 43/37 (91.5%)
Tegan Philip – 28/33 (84.8%)
Firbirds starting seven: GS – Lenize Potgieter, GA – Gretel Tippett, WA – Caitlyn Nevins, C – Jemma Mi Mi, WD – Gabi Simpson, GD – Kim Jenner, GK – Tara Hinchliffe
Vixens starting seven: GS – Caitlin Thwaites, GA – Tegan Philip, WA – Liz Watson, C – Kate Moloney, WD – Renae Ingles, GD – Jo Weston, GK – Emily Mannix
Collingwood Magpies v Queensland Firebirds
Sunday 23 June, 3PM
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