A dominant second half has propelled the Lorna Jane Queensland Firebirds to their first Suncorp Super Netball victory over the Melbourne Vixens.
The Firebirds walked away with a massive seven competition points, ending the Vixens unbeaten start to the season with a 59-55 win at Hisense Arena in Melbourne.
It proved a defensive slugfest and at times frustrating with a mounting penalty count, but it was the Firebirds who flexed their muscle when it mattered most.
Queensland made just the one change from last week’s win over Lightning, with Laura Geitz returning from injury and replacing Laura Clemesha at GK.
The visitors raced out to an early two goal lead, but the Vixens responded to draw level midway through the term.
Melbourne finished the quarter strong – scoring six of the last seven goals, to claim the opening bonus point with a 17-14 quarter win.
The Firebirds scored back-to-back goals inside the opening minute of the 2nd quarter, but consistent penalties hurt the visitors.
Failing to convert pressure into goals also proved a coach killer for Roselee Jencke – calling the first time-out midway through the term, as the Vixens streaked out to a four goal advantage.
In a tight tussle, the two teams went goal for goal, but it was the Firebirds who came out on top – claiming a narrow one goal 2nd quarter win to trail 31-29 at halftime.
With their purple hearts on full display – the Firebirds never gave up, digging deep to remain in touch with the Vixens despite continually turning over possession.
A goal from Romelda Aiken in the very final second saw Queensland clinch their maiden 3rd quarter win of the season, to reduce the deficit to just one goal heading into the final term.
The Firebirds reclaimed the lead inside the opening minutes of the 4th quarter, before going on a 6-2 run – forcing the Vixens to call a time out.
It didn’t help, as Queensland pushed their lead out to five goals – the biggest of the match, before going on to record their third straight bonus point and seal an impressive four goal victory.
GS: Aiken, GA: Tippett, WA: Nevins, C: Cassidy, WD: Simpson, GD: T. Hinchliffe, GK: Geitz
GS: Kumwenda, GA: Phillip, WA: L. Watson, C: Maloney, WD: C. Watson, GD: Weston, GK: Mannix
Q1: Vixens (17-14)
Q2: Firebirds (15-14)
Q3: Firebirds (14-13)
Q4: Firebirds (16-11)
Romelda Aiken 40/47 (85%)
Gretel Tippett 19/22 (86%)
Mwai Kumwenda 29/33 (88%)
Tegan Philip 26/29 (90%)
FULL GAME STATS
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