Romelda Aiken battles with Sharni Layton at the Brisbane Entertainment & Convention Centre.
Romelda Aiken battles with Sharni Layton at the Brisbane Entertainment & Convention Centre. SMP IMAGES

Firebirds not about to start panicking

NETBALL: Firebirds captain Gabi Simpson says there is no cause for panic despite the netball powerhouse being winless after two rounds of Suncorp Super Netball following Saturday night's 54-50 loss to Collingwood.

Former Firebirds star Kim Ravaillion had the last laugh in her homecoming to the Brisbane Convention Centre as the Magpies withstood a trademark final quarter burst from the home side to claim their first victory of 2017.

Ravaillion was a vital cog in back-to-back titles at the Firebirds but received a Godfather offer from the Pies and returned to her old stomping ground to help sink her ex-comrades with 10 goals assists and 26 feeds for the night.

It was finals-like intensity in the final quarter as both star-studded sides fought desperately for their first success after the Pies fell to the Melbourne Vixens in Round 1 and the Firebirds had a draw with the Sunshine Coast.

The Magpies led by eight goals early in the last term but the Firebirds closed to two goals in the last 77 seconds. Collingwood goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites then sank her 32nd goal of the contest to seal the deal for the visitors.

Simpson said the Firebirds only had themselves to blame for the loss with costly turnovers and the team was "definitely not'' panicking about a draw and a loss to open 2017.

 

Gretel Tippett of the Firebirds passes during the
Gretel Tippett of the Firebirds passes during the Chris Hyde

She said there were positives that could be built on but the Firebirds needed to stop beating themselves.

"It was fantastic that we were able to fight back. We got ourselves back in the game and gave ourselves that hope but to be honest we've got to have a more consistent game,'' she said.

"If we fix that it will be fantastic.

"It's the start of the season and we've seen improvements from last week to this week and we are just going to continue to keep those improvements coming and everything will take care of itself.''

Ravaillion said getting replaced in the loss to the Vixens sparked her MVP performance against her old side.

"Being dragged last week really put fire in my belly and really made me want to work hard and put on a show today,'' she said.

"It was so good to be back on this court. I was here for four seasons and to come back was amazing. I'm really happy with how I played and how the team played.''

Alice Teague-Neeld added 22 goals for the Magpies while Romelda Aiken was a tower of strength with 41 goals from 52 attempts for the Firebirds in another physical battle with long-time rival Sharni Layton.

The Firebirds will be buoyed by the injection of South African veteran Erin Burger for this Friday's clash with West Coast Fever in Perth which will allow Nevins to return to her normal wing attack spot.

News Corp Australia


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