Laura’s Firebirds make it 20 wins in succession in ANZ Championship
NETBALL: Allora goal keeper Laura Geitz has led the The Coffee Club Queensland Firebirds to its 20th consecutive wins in the ANZ Championship.
The Firebirds beat a spirited West Coast Fever 61-52 in Perth on Saturday.
With a short turnaround after returning from New Zealand on Tuesday, the Fever fired plenty of shots but could not sustain their effort against the well-drilled Firebirds, who weathered the storm.
Geitz and former Warwick West State School student Clare McMeniman are the Southern Downs connection in this season’s Firebirds team.
In a sign of their stature and self-belief, the Firebirds managed to get the better of a well-versed Fever without the services of their injured playmaking goal attack Gretel Tippett, rookie Chelsea Lemke stepping up admirably.
Fever goal attack Natalie Medhurst had a busy presence, sharing the load with a heavily marked Bassett while setting up much of the attacking play, the home team working hard to ensure a 15-all deadlock at the first break.
Working her way into the game expertly, Lemke was all poise in linking deftly with the industrious Caitlyn Nevins and Aiken as the visitor’s bumped up the pressure.
The Firebirds impressive court structure, patience and ability to shut down the Fever’s attacking options helped the defending champions carve out a handy five-goal lead before heading to the main break 31-28 ahead.
The Firebirds showed their qualities with a stirring response to a concerted Fever challenge in an absorbing third quarter. With shooter Caitlin Bassett and defender April Brandley making early statements, the home team quickly drew level.
Sensing the threat, the Firebirds trio of captain Laura Geitz, wing attack Caitlyn Nevins and unstoppable shooter Romelda Aiken showed their class as the visitors moved into overdrive. Responding in clinical fashion, the Firebirds knocked the willingness out of the Fever, going on to forge a 45-41 lead at the last break before driving the nail home in the run to the line.
The Firebirds had few problems getting the ball into the hands of key target Aiken, the towering shooter dominating in equal measure in both converting goals and rebounding.
A 16-goal effort in the final term from the visitors allowed them to secure the nine-goal win.
Aiken won player of the match.
Fever Shooting Statistics-
Caitlin Bassett 38/46 (83%)
Natalie Medhurst 14/21 (67%)
Firebirds Shooting Statistics-
Romelda Aiken 50/57 (88%)
Chelsea Lemke 11/16 (69%)