Firebirds continue winning streak
CLARE McMeniman had an outstanding game in centre court as she celebrated her 50th game for the Mission Queensland Firebirds at the weekend.
The Firebirds kept their semi-final hopes alive in the ANZ Championships with a 52-42 victory against New Zealand team Haier Central Pulse in Brisbane on Saturday night.
McMeniman first rose to prominence in sport at Warwick West State School and then her netball star glowed even brighter when she competed in netball at John Paul College.
Both McMeniman and Allora player Laura Geitz won world championship bronze medals in youth netball before starring for the Queensland Firebirds.
McMeniman has spent a lot of time this season with Geitz in defence but is also an outstanding centre court player who she played in a win against the Pulse.
The game against the Pulse was another must-win match for the Firebirds.
And the pressure was on. Missing stalwart wing attack Sarah Wall, the team experienced a slow start, going goal for goal with the Pulse for much of the first quarter.
The Firebirds were quick on their feet in a fast-paced game and Alissa Castrisos, who started in the wing, slotted in well with the team on court.
But the Pulse were quick to take advantage of the Firebirds new line-up and quickly took the lead.
Firebirds shooters Romelda Aiken and Natalie Medhurst faced immense pressure from the Pulse defenders Rachel Rasmussen and Katrina Grant, who did well to stem the flow into the circle.
And at the other end of the court, despite a strong presence from defenders Amy Steel and Geitz, the Pulse shooters could do no wrong, shooting at 100 per cent.
The first quarter ended with the Firebirds down five goals.
In the second quarter Aiken and Medhurst found their rhythm and shot at more than 80 per cent for the rest of the game.
Jacqui Russell was brought on at centre and captain Lauren Nourse was moved to wing attack.
This new combination in the centre court proved fruitful and gave the Firebirds the edge they needed to end the first half ahead.
Pulse looking to shake up the new winning combination of the Firebirds made a host of changes in the second half, but it was to no avail.