Southern Downs pair in Firebirds team gearing up for Vixens
NETBALL The record-breaking string of wins might be over but for The Coffee Club Queensland Firebirds, there is plenty more to achieve this season.
Southern Downs pair Laura Geitz and Clare McMeniman are two of the Firebirds stars at the defensive end of the court and were prominent in a record 21 game ANZ Championship win streak which ended with a loss last weekend to the Swifts.
The Firebirds will seek to reclaim their billing as title favourites when they take on Melbourne Vixens on Saturday at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The Vixens have the chance to win again back-to-back wins against conference rivals West Coast Fever and Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Firebirds goal shooter Romelda Aiken said her team had shared some hard truths after the loss to the Swifts.
"We know the Vixens are coming off a pretty big win. They’ll definitely have their tails up, but we’re good at regrouping as a team," Aiken said.
"At the end of the day we were just struggling to find connections down in the attacking end and were making silly turnovers against the Swifts. When defenders were turning over the ball, we weren’t always able to capitalise on it which is an area we need to look into. It’s fixable – it’s not rocket science.
"We’re not afraid of hard chat and taking feedback on board – we’ll do whatever it takes. We just have to focus on our own individual game and the rest will come."
Firebirds head coach Roselee Jencke said the Vixens would not give an inch on Saturday and the match would provide the perfect platform for her side to reset in their pursuit of historic back-to-back ANZ Championship titles.
"I’m proud of the girls and the level of play they’ve been able to sustain for a long period of time. It’s the envy of a lot of other franchises out there," she said.
"I’m looking for everybody to improve their performance – to get that feel and connection back with one another, have more variety in the attacking end and use the ball better. Defensively we need to have a high level of accountability in shutting down our own player and be hard onto the ball. It’s got to be uncompromising and we need to do it for 60 minutes.
"We have four games left and the most important game is this one. As far as we’re concerned, finals are still a long way off and we have some work to do to make sure we give ourselves the opportunity to be there. It’s not guaranteed yet. I’ve been in sport a long time and anything can happen."