Southern Downs represented in Firebirds

THE Mission Queensland Firebirds netball team will have two players with a Southern Downs connection in the team next season with the return of Clare McMeniman.

Allora defender and Firebirds captain Laura Geitz has re-signed for two years.

After retiring following the Firebirds ANZ Championship victory in 2011, McMeniman is back in the team after being vice-captain from 2008 to 2010.

McMeniman went to primary school at Warwick West State School and was a Daily News/Warwick Credit Union Junior Sports Star of the Month and encouragement award winner before attending John Paul College in Brisbane where there was a netball program.

Her brother Hugh played the first Test for the Wallabies against the All Blacks this season before requiring season ending surgery.

Today, the Firebirds announced the signing of McMeniman, Stephanie Puopolo (Adelaide Thunderbirds) and the resigning of Laura Geitz, Romelda Aiken, Demelza McCloud, Jacinta Messer, Ameliaranne Wells and Nicola Gray.
  McMeniman played 66 games over five seasons.

  "I left on a high in 2011. Since then I've had time off to pursue other interests and now I want to get back on the court and play the sport I love. I'm incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to play with the Firebirds again. I can't wait to get back into the maroon dress!"

  Joining her in next year's line up is former 21 and Under Australian Captain Stephanie Puopolo who will be a valuable addition to the Firebirds goaling troupe.

  Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke says that adding McMeniman to the mix will shore up the Firebirds' defensive line going into next year's competition whilst Puopolo will add another dimension to the forward line.

  "We are very excited to have Clare back. Clare has exceptional technical skills and we have no doubt she will pick up from where she left off when she steps back on court. Clare's inclusion will bolster what is already an incredibly solid defence line in Laura, Demelza, Jacinta and Gabi.  We'll have one of the best defensive units in the ANZ Championship."

  Stephanie is a strong, powerful GA who has successfully played alongside Well's and Simmons previously at the Australian 21 & under level.  The coaching team is looking forward to the opportunity to meld a talented group of fine athletes into a new look Firebirds forward line for 2014.

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