21/04/2024

Firebirds finish their season on a high. (Photo: Super Netball/Twitter)

Though the Firebirds year has come to a close, coach Megan Anderson has been impressed by her side's young guns in their four point win over the Melbourne Vixens.

The Queensland Firebirds battled to a four point win over the Melbourne Vixens to finish the season on a high after losing a number of key players to injury over the back half of the season.

Coach Megan Anderson came away from the match more than pleased with the way the younger players in the squad helped the side come away with the win.

It was a hard fought battle, every time the Firebirds went to pull away with the lead the Vixens were able to get an intercept to get themselves right back into it.

Anderson asked for her side to leave everything out on the court, and that’s exactly what they did.

“I think we were asking for maximum effort and enthusiasm tonight,” Anderson told media post-game.

“I think everyone on court, whoever got on gave us that. It was tight for the whole game and really pushed through and worked well as a team.”

Going into half time the Firebirds had a handy lead, but after the main break they let the Vixens back in to the game with a lacking third quarter.

“I think I was worried, because I thought we were going to run away with it a couple of times and it was disappointing that we allowed them back in to it,” Anderson said.

“Then again I think we adjusted to their changes and fought back and pushed ahead. Maybe a little lucky that we had the run at the right end of the game, but we’ll take it and just that we kept adjusting and fighting back.”

The shining light for the Firebirds was the sides young guns that were brought in to replace experienced players. Ruby Bakewell-Doran and Hulita VeVe in particular made a notable impact.

“I think they were impressive because they built in to the game, and I was particularly impressed with the combo of Ruby out at goal defence and Kim Jenner back at keeper,” Anderson said.

“I think Hulita provided great intensity in the contest and onto the first ball, but also confusing the space and really setting things up for the defenders behind her.”

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Another young gun that lifted for the Firebirds was Lara Dunkley, helping the Firebirds front line with her second and third efforts and attack on the ball.

Dunkley was named Player of the Match, and Anderson was all praise when asked about her post match.

“I think she worked hard, at times she made it hard for herself by being right on the body but she followed instruction really well tonight and adjusted her game a lot,” Anderson said.

“She’s just always the first on to every single loose ball and always fighting hard and giving 110 percent. So she really lifts everyone around her with that work rate.”

After some disappointing losses across the season, the Firebirds season drew to a close without a finals campaign to look forward to. Anderson was happy with how her side closed the season out.

“I think it just proves that what we’ve been working on in the second half of the season has been really working,” she said.

“I think we had some really disappointing losses in the last two games but it gives us some good confidence in what we found in the second half of the season is a stepping stone to bigger and better things into 2022.

“It’s been a tough two weeks with the injuries that we’ve had but everyone’s pulled together as a team and that was the most pleasing thing.”

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