Lara Dunkley and Gretel Bueta after the match against the Lightning. (Photo: Super Netball)

The Queensland Firebirds have kept their finals hopes alive after a ten point win over cross town rivals the Sunshine Coast Lightning in trying circumstances.

The Queensland Firebirds have kept their finals chances alive after a 10 point win over cross town rivals Sunshine Coast Lightning (59-49).

After losing Tippah Dwan (isolation) and Tara Hinchliffe (injury) before the match, the Firebirds had their work cut out for them. They certainly delivered in trying circumstances, which pleased coach Megan Anderson after a rollercoaster week.

“I think this week has been a pretty emotional week and a rollercoaster,” she told media post-game.

“Not knowing where we’re going, when we’re going or what’s happening and Tippah not being available and Tara hurting her knee yesterday.

“I was just so proud that the girls showed so much fight today and stuck together and ground out a really good win.

Both teams felt the pressure in a highly physical game, but Anderson said the focus was to maintain possession as much as possible.

“It was pretty intense. We knew the Lightning have been in good form and not turning over many balls, so we knew that we had to be really safe with the ball as well and I think capitalize on any turnovers that we got.

“It was a big arm wrestle for a while, and luckily we held in there and stayed strong as a group and really stuck to our game plan which was pleasing.”

The Queensland Firebirds huddle in the warm up. (Photo: Queensland Firebirds/Twitter)

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The Firebirds defence was on song with full court pressure a focus for the Firebirds over the last few weeks.

“We’ve been working on that for a while,” Anderson explained.

“I think it’s really coming to fruition now and everyone’s doing such a great job, and it means that Kimmy J (Kim Jenner) and the girls out the back look like stars… there is so much pressure through the court.”

Rudi Ellis stepped up in the absence of Hinchliffe which excited many, including fellow defender Kim Jenner.

“It was really disappointing having Tarz (Hinchliffe) go down yesterday, but Rudi really stepped up and put it all out there which was so exciting to see. We have Ruby (Bakewell-Doran) there as well, which brings so much depth into the team.”

It’s been a challenging past few weeks for the Firebirds after spending time in Melbourne as Queensland worked through a COVID-19 outbreak. Firebirds defender Jenner said that they’ve come out the other side stronger then ever

“It’s been a rollercoaster couple of weeks couple of days, couple of hours, we don’t know what’s going to hit us,” she said.

“It just shows how strong our team is, we’ve really banded together and come out the side so strong. I’m really proud of the group and everything that has been thrown at us.”

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