Gretel Bueta celebrates the win over the Thunderbirds

Gretel Bueta celebrates the win over the Thunderbirds. (Credit: Queensland Firebirds)

The Queensland Firebirds continued their strong form, as they beat the Adelaide Thunderbirds by 16 goals despite the ongoing travel away from home.

The Queensland Firebirds continued their strong post-bye form as they beat the Adelaide Thunderbirds by 16 goals in Round 10 of the Suncorp Super Netball.

After a strong win against the Giants last week, the Firebirds came out firing again today, as they won the first quarter and led at every break.

Coach Megan Anderson was impressed with how her players were patient in getting on top of the Thunderbirds, taking their play to a higher level in the second half and turning a two goal half time lead into a big win.

“I was most impressed with how they withstood some pressure from the Thunderbirds in the first half, and we were able to capitalise and push ahead in the second,” Anderson said.

“It’s a shift from our first half of the season where we were up and down all game long.”

The Firebirds were challenged in a drawn second quarter, but they pulled ahead with a blitz early in the third quarter which put them in good stead to finish well ahead of the Thunderbirds.

Kim Ravaillion had four gains, and Kim Jenner added two more of her own in the third quarter. It allowed the Firebirds to ensure that they maintained momentum, something they have struggled with at times this year.

“After our disappointing performance against the Swifts, we sat down and evaluated ourselves individually and as a team, and really committed to giving more… and giving our all to the purple family,” Anderson said.

“That shift has come from all, on and off the court, and it has shown our past two games. The trust, belief and intensity the girls are showing together is amazing to watch.”

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Anderson noted that the team has clicked on court and off, despite the challenging circumstances of the past few weeks. The team has been based out of Melbourne, travelling today to take on the Thunderbirds.

“They have coped really well and kept an open mind and embraced what could be something uncertain,” she explained.

“We are blessed to be given the opportunity to play netball when COVID is flaring up across the country, and we always remember that.”

The victory allowed the Firebirds to celebrate vice captain Tara Hinchliffe’s 50th game in style, as the defensive star chipped in with two intercepts while subduing the Thunderbirds shooters.

“Tara is so unassuming, but just an absolutely classy person and player,” Anderson lauded.

“I’m so glad she’s playing well this season, and relishing her role in the leadership group.”

Hinchliffe was involved in the Diamonds for the Constellation Cup earlier in the year, and has taken her game to a new level in the Super Netball this season as a result.

“She is really benefitting from our full court defensive intensity but she’s also making those opportunities for herself by being in the right positions on court,” Anderson said.

“She’s upped her fitness levels and strength this year, and I’m so impressed with her continued growth.”

The Thunderbirds now have big back to back wins away from home, and are level on points with the West Coast Fever.

Anderson praised her team for the way that they have addressed the challenges that have faced them.

“I think the group has shown great resilience and fight to deal with the quick departure from family and work, leaving behind key staff and being able to really band together and make the most of these opportunities,” she said.

“I think being here makes your full focus be on netball, and that can be a good thing and a bad thing.

“It’s meant the girls have been able to really shut out all distractions and really focus on the day by day, because we literally don’t know where we will be next.”

The Queensland Firebirds will play the Collingwood Magpies next week, as they hope to stay in touch with the top four with four rounds remaining in the Super Netball season.

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