19/04/2024

Queensland Firebirds shooter Mia Stower (Picture: Queensland Firebirds/Twitter, Design by Madeline Irwin)

A young side, inexperienced players and a brand new head coach, the Queensland Firebirds are up against it as they chase their first win of the Suncorp Super Netball season, however their culture is strong and only building says young shooter Mia Stower.

With a few departures hitting the coaching ranks and the squad at the Queensland Firebirds, it has been the job of incumbent head coach Bec Bulley to foster the culture at the club. In her first year as a head coach after years under NSW Swifts coach Briony Akle, Bulley is still finding her feet at the Firebirds.

A positive aspect of the squad for Bulley however, is the local talent that has played together at the lower levels and has existing connections and chemistry.

Rising shooter Mia Stower spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about the culture at the Firebirds and how they are using their pre-existing bonds to their advantage.

“We’ve definitely been building on our culture and I think what the team has is really, really special,” Stower told The Inner Sanctum.

“We have a group of 10 girls and add the four training partners, there’s 14 of us [and] we just have a really special bond and we really want to play for each other.

“We have that trust and we built that trust when we were at the other levels of netball but our team culture is very, very special.”

Bec Bulley (centre) is the new head coach for the Queensland Firebirds. (Picture: Queensland Firebirds)

Stower goes on to talk about her experience playing under Bulley so far and what it has been like to have a few different coaches at Suncorp Super Netball level already.

“It’s obviously her first year as well, so we are quite inexperienced as a whole,” she said.

“It’s been good to play under her [and] to have a different style of coaching, I’ve had a few different coaches so far at this level so far and they’ve brought something different but it’s been good.”

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During the off-season both young defender Ruby Bakewell-Doran and shooter Donnell Wallam made their Australian Diamonds debuts. Having this experience has helped the inexperienced group which has in turn, helped Stower greatly.

“I think even for ‘Nelly’ and for ‘Rubes’, they both had their first year here and then [they went] into that Diamonds program so they probably when they come back to training they bring that level of experience but also just that hunger as well,” Stower said.

“I think for our team we are quite inexperienced, but most of us have grown up playing together in the leagues below so we still have that connection which is really great.

“It’s just about building and putting it into practice [at] Suncorp Super Netball level and I think that even though we haven’t got the win yet we are definitely building towards something special.”

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Bursting onto the scene last season, Bakewell-Doran has solidified her place as the go-to option in goal defence. She is joined this season by a familiar face with Remi Kamo making her Firebirds debut at 29-years-old, Stower explained how their connection will start to pay dividends as they grow in confidence together.

“‘Rubes’ and ‘Rem’ were actually in my junior teams growing up so we have had that connection and we just practice that at training and stuff so it’s nothing really new,” she explained.

‘I think that they haven’t probably played together for a year because Rubes has been playing for the Firebirds but now that they are back together, the connection is coming back again and they are improving every game so that’s really great to see.”

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