SSN R2: Lightning Vs Firebirds
Firebirds blast Qld netball neighbors.
Megan Anderson’s rebuilding mission surged dramatically upwards in the Queensland Firebirds’ 82-54 Super Netball thrashing of the Sunshine Coast Lightning at USC Stadium.
While it would be unfair to compare this generation to the Queensland Firebirds empire that won three premierships from five grand finals between 2011 and 2016, the pieces are slotting into the right places for coach Anderson to sculpt a competitive and confident contender.
It’s unlikely the availability of COVID-19 absentee Steph Wood would have made much difference for the Sunshine Coast Lightning who were blown off their home court.
Midcourters Lara Dunkley and Kim Ravaillion, shooter Donnell Wallam (49 goals) and defender Ruby Bakewell-Doran were supreme in the Queensland derby.
“We’ve been building all week for this,” Bakewell-Doran said.
“We had a game plan this week and it was to get everything across the board. We didn’t want any lulls, just to give everything we had for 60 minutes.”
The Firebirds clearly learned from the first round loss to the Melbourne Vixens when they were crushed beneath the weight of 91 penalties.
This time around they were smarter and cleaner, and kept themselves in play against the two-time champions.
A perfect example was Bakewell-Doran who contested every ball in her maiden start for Queensland.
Her three gains and eight deflections in the first half justified her displacement of Diamonds squad member Kim Jenner from the starting side.
The Firebirds’ 92 per cent accuracy was another factor as they charged to a 40-26 halftime lead.
Their dominance continued in the second half, enabling Anderson to tinker with her combinations as the game cruised to a lopsided finish.
Anderson had a good look at Dunkley at centre and Ravaillion at wing defence, while Mia Stower deserved some valuable court time at goal shooter.
There was no rest, however, for Gretel Bueta who stayed on court for 23 goals at 88 per cent accuracy.
Mahalia Cassidy fought hard for the home side but there was little else to cling to for the Lightning who have now dropped their opening two games.