SSN R4: Giants Vs Firebirds
Ferocious Firebirds score vital road win.
A trio of premiership superstars combined to power the Queensland Firebirds to a 72-59 Super Netball victory against the GWS Giants at Ken Rosewall Arena.
Gretel Bueta, Kim Ravaillion and Gabi Simpson, the last remaining active players from the club’s 2015 and 2016 crowns, withstood every blow from a fierce and skilled rival but had all the answers in a priceless away win that strengthened Queensland’s grip on a top four spot.
The Giants started busily enough in a terrific battle but faded in the second half and made too many errors to seriously challenge the Firebirds.
Just two days after their draining loss at home to the West Coast Fever, the Firebirds injected spark from the bench at opportune moments.
Kim Jenner came on to finish the job Ruby Bakewell-Doran started on Giants goaler Sophie Dwyer and Jemma Mi Mi enjoyed a productive second-half cameo.
But it was Bueta and her two experienced mates who laid the foundation.
No one had more goal assists than Bueta’s 22 and she sank 23 goals of her own in a thrilling exhibition of attacking skills.
The Giants went hard at Ravaillion without rattling the former Diamond and the Giants could not find a way past Simpson.
“I may have been in everything but I had so much support around me,” said Firebirds captain Ravaillion who finished the game with a bloodied lip after a collision with Jamie-Lee Price.
“There were plenty of leaders out on court who made my job easy.”
Amy Parmenter was the sole Giant to win her position on the night but even she was unable to make an impact in the closing arguments after pocketing four first-half gains.
There were enthralling match-ups all down the court, including centres Ravaillion and Giant Price who are fighting for Diamonds squad selection at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The Firebirds had control early but there were ominous signs from Giants wing defence Parmenter in her high-quality battle with Lara Dunkley.
Agility and bloody mindedness from Parmenter won her side three first-quarter gains against one of the competition’s most in-form midcourters.
The Giants played with abundant zip but they let themselves down with a string of second-quarter fumbles and loose passes.
When the Firebirds responded they did so with patience and cunning.
Goaler Bueta led high towards the centre circle, happy to leave standout goal shooter Donnell Wallam in a one-on-one duel where she outpointed Matilda McDonell in the first half.
Wallam finished with 46 points but McDonell fought back well to pinch three intercepts.