The Queensland Firebirds and Magpies Netball have taken out the first draw of the season, going right to the wire with a 57-all tie at the final siren.
Suncorp Super Netball
It was goal-for-goal for most of the first quarter with both teams showing some exciting signs right across the court.
The Firebirds defensive line-up in Tara Hinhcliffe and Kim Jenner started the match incredibly strong yet again with the young guns forcing some early turnovers in the Magpies goal circle.
These turnovers were capitalised on well with a quick transition through the Firebirds mid-court into a determined Romelda Aiken, who was out to prove a point after being benched in the final quarter of their season opener last week.
Nat Medhurst was removed from the court early after sustaining a cut lip in a clash with Kim Jenner, with Gabrielle Sinclair coming on as her replacement.
The Firebirds managed to break away to a short lead going into the first break, 15 to 13.
Medhurst had a stitch put in her lip and returned to the court early in the second quarter to have an immediate impact for the Magpies.
Kelsey Browne once again provided her signature speed and agility down the Magpies’ midcourt and Geva Mentor was stuck to Romelda Aiken like glue, but it wasn’t enough, the Magpies made some costly mistakes towards the half-time break and couldn’t quite finish in their attack end.
The Firebirds’ strong defensive pressure continued to build in the second quarter and they stretched their lead out to eight at half-time, 32 to 24.
The momentum shifted in the third quarter and the Magpies came out firing, scoring four straight goals in the first three minutes and eventually getting within one goal.
The Firebirds maintained composure though and the home crowd roared with every Firebirds intercept and goal, especially with captain Gabi Simpson taking key intercepts.
Shimona Nelson ignited and showed why she’s one of the most up and coming goal shooters in the world and Mentor and April Brandley played a physical defensive game on the Firebirds shooters.
The stage was set at three quarter time with the Magpies chasing down the Firebirds to only trail by one goal, 43 to 42.
The Magpies took the lead within five minutes of the last quarter and it was hard-fought and physical play by both teams all over the court, going goal-for-goal yet again.
Both teams were scrambling over every loose ball and it was a matter who was going to be leading when the siren went.
Q1: Firebirds 15 v Magpies 13
Q2: Firebirds 17 v Magpies 11
Q3: Firebirds 11 v Magpies 18
Q4: Firebirds 14 v Magpies 15
Suncorp Super Netball Premiership Points
Firebirds – 4
Magpies – 4
Nissan Player of the Match
Queensland Firebirds – Kim Jenner
Firebirds shooting statistics
Romelda Aiken: 31/39 (79%)
Gretel Tippett: 26/27 (96%)
Magpies shooting statistics
Shimona Nelson: 42/47 (89%)
Nat Medhurst: 10/12 (83%)
Gabrielle Sinclair: 5/5 (100%)
Firebirds starting seven:
GS – Romelda Aiken, GA – Gretel Tippett, WA – Caitlyn Nevins, C – Mahalia Cassidy, WD – Gabi Simpson, GD – Kim Jenner, GK – Tara Hinchliffe
Magpies starting seven:
GS – Shimona Nelson, GA – Nat Medhurst, WA – Kelsey Browne, C – Kim Ravaillion, WD – Ash Brazill, GD – April Brandley, GK – Geva Mentor