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ANZ Netball Championships-Firebirds too hot for Thunderbirds
The Queensland Firebirds continued their perfect start to the ANZ Championship season after delivering an emphatic 64-41 win against the Adelaide Thunderbirds, in Brisbane today.
Coming off an impressive opening round win over the Swifts, the Firebirds cemented their growing credentials with a first ever win over the reigning premiers. There were few, if any, weaknesses in the home teams game today as they dominated all facets of the court with a standout effort.
Lanky Firebirds shooter Romelda Aiken revelled in the conditions to hit the half-century of goals with 50 from 54 attempts for a 93 percent accuracy rate. At the other end, goalkeeper Laura Geitz was an influential presence in halting many Thunderbirds opportunities with a host of intercept and deflected ball.
Coming off a quick 48-hour turnaround from their previous game and a gruelling travel schedule, Thunderbirds found the Firebirds just too hot to handle. The home team picked up where they left off against Swifts with a sizzling opening quarter.
Two match-winning Jamaican shooters Aiken (Firebirds) and Carla Borrego (Thunderbirds) anchored the respective shooting ends.
However, it was Aiken who ended up the main beneficiary of the two, excelling with an abundance of ball and pinpoint delivery from Natalie Medhurst, Chelsea Pitman and Lauren Nourse as the home team worked their way into a position of dominance.
A young and inexperienced Thunderbirds defensive line lacked the arsenal to stop the Firebirds attacking weapons as the home team hit the first break with a 16-9 lead.
The heat was further turned up on the resumption, the Firebirds moving into top gear with a rampant display. Transferring the ball at pace and with ease through court, Aiken effortlessly added to a mounting score as the home team overwhelmed the visitors.
It was a tough time for the Thunderbirds defenders, who had few answers to the onslaught. At the other end, key weapon Borrego was starved of possession, the double teaming of Geitz and Keirra Trompf giving the athletic Jamaican limited opportunities.
Showing much greater accuracy under the hoop, it was the Firebirds who hit halftime running with a convincing 34-18 lead.
Changes to both teams for the second half did little to change the course of the match but it did affect the Firebirds flow. While they certainly remained the superior team and the relentlessness continued, Thunderbirds put up a solid third quarter effort to ensure the scoreline did not blow out any further.
Captain Natalie von Bertouch got through a huge workload both on attack and defensively while more ball also found its way into Borregos hands as the visitors turned around to draw the quarter at 13 apiece.
But there was no denying Firebirds overall dominance as they went to the last break with a handsome 47-31 lead.
Any moments of parity, however, were short-lived for the visitors as the Firebirds powered home on the back of a 17-10 quarter and the Thunderbirds wilted under the onslaught.
21. August 64
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS