16 was sweet for Firebirds, now record in reach

It’s ironic that the Queensland Firebirds are heading to Adelaide this weekend looking to reclaim the ANZ Championship record for the longest winning streak.

The Firebirds equaled the current mark of 16 thanks to their 11-goal win over the Melbourne Vixens last round and a victory against the Thunderbirds will see the reigning champions own the record outright again.

The Firebirds and Thunderbirds both jointly hold the record of 16 straight wins – and the Adelaide side will be desperate to ensure it stays that way when they take to the court at Netball SA Stadium on Saturday.

The Firebirds previously held the record of 15 consecutive wins, set in their all-conquering 2011 campaign where they went through undefeated on the way to claiming their first title.

FBT_0860The Thunderbirds then took the record off them back in Round 3 2014, having started their winning streak back in their title-winning season of 2013, before their run came to an end in New Zealand the following week.

The Firebirds have not been beaten since losing to West Coast in the opening round of last season in Brisbane.

They played a 47-all draw against the NSW Swifts in Round 3 and – after a bye in Round 4 – began their winning streak with a 51-47 win in the rematch with the Swifts in Round 5.

The Firebirds have an average winning margin of 10.7 goals in their 16 wins and have won eight of their last nine games by more than 10 goals – the only exception being last year’s epic Grand Final.

They boast a formidable shooting combination in Romelda Aiken and Gretel Tippett and average just under 58 goals a match in their streak.

Captain Laura Geitz leads a defensive unit that has only conceded an average of 46.8 goals a match in their past 16 outings.

Firebirds midcourter Gabi Simpson (pictured above left) plays her 50th ANZ Championship game this round.

The other significant milestone in sight this round surrounds star West Coast Fever shooter Caitlin Bassett, pictured right, who needs just 36 goals to become the first Australian player to reach 4000 career goals in the ANZ Championship.

Bassett will join Aiken (4442 goals) as the only players to achieve that feat.

Fever host the Swifts in an early season Australian Conference top-of-the table blockbuster.

Both sides are undefeated after three rounds but history favors the Swifts, who have won four of the last five contests with a draw.

The Melbourne Vixens have the bye.

You can catch all the ANZ Championship action live on Fox Sports. Channel 10 and ONE will broadcast the Fever-Swifts match on Sunday. Check local guides for details.