Firebirds soar back into contention

lauraThe Queensland Firebirds returned to the top four of the ANZ Championship after toppling the NSW Swifts in Round 8 action over the weekend.

The Firebirds 55-40 victory in Brisbane ended their run of consecutive losses and reversed the earlier result between the two sides in Round 4.

A dominant second quarter from the Firebirds set up their victory with captain Laura Geitz leading from the front while Kim Ravaillion and Gabi Simpson controlled the midcourt.

After a couple of quiet weeks, shooter Romelda Aiken shot 36 goals to help the Firebirds overtake the Central Pulse in fourth spot on the ladder, although they have played one extra match than the New Zealand side.

kimGeitz was delighted by the win and praised the tactical nous of coach Roselee Jencke.

“I’m just so happy. The girls that came on court did a fantastic job,” Geitz said. “We really got on top and kept the lead which was satisfying.”

The Firebirds now face a rematch against West Coast Fever in Brisbane this weekend, who came from behind to beat them a fortnight ago in Perth.

The sixth-placed Fever – who had the bye over the weekend – remain a game behind the Firebirds on the ladder.

The Melbourne Vixens season continues to go from strength to strength after producing arguably the most clinical performance of the season against reigning premiers the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

The 64-26 victory consolidated the Vixens in top spot on the ladder by percentage from the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

The Thunderbirds were held to under 10 goals in all four quarters and their final total set a new low in the ANZ Championship history. The 38-goal result was also Adelaide’s heaviest defeat.

“It was an embarrassing match for us,” Adelaide captain Renae Hallinan lamented after the game.

“It’s not good enough on any front to score 26 goals and let the other team get 64.”

Goal shooter Karyn Bailey dominated in the Vixens win, scoring 34 goals at 94 per cent accuracy, while Madi Robinson and Geva Mentor were dominant.

Vixens captain Bianca Chatfield said she’s pleased with how the side is travelling at the moment.

“It’s one of the best games we’ve put together this season so it’s exciting that we’re slowly getting it all together at the right time,” Chatfield said after Melbourne’s fourth straight win.

Both sides are crossing the Tasman this weekend. The Vixens head to Wellington to take on the Pulse while the Thunderbirds face the daunting challenge of taking on the Magic in Rotorua to get their season back on track.

Photos: Courtesy of Brian Munto, Sport-in-digital.