GIANTS Netball have posted back-to-back wins with a thrilling 55-51 victory over the QLD Firebirds at Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Captain Jo Harten called it “an ugly win”, but admitted the team will be happy heading into the Bye with two competition points.
“To come up to Queensland and beat the Firebirds on their own turf feels good, but it wasn’t our best game,” Harten said.
“It was really scrappy and we turned over a lot of ball, but we did enough to finish on top after 60 minutes. Credit to the Firebirds, they really came out to play tonight. They were relentless and took the contest to us for the entire game.
“We’ll go into the break with a smile on our face, but that’s not the kind of performance we want to put out each week. We need to tidy up and reduce our turnovers if we’re to be a chance to take home the title, and that’s what we’re aiming for.”
MVP Susan Pettitt got the GIANTS on the board, but a tight Firebirds defence saw the hosts hit the lead early. The GIANTS’ attacking line lacked cohesion due to the unending QLD pressure, making it difficult to penetrate into the circle for the shooters to have an influence.
But the GIANTS’ trademark patience came into play with the front line finding rhythm and converting hard-earned turnovers from their defensive teammates, earning the visitors the lead after 10 minutes play.
Having pushed their lead out to four goals at the first break, the GIANTS had found the momentum they were looking for at the start of the game; but the Firebirds weren’t going to give up without a fight. Costly turnovers in the GIANTS’ front end resulted in the hosts getting back within two goals halfway through the second quarter.
After the Firebirds found the equaliser, the GIANTS emerged from their self-imposed tactical timeout composed to score the next four goals to re-establish their handle on the game. With Harten weathering plenty of attention from opponent Laura Clemesha, the stand-in Captain rallied her teammates who responded with rigor to maintain their lead at the big break; 27-23.
Both coaches opted to make changes at half-time; the GIANTS bringing on Sarah Wall to WA while the Firebirds introduced South African international Erin Burger to C. The latter had an immediate impact despite stepping off a plane from her home land earlier in the day, picking up a wayward pass from Bec Bulley which resulted in a Firebirds goal.
The hosts hit the front for the first time early in the third term but the GIANTS weren’t deterred – working hard in defence to give their shooters more opportunity to gain back the lead. This was dutifully acted upon by Harten and Pettitt who had to work overtime to find space from their circle opponents.
The Firebirds won the third quarter, but the GIANTS had the lead as the game headed into the final 15 minutes which proved to be the biggest arm wrestle of them all. The visitors were pumped up as they looked to re-stamp their authority on the game, taking their lead out to five goals with 10 minutes to play.
The game continued at a red-hot pace as the GIANTS held out a full-on Firebirds assault, but the visitors were able to put up their highest scoring quarter for the game to post a four goal victory.
The competition will enjoy a Bye Round over the Easter Break, with the GIANTS returning to Qudos Bank Arena for the BLOCKBUSTER Round 9 Double Header Event on Sunday 23 April. It will be NSW v VIC as the GIANTS take on Collingwood Magpies Netball at 1pm, followed by cross-town rivals the NSW Swifts meeting Melbourne Vixens at 3pm.
A ticket to a NSW Double Header Event gives fans BOTH Suncorp Super Netball games at the same venue, on the same day, back-to-back…meaning one ticket gives you over four hours of world-class netball!
Secure your seat today via Ticketek and join GIANTS Netball for a massive day at Qudos Bank Arena!
MVP: Susan Pettitt (GIANTS)
GIANTS | GS Jo Harten (C), GA Susan Pettitt, WA Taylah Davies, C Serena Guthrie, WD Jamie-Lee Price, GD Bec Bulley, GK Sam Poolman
FIREBIRDS | GS Romelda Aiken, GA Gretel Tippett, WA Caitlyn Nevins, C Jemma Mi Mi, WD Gabi Simpson (C), GD Kate Shimmin, GK Laura Clemesha
GIANTS | Q3: WA Sarah Wall.
FIREBIRDS | Q3: C Erin Burger; Q4 Timeout: GD Kimberley Jenner.
GIANTS | Q1: 14 – Q2: 27 (13) – Q3: 40 (13) – Q4: 55 (15)
FIREBIRDS | Q1: 10 – Q2: 23 (13) – Q3: 37 (14) – Q4: 51 (14)
GIANTS: 55/63 @ 87%
J. Harten: 37/31 @ 87%
S. Pettitt: 28/32 @ 88%
FIREBIRDS: 51/60 @ 85%
R. Aiken: 37/42 @ 88%
G. Tippett: 14/18 @ 78%