Adelaide Thunderbirds have defeated Queensland Firebirds 55-48 to win their 15th straight match
The Adelaide Thunderbirds equalled the trans-Tasman netball league’s record of 15 consecutive victories with a 55-48 win over the Queensland Firebirds on Sunday, but their skipper couldn’t care less.
While acknowledging that equalling the mark first set by Queensland during their championship-winning year of 2011 was a great achievement, captain Renae Hallinan said her players were focused only on claiming honours in the grand-final rematch.
“We haven’t cared at all about the record or the winning streak,” Hallinan said.
“I think it’s a great effort for this whole team and we’ll probably give ourselves a pat on the back after this game.
“But it certainly had nothing to do with any of our preparation coming into today.
“We’ve got two wins from two away games so we’re really looking forward to playing the (NSW) Swifts on home turf in front of the Pink Army.”
The Firebirds admitted in the lead-up to the match at the Brisbane Convention Centre their 50-48 grand final lost to the T-Birds last year still haunted them.
And it looked like they would inflict revenge on their nemesis Adelaide, who have now won their past six matches against the Firebirds, when Roselee Jencke’s team led 27-24 at halftime.
But T-Birds coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson made some key changes at the main break, namely injecting Madeleine Proud into Hallinan’s centre role, and the match turned on its head.
Proud was able to better feed goal shooter Carla Borrego, whom Firebirds skipper Laura Geitz had restricted to just 10 goals in the first half.
“I truly believe she (Proud) was the difference,” said Geitz, who described the fast-paced game as “like Test match netball”.
“She kept finding Borrego (29 goals) and was able to lift the team in that third quarter.”
The biggest contributor for the T-Birds was goal attack and MVP Erin Bell, who nailed plenty of long bombs and hardly missed until the final quarter, finishing with 26 goals from 31 attempts.
Defender Kate Shimmin was again strong for the T-Birds in a tough challenge against ace shooter Romelda Aiken and goal attack Amorette Wild, who was benched for the final quarter after racking up 18 goals.
Aiken was forced off the court late in the final quarter with a hip injury but a club spokeswoman said she was expected to play against Melbourne Vixens next Sunday.