The Lorna Jane Queensland Firebirds will look to cement their top four spot with a win over high-flying Melbourne Vixens at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Saturday night.
The Vixens and Firebirds sit level in second spot on the ladder with five competition points, with the Victorians taking the big scalp of Collingwood Magpies in round one to announce themselves as a title threat.
The match will immediately be followed by the Pies v Sunshine Coast Lightning fixture at the same venue, with the black and white knocking on the door of a top four berth after a mixed 2-2 start to the season.
Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke said her side would take nothing for granted against Melbourne as they looked to string together three wins on the bounce for the first time in 2017.
“It’ll be a really close game. We won last weekend, but there’s a vulnerability to that – we can’t be complacent because we’re playing at home. We’ll do our homework and be really thorough in our game plan,” Jencke said.
“The Vixens are a well drilled team. The don’t waste the ball much and they’re really disciplined, so we need to be just as disciplined with our ball use when we play against them.
“I’ll definitely be watching the Collingwood v Lightning game with interest. The double header is great for netball fans and it’s significant for Collingwood in that they’re playing against a top four team. They’ll be looking to make a big statement this week coming up here and looking to back up a big win last week.”
Firebirds vice-captain Caitlyn Nevins is a former Vixen and won an ANZ Championship title with the southerners in 2014.
Despite the ties to Victoria, Nevins said she now considers herself a Queenslander and has thrived after the recent arrival of South African international Erin Burger.
“I’m Queensland through and through. Vixens provided me with my first opportunity at the elite level which I’m extremely grateful for, but I’m completely immersed in the Firebirds club and culture,” Nevins said.
“Erin has just slotted in brilliantly to centre and I definitely feel more settled through wing attack. She’s adding her own creative flair to our front end and we had some beautiful passages of play last weekend – the best we’ve had so far. If we can keep building we’ll be a strong force to match.
“I feel like we’ve been building over the course of every game we’ve played. We’ve had dramatic improvement from round one to now. Our fourth quarter performances over the past few games have been exceptional, so we’re keen to continue that but work on adding consistency through the other three quarters.”
The Lorna Jane Queensland Firebirds take on Melbourne Vixens in a Suncorp Super Netball double header this Saturday from 6pm at Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Tickets on sale via Ticketek or watch live via Nine Gem from 6pm AEST.