Melbourne Vixens defeated the Lorna Jane Queensland Firebirds 66-50 at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Saturday 18 March to cement their spot in the Suncorp Super Netball top four.
It was a night to forget for Queensland who turned over a whopping 35 balls and conceded 81 penalties to a sharp Vixens outfit.
Melbourne shooters Mwai Kumwenda and Tegan Philip were on fire for the visitors, shooting their side’s 66 goals from just 70 attempts.
The Firebirds notched the first goal of the game from the opening centre pass, but conceded seven of the next eight in a horror run that included five turnovers.
A tactical timeout followed and the Firebirds came out refreshed, with a devilish passage of link-up play between Aiken and Tippet preceding a big Gabi Simpson turnover.
The goals followed as the Firebirds clicked to come within two of parity, but errors again spoiled the party.
Melbourne refocused to pull back their lead and take a 17-11 quarter time advantage.
The Firebirds came out for the second full of intensity and immediately turned over ball to bring back two goals, but errors once again crept in to restore the Vixens’ advantage.
The opening moments reflected the flow of the entire frame – when the Firebirds would claw back goals, errors again opened the door for the Vixens to take charge.
Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke substituted Erin Burger for Jemma Mi Mi with three and a half minutes to play – the South African international looking uncomfortable after two stellar opening weeks at Super Netball level.
Eighteen turnovers told the story of the first half as the Vixens went into the big break 33-23 up.
The Firebirds and Vixens went goal for goal early in the third, before the Vixens again tightened the screws off the back of 10 Queensland turnovers.
Vixens shooting pair Mwai Kumwenda and Tegan Philip were near perfect under the hoop, shooting a combined 19 from 21 for the quarter to lead the visitors to a 52-33 three quarter time lead.
In a good news story on a night to forget for the Firebirds, rookie goal attack Abigail Latu-Meafou took to the court for her full debut at the final change and didn’t miss a beat.
The Logan junior linked well with shooting partner Aiken and slotted five from six for the quarter and showed great movement in an assured display.
The Firebirds showed all of their trademark heart and determination during the fourth, cutting the lead but ultimately falling 66-50 to the Vixens.
The Lorna Jane Queensland Firebirds play Adelaide Thunderbirds next Saturday at 8.15pm. Tune in live and free on Nine Gem.