GIANTS take giant step towards finals

GIANTS Netball have taken a crucial step towards securing their place in the finals, with a win over the Queensland Firebirds in yesterday’s Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) clash, 73-72.

The narrow, hard fought win means that the GIANTS extend the gap between them and the chasing pack and makes their finals spot just that little bit more secure. It was the GIANTS who skipped away to an early lead, but the Firebirds levelled it back up not long after and took the lead back for themselves.

The GIANTS then took the lead on the eve of the power five, then did not waste time making the most of the super shot being available to extend their lead even further. Defensive pressure was high across the quarter from both sides, resulting in plenty of held ball calls, and both teams put up plenty of super shots but ultimately it was the visitors who led by two goals at the first change.

The GIANTS got the better start in the second term and extended their lead out to four goals, and to make things worse for the Firebirds, skipper Kim Ravaillion came off the court with what appeared to be an ankle injury. As the quarter progressed the GIANTS stayed in control and the scoreboard reflected that. However in the final few minutes of the term a fire reignited in the Firebirds and they began to claw their way back into the match, even drawing level again with two and a half minutes left in the term.

Although both sides had an opportunity within the dying seconds to extend the lead out even further, it was ultimately the GIANTS who held the lead by the narrowest of margins. In a positive for the Firebirds, Ravaillion returned to the court in the second half.  It took them a little while to get started, the GIANTS again had the better start to the quarter in the third term, racing ahead to a six-goal lead.

However, the Firebirds then got going again and all of a sudden the margin back to one goal. With two and a half minutes left in the term, the Firebirds drew the scores level again, then took the lead and the game was very much still in the balance. One thing that did not help the GIANTS in the dying few minutes of the term was that Matilda McDonell came off with an eye concern.

The narrow margin continued until the three quarter time break, and with a Donnell Wallam Super Shot on the siren, it was the home side that took a single goal lead into the final change. The GIANTS got a boost at the beginning of the final term with McDonell back out on court to start the final term.

In a change from earlier quarters, it was the Firebirds who got the better start to the quarter in the last term and got out to a three goal lead. The GIANTS levelled things up again in the middle part of the term, so it was really unclear as to who would ultimately take the crucial four points. It continued to go goal for goal even into the dying two and a half minutes, but the GIANTS broke the sequence and took the lead.

The Firebirds were not going down without a fight though, as Wallam nailed another Super Shot to level things up again. The final few passages of play were exciting and intense, as back to back Super Shots from either side saw the GIANTS pinch the narrow win and claim the crucial four points.

For the GIANTS, Jamie-Lee Price was an absolute workhorse all game, finishing with 41 feeds and 24 goal assists.

Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer were also impressive from range, shooting a combined six super shots between them.

Meanwhile for the Firebirds, Wallam was impressive, only missing two shots for the whole game and shooting an impressive four super shots by herself, two of which came late in the game to keep her side in the contest.

Next week both these sides are in Sydney to finish their home and away seasons. The GIANTS are hosting the Lightning while the Firebirds are up against the Swifts.

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS 17 | 16 | 20 | 19 (72)
GIANTS NETBALL 19 | 15 | 18 | 21 (73)


Queensland Firebirds:

GS: Donnell Wallam
GA: Gretel Bueta
WA: Jemma Mi Mi
C: Kim Ravaillion
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: Ruby Bakewell-Doran
GK: Eboni Usoro-Brown

GIANTS Netball:

GS: Jo Harten
GA: Sophie Dwyer
WA: Maddie Hay
C: Jamie-Lee Price
WD: Amy Parmenter
GD: April Brandley
GK: Tilly McDonnell

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