QUEENSLAND Firebirds star Gretel Bueta is a stalwart of the Suncorp Super Netball, having played in the league for a long time and become a first choice shooter for both the Firebirds and the Diamonds.
This Player Focus takes a look specifically at her efforts in last weekend’s match against the Vixens, which although the match resulted in a loss, Bueta can still hold her head high after a good performance.
Although she did not get very many goals on the board in the opening term, that was not her main role.
She was the link between the centre third and the attacking third, as she would receive the centre passes (most often for the quarter amongst her Firebirds teammates) and use her height to her advantage to get it in to fellow shooter Donnell Wallam. The pair of them made the most of the fact that Wallam in particular was much taller than her direct opponent to effortlessly work it into goal. Bueta is very quick and very agile, and that was on full display in the opening term as she darted around her Vixens defenders.
Bueta’s leadership and experience was on full display in the second term, particularly during when the Firebirds had the centre pass.
Bueta again recorded the most centre pass receives for the quarter, but each time she did not receive the centre pass, she was already running down to the attacking third to present as the next pass option.
This contributed to the Firebirds being able to get the ball down into their attacking circle very faced, catching the Vixens defenders off guard.
The Firebirds benefitted from this on the scoreboard as they built a handy buffer for themselves.
Early on in the quarter, it was looking like Bueta was going with the same strategy heading into the circle that she did in the first half, not factoring in the increase in height of the Vixens goalkeeper when Emily Mannix came on for Olivia Lewis.
It ultimately did not last long as Bueta continued to just run and run and run all quarter, always working hard to ensure she is in front position and the most useful position to get the ball.
She again did not do the heavy loss of the shooting, but it did not matter as her linking work was crucial to keeping the Firebirds in the match.
In the fourth quarter, Bueta continued to display many of the positives she displayed in previous quarters.
She just kept running and running all quarter, and her movement continued to be strong.
Each time she did not receive the centre pass, she continued to keep running down to the attacking third to present as the next pass option.
Although she continued to play more of the linking role and not do much of the bulk of the shooting, she did shoot a crucial super shot late to help keep her side in the match. Unfortunately for the Firebirds, they just ran out of time to get over the top of the Vixens.