The Mission Queensland Firebirds have kicked off their 2011 ANZ Championship season in scintillating form, downing heavy weights, the NSW Swifts 51-48 at the Brisbane Convention Centre overnight.
After a bye in round one, the Firebirds were set the daunting task of toppling last year’s minor premiers in order to notch their first win. The Swifts made light work of last year’s premiers, the Adelaide Thunderbirds in round one, smashing them by 20 goals and declaring themselves the early team to beat this season.
The Firebirds, looked to a new look and somewhat unknown midcourt, utilizing new recruits Chelsea Pitman and Elissa Macleod to fill the void left by Sarah Wall, with great success.
The Firebirds displayed poise and an relatively error free game to dictate terms early and lead by three at the end of the first quarter, but the Swifts rallied in the second to put their noses in front by the main break, leading 27-25.
Halftime saw several changes in the Firebirds, revolving around the introduction of Claire McMenimen and Elissa Macleod into the centre court with positive results. Midway through the third quarter the Firebirds led by as much as four goals before a late surge by the Swifts to close to within just two at the final break.
The final quarter saw the Swifts draw level with the Firebirds early, until the sixth minute when the Firebirds capitalized on some impressive defensive turnovers to take a three goal buffer to the final whistle.
The Firebirds now face the task of taking down the 2010 premiers, the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Brisbane this weekend, who will be aching after back to back losses in the first two rounds.
The match is at 1:20pm on Saturday at the Brisbane Convention Centre so make sure you’re there for another gripping match!
This season’s new Nova Firebird will be hot new recruit, Elissa Macleod (of the Clan Macleod) who was outstanding in her first game. I’ll be speaking with Elissa throughout the season, so stay tuned for the inside gossip right here!
Elissa’s votes for teammate of the match:
3 points – Romelda Aiken
2 points – Lauren Nourse
1 point – Amy Steel & Laura Geitz
Craigie Mac’s player of the Match: Laura Geitz – Outstanding defensive game against one of the toughest shooters on the planet.