Petty Stars for Thunderbirds in Firebirds loss.
The Queensland Firebirds are knocking on Super Netball's top four-door after scoring a crucial 63-47 away victory over the Adelaide Thunderbirds at the Netball SA Stadium. This was despite the best efforts of milestone girl, former Wudinna native Hannah Petty who starred for the Tbirds.
Both teams were seeking their fourth win of the season on Sunday, along with the opportunity to draw level with fourth-placed West Coast Fever on 16 competition points, but the Queenslanders took charge after halftime to boost their semi-final chances.
The opening half developed into a see-sawing battle with the Firebirds jumping out to a six-goal lead in both the first and second quarters before Adelaide pegged them back each time to trail by two at the main break.
But the match swung in Queensland's favour when they outscored the Thunderbirds 17-9 in the third period before going on to complete back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Towering goal shooter Romelda Aiken (42 goals, 10 rebounds) played a pivotal role in Queensland's win, the 196cm Jamaican using her strength and aerial ability to nullify Adelaide's star defender Shamera Sterling.
"I love playing against Shamera, she's very vertical and very aggressive," Aiken told the Nine Network.
"I love that I get to come up against another Jamaican, it just puts us in good stead for internationals to see where we are both at."
The resurgence of former Diamonds centre Kim Ravaillion continued as she powered the Firebirds through the pivotal third quarter while speedy midcourter Jemma Mi Mi also made an impact after subbing into the match just before halftime.
Aiken was full of praise for Ravaillion's impact on the squad after making her return to the Firebirds following three seasons with Collingwood Magpies.
"I love it. We've always got this thing in the group … if you look for me, I'm going to hold strong for you out there so just keep putting them in the circle because that's our strength," Aiken said about Ravaillion's service from midcourt.
After losing their first five matches of the season, Adelaide showed plenty of resolve to post three wins in the past month but a late push for a top-four finish is now unlikely after they failed to keep pace with Queensland in the latter stages of the game.
Thunderbirds captain Hannah Petty racked up 31 feeds and 20 goal assists in her 50th national league game while efficient shooter Lenize Potgieter (37 goals) battled valiantly to keep Adelaide in the contest.