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Firebirds return to winning netball ways

NZN 4/06/2016 By Matt Harris

The Queensland Firebirds returned to the winners' circle on Saturday, seeing off the Melbourne Vixens 56-44 in their round 10 Trans-Tasman netball clash.

The Firebirds suffered their first loss of the 2016 season and had their 21-match winning streak snapped in last weekend's four-point defeat to the NSW Swifts.

However, their 12-point victory avoided back-to-back defeats and also allowed the Firebirds to move temporarily back to the top of the Australian Conference ladder ahead of the Swifts.

Playing in unfamiliar territory at the Gold Coast Convention Centre, Queensland sprang out of the blocks quickly and slotted the opening five goals in a low-scoring opening stanza.

In an early blow for the home side, experienced defender Clare McMeniman suffered a calf injury during the first quarter and was replaced by Laura Clemesha the remainder of the contest.

The defender's absence allowed the Vixens to respond in the second quarter and they came within two goals of the Firebirds until the defending champions steadied to lead by four at the main break.

Queensland started the second half in similar fashion to the first and led by as many as nine goals before settling on a seven-point three-quarter time advantage.

Spearheaded by shooters Romelda Aiken (39 goals) and Gretel Tippett (17 goals and 33 feeds), the Firebirds lifted their intensity to outscore Melbourne 18-13 during the final period to seal their second win this season over the Vixens.

Firebirds captain Laura Geitz was named MVP in her 150th appearance for the club and left the court feeling satisfied with her side's display after their last-start loss.

"We needed to get back on track and prove to ourselves what we know we're made of," Geitz said.

"It was the cleanest game and there were still some scrappy spots, but it was a really tough performance from the girls tonight which was really pleasing."

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