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Netball juggernaut Firebirds crush T-birds

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/05/2016 By Matt Harris

Seemingly unstoppable, the Queensland Firebirds are gearing for another marquee clash with arch-rivals NSW Swifts after dispatching Adelaide Thunderbirds 62-51.

Sunday's home win stretched the defending champion Firebirds' winning streak in the trans-Tasman league to 21 games, with eight games played and five remaining in the 2016 regular season.

But with their next game being an away clash with 2015 grand final opponents the Swifts (6-1) next Sunday, Firebirds captain Laura Geitz was in no mood to talk about the chances of staying unbeaten this season.

"We won't look too far ahead because the toughest part of our season is coming up," Geitz said.

"If we were going out to remain undefeated until the end of the season we'd probably get a bit of a rude shock.

"It's about building on each performance that we put out each week."

The Firebirds inflicted the Swifts only loss this season when they triumphed 61-51 at home last month.

Romelda Aiken led the way for the Firebirds against the Thunderbirds with 45 goals to pass 350 for the season, while Carla Borrego scored 33 for the visitors.

The Firebirds were slow out of the blocks and trailed midway through the opening quarter before turning on the defensive pressure and restricting Adelaide's penetration into the shooting circle.

Queensland took a five-point lead into the second stanza but that was quickly cut to two goals by the plucky Thunderbirds.

However, the gulf in class between the Firebirds and the side once considered their bogy team became evident as the quarter wore on, as the hosts responded to lead 32-21 at the main break.

Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke made two key positional changes for the third quarter with goal keeper Geitz replaced by Laura Clemesha and centre Kim Ravaillion sitting out for 20-year-old Mahalia Cassidy.

The substitutions allowed Adelaide to regain a foothold in the match, bringing the deficit back to six goals and prompting Jencke to reinject her starting stars for the final quarter.

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