The Queensland Firebirds have opened their trans-Tasman netball league campaign with a comfortable 60-44 win over the Southern Steel in Invercargill.

The Queensland Firebirds, on the back of some heavy defensive pressure, ran out comfortable 60-44 winners over the Southern Steel on Sunday in the trans-Tasman Netball League.

Trailing late in the opening quarter in Invercargill, the Firebirds put on nine unanswered goals to open out a 17-11 lead.

From there, they controlled the contest as they stifled the Steel with their tight defence right through the court.

The Firebirds, last year’s runners-up, went on to win every quarter, although the Steel did make a late run.

Both teams shot at 80 per cent, but the visitors were able to put up far more attempts and their new shooting partnership of Jamaican international Romelda Aiken (34/43) and former Swift Amy Wild (26/32) combined well.

The Steel surprised by not starting their star shooter, Jamaican Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, the 2013 competition’s most valuable player.

Instead, coach Janine Southby chose to open with the greater mobility of youngster Te Paea Selby-Rickit at goal shoot.

Selby-Rickit was solid (13/16) before making way for Fowler-Reid at halftime.

Fowler-Reid was again the most accurate shooter on show, with a 91 per cent success rate (20/22).