The Adelaide Thunderbirds’ hopes of making the trans-Tasman Championship finals looks to be over after a loss to the Queensland Firebirds.
The season looks to be over for reigning trans-Tasman Champions the Adelaide Thunderbirds after they suffered a 58-52 loss to the Queensland Firebirds at Netball SA Stadium on Sunday.
With three games remaining the Thunderbirds sit seventh on the ladder, two wins short of the fourth placed New South Wales Swifts, making it extremely difficult for them to make the finals.
The Firebirds, who have only beaten the Thunderbirds twice in 13 games, have now won four games in a row and are in contention to finish on top of the Trans-Tasman Championship table.
“We’re really happy going into the bye round being able to be where we are,” Queensland Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke said.
“We’re extremely happy to be able to get a win at this venue, it’s really hard to play here at ETSA Park (Netball SA Stadium) where we haven’t had too much success.
“It’s been a really dry spell for us so we’re really happy (to get a win).
A strong first half from the Firebirds, helped by a dominant display from goal shooter Romelda Aiken (40 goals for the match), was the difference between the two teams.
The Firebirds opened up a 10 goal halftime lead and were never headed.
Erin Bell responded well to being left out of the Australian Diamonds Commonwealth Games side during the week, scoring 27 goals for the home side and providing a solid target inside the circle.
“I thought she was fantastic for us tonight,” Adelaide Thunderbirds coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson said.
“She just kept shooting those beautiful goals to keep us in touch when we were struggling and defensively she had a great game too.
“It just demonstrated the class and professionalism of Erin and she put on the pink jersey today and went out there and did her absolute best and I thought she had a great game.”
To make things more difficult for the Thunderbirds young centre Madeleine Proud left the court during the second quarter with a knee injury and will go for scans tomorrow.
“With Nat Von Bertouch’s retirement, that’s five with either ACLs or serious fractures or knee injuries so it doesn’t get any easier for us coming into the next two weeks against two more top four teams,” Woodlands-Thompson said.