The 2019 Super Netball season was one to forget for Gabi Simpson (left) and the Queensland Firebirds.
The 2019 Super Netball season was one to forget for Gabi Simpson (left) and the Queensland Firebirds.

Firebirds desperate for redemption

FURTHER time to dwell on being Super Netball's worst team has given the Queensland Firebirds extra desire to bounce back from their disastrous 2019 season.

This year's campaign was due to start on May 2, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will now begin on August 1.

The delay has given the Firebirds, who only four years ago were celebrating back-to-back titles, more time to reflect on finishing with the wooden spoon last season with an appalling record of just one win from 14 matches.

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It's a statistic that doesn't sit well with Firebirds skipper Gabi Simpson, who returned to training last week with the rest of a Queensland squad desperate for redemption.

"Having been apart for another two months across this period of time (in isolation) it means that we've been eighth (last) on the ladder for another two months … we are not OK with that," Simpson said.


"We've got another eight weeks to get ourselves even fitter, even stronger, and come August 1, we will be more than ready to take the court."

Simpson admitted her side "crumbled" last season under "a lot of adversity".

"This year, if we are faced with adversity, we know nothing's going to come easily to us," she said.

"When you are in eighth you have to work really hard to get yourself anywhere up there.

"We're going to be more resilient than ever. Resilience is created from how you train, how often you out yourselves under pressure, putting yourself to the points where you're going to fail, failing and then learning from that.

'And that's what we're doing at training, and that will set us up really well for the games, but I guess we don't know until we start playing, so the more we put ourselves under pressure in training the more prepared we will be."

New Queensland Firebird Lara Dunkley.
New Queensland Firebird Lara Dunkley.

Simpson said the addition of former Vixens trio Lara Dunkley, Ine-Mari Venter and Rudi Ellis had brought "energy" to this year's Firebirds squad.

"We just want to be as fierce as possible for as long as possible," the Firebirds captain said.

With the sport also returning across the state via community teams and competitions, Netball Queensland has announced a training partnership with Soul Safe, Australia's first member-based certification in infection prevention and control.

"We've been absolutely chomping at the bit this season to get into the stadium to be able to train together, so I can only imagine how community netballers are feeling," Simpson said.

"It's so great that restrictions are being lifted, and that we're giving (players) every opportunity to be as safe and hygienic as possible so they do get to train together."