CHAMPION: Firebirds captain Laura Geitz (captain) intercepts a pass in last year’s grand final win over the Swifts.
CHAMPION: Firebirds captain Laura Geitz (captain) intercepts a pass in last year’s grand final win over the Swifts.

Firebirds ready to go again

The hunter will be the hunted as the Queensland Firebirds try to create history by becoming the first team to win the trans-Tasman championship three times, and the first to win in consecutive seasons.

But inspirational captain Laura Geitz says her team won't be burdened by the weight of expectation as it kicks off its title defence against the Tactix at home tonight.

While the Firebirds carried all before them last season, losing only the opening game to the West Coast Fever, the Tactix struggled at the other end of the ladder, its only win coming in the last round against the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

The Firebirds have retained most of last season's premiership squad, the biggest loss being wing attack Verity Simmons, who has returned to the Fever after three seasons in Brisbane.

Geitz will again lead the way in defence, Kim Ravaillion will be hard to stop in the midcourt and Romelda Aiken - the competition's all-time leading scorer with 4318 goals from 5092 attempts (since 2008) - will present a huge challenge in the shooting circle.

The other game tonight is an all-Kiwi affair between the Northern Mystics and Southern Steel. The Mystics finished on top of the New Zealand conference last season, but have lost champion midcourter Laura Langman to the New South Wales Swifts.

The highlights of the opening round will be tomorrow night's clash between the West Coast Fever and Adelaide Thunderbirds, and Sunday afternoon's mouth-watering match-up between the Swifts and Melbourne Vixens.



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