NETBALL: Kate Shimmin is rapt to have made the move to Brisbane - and out of harm's way as a defender trying to oppose the might of Firebirds goal shooter Romelda Aiken.
The 24-year-old ex-Adelaide Thunderbird recalled an incident during a game last season when the two-time ANZ Championship MVP left her worse for wear.
"I got my very first black eye from Romelda," Shimmin told News Regional Media ahead of her debut with the Firebirds in Saturday's Super Netball opener in Brisbane.
"She actually split my eye open."
Shimmin, who still sports a scar from the clash, admits she was quick to remind her new teammate when joining the Firebirds late last year.
"I'll never let her forget that," she laughed.
"But, no, she's the most beautiful person on the planet. She felt terrible when it happened. She said it was accidental."
As the new addition to the defensive unit, in place of departed champions Laura Geitz and Clare McMeniman, Shimmin has been once again opposed to Aiken, albeit in the far less brutal arena of team practice.
Asked if she'd been able to settle the score, Shimmin replied: "No, she's too strong."
Shimmin said the intimidating 196cm Aiken had always been her toughest opponent in the now-defunct trans-Tasman competition.
"I remember going to sleep before playing the Firebirds with a knot in my stomach, knowing I was up against Romelda and Gretel (Tippett) in that (attacking) circle," she recalled.
"They are such hard workers, such a tight unit. It's really good to be on their team."
A born and bred "Adelaide girl", Shimmin was a member of the Thunderbirds' 2013 championship-winning outfit but welcomed to the Firebirds fold by head coach Roselee Jencke.
"The Thunderbirds will always have a special spot in my heart," she said.
"But I've been with the club for so long and I really wanted to develop my netball further, and for that to happen I needed to make a change.
"I decided to go and seek Rose. I mean, she's also the Diamonds defensive coach. I knew I was going to get a lot of experience and knowledge from her.
"You've got to show her how hard you want it ... how hard you're willing to work.
"I'm loving every single minute of it."
Shimmin said she left Adelaide with the Thunderbirds' best wishes.
"(Coach) Dan Ryan is a very good friend of mine as well as a fantastic coach. He understood, it's all water under the bridge now," she said.
Shimmin acknowledged she and Laura Clemesha had big shoes to fill in place of Geitz and McMeniman but was up for the challenge of carrying on the three-time premiership pair's legacy.
"Laura and I aren't here to be Geitz and Clare Mac, we're going to be our own combination, she said.
"But at the same time we have the utmost respect for what those two women have done in the Firebirds defensive positions ... we just want to do them proud as well."
Shimmin, who recently spent time as a training partner with the Diamonds team, now has her sights set on hitting the ground running in the new Super Netball competition when matched up on star Lightning attacking pair Caitlin Bassett and Steph Wood on Saturday night.
"That is going to be a real test for the Firebirds," she said. "But as long as we're sticking to our game plan we're going to be absolutely fine."
Go to Ticketek.com.au to book your tickets for this Saturday night's clash at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.