Qld Firebirds revel in low netball profile

Feb 6, 2017 - 7:34 AM Reputations will mean little in the new Super Netball national competition, according to the dominant Queensland Firebirds.

Not that they are complaining.

Firebirds star shooter Romelda Aiken admitted a new look Queensland hoped to be underestimated in the lead-up to the eight-team, all-Australian tournament starting next week.

Queensland were the most successful team in the now defunct trans-Tasman netball competition.

They won three titles.

And they were the only team to go back to back, downing Sydney Swifts in double over-time to claim the 2016 title.

Yet Queensland have been largely snubbed by bookmakers ahead of the inaugural Super Netball season.

Cashed up, star-studded newcomers Collingwood have been installed as favourites after Queensland lost the likes of leaders Laura Geitz (pregnant), Clare McMeniman (retired) and Kim Ravaillion (Collingwood).

Aiken said the Firebirds wouldn't have it any other way.

"We would much prefer to be the underdogs," Aiken told AAP.

"We don't want people to get their expectations too high when it comes to us.

"We prefer to be flying under the radar.

"We don't want to be one of the teams people talk about."

Gabi Simpson has since been named new Firebirds skipper with Caitlyn Nevins her deputy.

Queensland open their Super Netball campaign with a derby against newcomer Sunshine Coast Lightning at Brisbane on February 18.

The Firebirds got a taste of what to expect when they downed the Lightning 57-47 in a weekend trial.

They also defeated arch rivals the Swifts 52-49 and drew 54-all with new faces Giants in the pre-season.

Still, Aiken believed the new competition was a "big unknown" for the Firebirds.

"We will go back to basics," she said.

"There will be games where we will have to dig a little deeper because we don't know what other teams are capable of.

"The weekend trial against the Lightning gave us an insight into their game but it also ensured we have a lot to work on before our first game."

Queensland have been the yardstick of seasons past after claiming thrilling, last gasp grand final wins over the Swifts the past two seasons.

Asked what the Firebirds hoped to achieve in 2017, Jamaican international Aiken said: "Less heart attacks would be nice".

Source: AAP

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