14 Jun 2015

Firebirds burn Mystics

7:41 pm on 14 June 2015

The Queensland Firebirds will host next week's grand final of the trans-Tasman Netball league after eliminating the Mystics 60-44 in their Brisbane semi-final.

Posting their 12th straight win this season and keeping their unbeaten run against the Mystics intact, the Firebirds will line up in their fourth Grand Final in four years after winning the title in 2011.

Northern Mystics goal attack Maria Tutaia.

Northern Mystics goal attack Maria Tutaia. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The home team knocked the wind out of the Mystics sails in first half, breaking out to a 10 goal lead.

The Mystics were always on the back foot and chasing the game, unable to attack with the same impetous as their opponents despite the presence of Silver Ferns Maria Tutaia and Catherine Latu.

The Firebirds stormed home with a 17 -11 goal final quarter, enjoying an overall 21 more shots at goal.

The Mystics opted for Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick (goal defence) and Temalisi Fakahokotau (goal keeper) in a bid to shut down the potency of the Firebirds shooting end.

Gretel Tippett and Romelda Aiken were seamless with their conversions under the Firebirds hoop, Fakahokotau's lack of height but licence to hunt the ball not paying early dividends.

The Mystics were guilty of too many turnovers, their transition play under constant pressure from the Firebirds oppressive full court defence.

Showing greater patience as the stanza wore on the Mystics did well to repair some of the damage when closing the gap to 14-10 at the first break.

The Mystics introduced Nadia Loveday (wing attack) for Millie Lees and Kayla Cullen (goal defence) for Tone-Fitzpatrick in the second term.

Much more effective with their through-court transition, prolific shooter Aiken and inspiring defender Laura Geitz, were key figures in the Firebirds relentless pressure.

Honours were shared in an even third stanza but the Mystics were unable to penetrate the staunch Firebirds resolve.

Defensively, the visitors won turnover opportunities but their troubles came on attack.

The usually reliable shooting duo of Latu and Tutaia could not break the shackles of the ever-present Geitz and Clare McMeniman who kept a vice-like grip on containing the dangerous duo.

Firebirds shooting statistics:

Romelda Aiken 42/48 (87%)

Gretel Tippett 18/27 (66%)

Mystics shooting statistics:

Cathrine Latu 17/18 (94%)

Maria Tutaia 24/33 (72%)

Paula Griffin 3/3 (100%)