Queensland Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke believes a 17-point win over the Mainland Tactix will prove crucial to her team’s trans-Tasman netball championship hopes.
The 69-52 victory over the cellar-dwelling Tactix may not have been a surprise result but it was the Firebirds’ first game against a New Zealand-based team since round five.
The victory keeps the Firebirds in fourth place with three games to play.
Two of those three matches are against New Zealand teams and Jencke said the experience of playing the Tactix will be a bonus going in to those games against the Pulse and Magic.
“It was a very important game to get,” Jencke said.
“Tactix have beaten Pulse so it’s a good hit out for us definitely.”
Firebirds’ shooter Romelda Aiken was the dominant presence on court, narrowly missing out on her points-scoring record of 58 with a tally of 54 from 57 attempts.
Australian captain Laura Geitz had an impressive battle with Tactix Malawi international Mwai Kumwenda as Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander watched from the stands.
Alexander would also have kept a keen eye on Clare McMeniman, Verity Simmons and Jacinta Messer after all three received call-ups during the week for a national team training camp in Canberra.
Aiken admitted the record she set against the NSW Swifts in 2008 had been on her mind during the game.
“I was thinking about it all week,” she said.
“It’s high concentration to get it up there and unfortunately I fell a little bit short but there’s always room for improvement.”
The defeat means the Christchurch-based Tactix still have just one win for the season.
They play the Pulse at home next Sunday and coach Leigh Gibbs is determined to repeat their round four victory.
“That’ll really test how much we’ve learnt and grown,” Gibbs said.
“We can’t go into that game thinking that because we had a win last time it’ll be easy. The Pulse have got a lot to play for.”