The Firebirds warmed up for the finals by thrashing Collingwood.
The Firebirds warmed up for the finals by thrashing Collingwood.

State bragging rights on the line in finals derby

GABI Simpson wants the Firebirds to be Queensland's No.1 team as they prepare to go into battle with the Sunshine Coast Lightning in their Super Netball semifinal on Sunday.

The two sides will meet in a knockout final this weekend, in what is shaping to be an exciting showdown after Sunshine Coast skipper Geva Mentor claimed the Firebirds don't recognise the Lightning as the other Queensland team.

While Firebirds skipper Simpson denied those suggestions, she did say her team will not take a backwards step come Sunday.

The Lightning claimed the championship in their inaugural season last year while the Firebirds missed the finals altogether.

And Simpson said their do-or-die clash gives the Firebirds the chance to regain their status as the best team in the Sunshine State.

"We want to be the best team in Queensland, so that drives us," Simpson said.

"Watching the finals unfold last year was a hard task. That has really driven us to be better this year and work out what we were missing.

"We're not happy with just being in the finals. We want to go all the way.

 

Kim Jenner and the Firebirds have their eyes on the big prize.
Kim Jenner and the Firebirds have their eyes on the big prize.

 

"The Lightning will be a huge challenge. They're one of the best teams so what better way to test ourselves?"

Simpson also said she had a lot of respect for what the Lightning achieved last year.

But she said that respect also meant the Firebirds would not underestimate their opponents.

"We have a lot of respect for the Sunshine Coast Lightning and what they have achieved," she said.

"To win the competition in their first year is extremely impressive. There is definitely no question we have a lot of respect for them and because of that, when we play them our preparation is second to none.

"We need to be on our game when we meet them.

"It's very evenly matched in terms of the scoreboard. It's a great rivalry and it will continue to be a great rivalry."



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