Simmons steps on court in conference final victory
GRAFTON-honed, spectactor favourite Verity Simmons returned to the national netball courts on the weekend - the first time since breaking her wrist in March.
Despite the brief appearance in the last quarter in Sunday's Australian Conference Final, the Mission Queensland Firebird wing attack was rewarded with an immediate taste of victory.
Simmons and her teammates put on their most convincing performance of the season taking out the final over State of Origin rivals the NSW Swifts 55-44 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
In front of a 5200-strong crowd including basketball royalty Leroy Loggins, the Queenslanders added yet another trophy to their cabinet crowned the inaugural Australian Conference champions and extending their winning streak to 11 matches.
Only one win stands in the way of a third consecutive grand final appearance for the Firebirds and the chance to take home a second ANZ Championship trophy with captain Laura Geitz saying her team is peaking at the right time.
"I think it is just a team not putting too much pressure on ourselves and there is a great energy amongst the girls," Geitz said.
She said the Swifts came out of the blocks really fast and caught the Firebirds by surprise holding a three-goal lead at the end of the first quarter.
"They came out firing and it took us awhile to adjust but just really happy of the maturity of the girls," Geitz said.
The Firebirds were ruthless on a tired looking Swifts outfit pushing the lead out to eight-goals early in the final quarter shutting out their NSW rivals.
Heading into a home semi-final Geitz said the Firebirds are ready to take on whoever turns up next Sunday.
"We want to be playing the best opposition we can next week and then hopefully set ourselves up for a home grand final."