Firebirds topple Giants in Super Netball
Firebirds topple Giants in Super Netball

The Giants' hopes of claiming the inaugural Super Netball minor premiership have been dealt a severe blow after the Queensland Firebirds inflicted a 56-53 defeat on the competition leaders at Sydney Olympic Park.

Firebirds captain Gabi Simpson was the architect of the upset win, heading the Queensland side's dominance in midcourt, while Romelda Aiken and Gretel Tippett provided headaches all game for the Giants defenders.

Friday night's win keeps the Firebirds' slim finals hopes alive, though they need to beat the NSW Swifts in the final round next week and hope that fourth-placed Collingwood fail to secure another competition point.

Meanwhile, the Giants loss could result in them dropping to third if the Sunshine Coast Lightning and the Melbourne Vixens win their respective games this weekend.

The Firebirds set the scene with an intense first half, playing up-tempo netball, utilising their height in attack and stifling the Giants' midcourt combinations.

The visitors led 17-15 at quarter time and scooted to a nine-goal advantage in the second term, before ending the half 31-24 ahead.

Positional changes by Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald shortly before halftime started to pay dividends after the break, but the Firebirds provided stern resistance to ensure they would end the third quarter leading by six goals.

Fitzgerald introduced Kristina Brice at goal shooter for the final period, brought Susan Pettitt into wing attack to try and orchestrate a comeback.

It nearly worked as the hosts closed to within two inside the final two minutes.

"Very disappointing," Fitzgerald said.

"We let it get away from us in the second quarter and, with a shooter like Romelda at the back, you can't give them a lead like that.

"We probably won enough ball back to win the match. We just wasted opportunities when we got them.

"When you look at the positions on the ladder, tonight wasn't a good time to lose.

"But I do think the fact that we've been so good at coming from behind and winning, it is a lesson that you can't rely on that all the time."

Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke called it her side's best showing of the season.

"We've had a lot of interruptions throughout the season," she said.

"But tonight you saw the cohesiveness, the confidence and the understanding.

"They've just grown and grown. They played really smart netball tonight."

AAP

More from 7Sport