Qld netball derby promises plenty of spice

Murray Wenzel

Queensland Firebirds captain Gabi Simpson has rejected accusations of disrespect but admits the rivalry is alive and simmering for the Super Netball semi-final against the Sunshine Coast.

Simpson's side will host the defending champions in what promises to be a spicy elimination derby in Brisbane on Sunday.

Lightning captain Geva Mentor lit a fuse when she accused the Firebirds of disrespect earlier this week, claiming they were undermining the presence of Queensland's other Super Netball team.

But Simpson, who's among a host of Australian Diamonds representatives scattered between the sides, says there's nothing more than healthy competition between the title hopefuls.

"Great mates off the court, amazing humans, but once we step across that line it's on," Simpson said.

"It's not only Queensland pride (on the line). We want to be the best team in Australia."

English import Mentor didn't miss in her criticism early in the week, telling News Corp Australia they felt disrespected by the Firebirds despite winning the inaugural Super Netball title last year.

Mentor said she felt the Brisbane-based side acted as if they were a one-state team and referred to the club's occasional use of the social media hashtag "I am Queensland".

"They're a team that don't recognise us within their own state, a state we share," she said.

"It adds a bit of spice for us ... I find it quite rude that they don't respect us within their own state."

But Simpson said that was far from the case.

"We have a lot of respect for Lightning. They've come from scratch last year, built themselves up and won a premiership," she said.

"They've got a Super Netball trophy, we don't ... they are probably one up on us at the moment."

Lightning defender Karla Pretorius, named player of the match in last year's grand final, said the war of words would count for little at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Sunday.

"We respect them and I know they respect us, but the ultimate thing that matters is what happens on Sunday," the South African said.