Firebirds shock top-placed Vixens in Super Netball boilover

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Minor premiers Melbourne Vixens have experienced a stumble in Super Netball’s penultimate round, going down 64-58 in an upset loss to Queensland Firebirds in Cairns.

The Firebirds, last season’s wooden spooners, earned their third win from their past four matches in the Indigenous Round fixture, while handing the Vixens just their second loss of the season.

Firebirds goal shooter Romelda Aiken finished with 45 goals but the victory was built on the defensive efforts of Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner, along with Gabi Simpson’s leadership from wing defence.

“I guess it’s been building all season, it’s great that we can finally get out here and we’re all really connected and doing our own job,” Jenner said.

With the minor premiership firmly in their keeping, the Vixens allowed Liz Watson to sit out for a second-straight match with an ankle complaint, while Caitlin Thwaites started the match on the bench.

Thwaites came into the contest after the Firebirds led 18-12 at quarter-time and swung momentum to the Vixens with a barrage of super shots to cut Queensland’s lead to two points approaching half-time.

A late two-pointer from Tippah Dwan handed the Firebirds a 35-31 advantage at half-time but the Vixens answered with six of the first seven goals of the third term to take the lead.

The Firebirds then steadied to edge ahead 48-44 at three-quarter time then opened the fourth term with five goals in a row to complete the upset win.

They finish their season against Collingwood Magpies in Brisbane on Saturday, while the Vixens face the Lightning on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday in a clash that will determine second spot on the ladder.

The Lightning are holding down second but are only two points ahead of the Fever, who conclude their regular season against Adelaide Thunderbirds in Brisbane on Saturday.

The Fever will secure second spot if they beat the Thunderbirds, and the Lightning lose to the Vixens.

NSW Swifts round out the top four.

AAP/ABC

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