Aiken to miss first game since 2008
SUPERSTAR Firebirds shooter Romelda Aiken will miss her first ever game for Queensland after withdrawing from Saturday night's Suncorp Super Netball clash with Adelaide.
A minor knee niggle suffered against the Melbourne Vixens last Saturday night will keep the three-time MVP and three-time championship winner sidelined for the first time since she made her Firebirds debut in 2008.
Aiken has played 136 straight matches for the Firebirds, who will call in training squad member Alexia Baker to fill the giant void left by the Jamaican's absence.
Aiken was the leading goalshooter in the history of the ANZ Championship with 858 goals - 256 clear of her nearest rival Caitlin Bassett - and has been the focal point again this season.
Aiken's withdrawal will rock the Firebirds, who have had an indifferent start to the 2017 season with two wins, two losses and a draw from five outings.
Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke said Aiken's absence would test Queensland's "strength of character".
"It's a really good opportunity to step up and be able to do the job without a really important player," Jencke said.
Jencke said Aiken has a strained knee capsule and would have played if it was a final.
"It's about her long-term health and fitness," she said.
"I've always believed that you don't play anybody unless they are 100% unless you're playing a grand final so we are erring on the side of caution with Romelda."
Gretel Tippett and Abigail Latu-Meafou will start at the attacking end for the Firebirds.