The Lightning has had the better of their state rivals the Firebirds. Picture: Getty Images
The Lightning has had the better of their state rivals the Firebirds. Picture: Getty Images

Firebirds determined to get better of Lightning

FIREBIRDS captain Gabi Simpson has had enough of her team playing second fiddle to state rivals Sunshine Coast Lightning.

It's why Simpson is placing plenty of importance on the Firebirds' two regular season clashes against the Super Netball champions next year.

The 2019 competition draw has been released, with the Queensland rivals meeting in a May 12, Round 3 clash at a yet-to-be-determined venue, and again on July 27 in a Round 10 battle to be played at the Firebirds' new home, the ­Brisbane Arena.

The May 12 match is a Lightning home game, but their University of Sunshine Coast court will not be available because of the venue being redeveloped.

Lightning officials are yet to confirm where the match will be played, with the Brisbane Entertainment Centre at Boondall among the potential locations.

Karla Pretorius (left) of the Sunshine Coast Lightning and Queensland Firebirds’ Gabi Simpson are ready for battle. Picture: AAP
Karla Pretorius (left) of the Sunshine Coast Lightning and Queensland Firebirds’ Gabi Simpson are ready for battle. Picture: AAP

Regardless of the venue, Simpson wants to fire an early-season shot at the Lightning, who are aiming for a hat-trick of titles next year.

"There's no doubt they've had the better of us for the past two years and it's very frustrating to say the least," Simpson said.

"A great rivalry is growing between the teams.

"We're building up and we can't wait to play them again."

Simpson said the Firebirds' move to the new 5000-capacity Brisbane Arena at Nathan would inspire her team.

"It'll be an atmosphere that we've never experienced,'' she said.

"The seats are very steep and it's going to become our cauldron.''

The Firebirds' first game at the Brisbane Arena is on May 4 against the Magpies.

A week earlier they will open their campaign with an April 27 clash against the Vixens in Melbourne.

Lightning players celebrate their 2018 success and will be aiming for a hat-trick of titles this season. Picture: Getty Images
Lightning players celebrate their 2018 success and will be aiming for a hat-trick of titles this season. Picture: Getty Images

The Lightning will not be back at their revamped USC home until their Round 5 clash against the Giants on May 25.

The stadium's capacity will grow from 2000 to 3000 as part of the development.

Adding spice to the Lightning-Giants battle will be the return of star goal shooter Caitlin Bassett.

The Diamonds great was instrumental in helping the Lightning to back-to-back championships before defecting to the Giants.

Bassett's former team will open the defence of its title on April 27 in Melbourne against the Magpies before heading to Perth for a grand final rematch with the Fever on May 5.

The 2019 season will break for a four-week period in June-July for the World Cup in the northern English city of Liverpool .

The finals will start on August 31, with the grand final to be played on September 15.

Firebirds 2019 draw

Sat, April 27 v Vixens, Melbourne Arena, 3pm

Sat, May 4 v Magpies, Brisbane Arena, 3pm

Sun, May 12 v Lightning, TBC, 1pm

Sun, May 19 v Giants, Brisbane Arena, 1pm

Sun, May 26 v Thunderbirds, Priceline Stadium, 3pm

Sat, Jun 1 v Fever, Brisbane Arena, 7pm

Sun, Jun 9 v Swifts, Brisbane Arena, 1pm

Sun, Jun 16 v Vixens, Brisbane Arena, 1pm

Sun, Jun 23 v Magpies, Melbourne Arena, 3pm

Sat, Jul 27 v Lightning, Brisbane Arena, 3pm

Sun, Aug 4 v Giants, AIS Canberra, 1pm

Sun, Aug 11 v Thunderbirds, Brisbane Arena, 1pm

Sun, Aug 17 v Fever, RAC Arena (TBC), 8pm

Sat, Aug 24 v Swifts, Qudos Bank Arena, 5pm

Lightning's 2019 draw

Sat, April 27 v Magpies, Melbourne Arena, 5.30pm

Sun, May 5 v Fever, RAC Arena, 1pm

Sun, May 12 v Firebirds, TBC, 1pm

Sat, May 18 v Swifts, QuayCentre, 3pm

Sat, May 25 v Giants, USC, 7pm

Sat, Jun 1 v Vixens, USC, 3pm

Sat, Jun 8 v Thunderbirds, TBC, 3pm

Sat, Jun 15 v Magpies, USC, 3pm

Sat, Jun 22 v Fever, USC, 3pm

Sat, Jul 27 v Firebirds, Brisbane Arena, 3pm

Sat, Aug 3 v Swifts, USC, 7pm

Sat, Aug 10 v Giants, QuayCentre, 3pm

Sun, Aug 18 v Vixens, Melbourne Arena, 3pm

Sat, Aug 24 v Thunderbirds, USC, 7pm

News Corp Australia


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