The Queensland Firebirds left the vertically challenged Adelaide Thunderbirds in their wake with an impressive 23-point victory in the trans-Tasman netball championship clash at the Brisbane Convention Centre on Saturday.
The 64-41 triumph makes it two wins from as many games this season for the Firebirds and leaves the Thunderbirds with a worrying 1-3 slate.
Towering 196cm Firebirds goal shooter Romelda Aiken was too much for Thunderbird goalkeeper Sharni Layton to handle and she finished with 50 from 54 attempts.
Firebirds goal attack Natalie Medhurst was the perfect foil to Aiken landing 13 of her 18 attempts while controlling plenty of traffic heading into the shooting circle.
With Medhurst pushing up court and being tailed by Kara Richards, it left Layton, who was conceding nine centimetres to the Jamaican import, to fight an unwinnable battle in the air.
With the ball being continually fed over the top of Layton’s outstretched fingers, Aiken was able to take the majority of her shots from under the basket.
On the rare occasion when Aiken took a shot from a couple of metres out, she was far from confident and even threw an air ball, but those occasions were far too few for the Thunderbirds liking.
Richard’s persistent harassment of Medhurst was good theatre but did little to stop the flow of play or supply into the circle where Aiken awaited.
In the dying minutes Richards took up guard on Aiken and actually troubled the Jamaican but it was all too late.
The Firebirds broke the game open late in the first quarter when they went on a 7-1 run to head to the first break leading 16-9.
At half time, following a 10-2 run in the second quarter, the result was a forgone conclusion with the 34-18 scoreline embarrassing for the visitors.
Not only were the Thunderbirds battling height problems in defence, they also had their concerns in attack.
Despite the official program stating Thunderbirds goal shooter Carla Borrego stands at 193cm, it was clearly visible she had no height advantage over the Firebirds defensive pair of Amy Steel and Laura Geitz.
Goalkeeper Geitz thrived on the challenge of guarding Borrego although exuberance cost her the odd foul, while goal-defence Steel saw off Erin Bell who was replaced by Bianca Giteau at half time.