Bluebirds trounce Frenchville
THE consistency of Renee Spence proved the difference as she netted 36 goals to secure Bluebirds Hawks 50-40 victory against Frenchville on Wednesday night.
Touted as one of the 2015 season improvers after finishing outside the top four in 2014, the Hawks toppled the Vipers on the back of a stunning fourth-quarter burst at the CQUniversity complex.
Little could separate the two sides in the opening quarter, but it was the Hawks who went to the first break ahead 11-10.
The arm wrestle continued in the second term, but sustained pressure from the Vixens began to force errors from the Hawks, translating to an even 13 goals.
The injection of Hawks' Tia Konui to goalkeeper prevented the scoreboard ticking over for the Vixens, with Bluebirds firming their lead 33-32.
But some late turnovers from defensive trio of Jen Williams, Abbey Bucholz and Kaitlyn Black allowed the Hawks to extend their lead by nine at the final buzzer.
"We needed to do something to break their attacking moves, so we muscled down and worked hard to convert our turn overs," Bluebirds coach Barb Ahmat said.
"Our plan was to build more pressure on their GS to make her run and stop the feed into their goal attack."
Ahmat said the Hawks had put themselves in the best position to steal the win despite repeated defensive lapses to open their account.
"We need to tighten up our full court defence, that was what was lacking in the first few quarters," she said.
"Their shooting end was the strongest and we really weren't doing enough in the rest of the court to stop the ball getting into their circle."
The former Capricorn Claws coach praised her side's stability in attack, with special mention of player-of-the-match Konui and Spence.
"Tia had good elevation and reaction for rebounding and proved her class at both ends of the court," Ahmat said.
"Renee was shooting beautifully and I was confident once we passed the ball into the circle we were going to get the shot."
The Hawks faced an early season injury crisis with the loss of experienced defender Danielle Wingard (shoulder) and Sharni Upton (knee) in the mid-court.
"We started quite well, but we had a couple of key injuries which ripped a bit of experience from the side," Ahmat said.
"Julie Brydon is still on restricted duties after coming back from having a baby, but this side has heaps of potential and will only continue to improve."
Bluebirds come up against a second-placed Cap Coast Marlins next Wednesday night in Week 11 of the Rockhampton Leagues Club Senior A competition.
Brothers Fuchsia 53 def RGS Magic 30
Bluebirds Hawks 50 def Frenchville Vipers 40
Cap Coast Marlins 58 def Bluebirds Eagles 38
Brothers Crimson 74 def Colts Divas 39
Frenchville Brumbies 74 def Angels Titans 32