Firebirds happy to 'fly under the radar'
NETBALL: Queensland Firebirds wing attack Caitlyn Nevins has heaped the pressure on new rival Collingwood ahead of the 2017 Super Netball season.
The former Melbourne player spurned advances to join the fledgling Magpies in the new-look competition, which starts in February, before deciding to stick with the reigning champions.
The cashed-up Collingwood outfit, with backing from its AFL namesake, will still include current Diamonds representatives April Brandley, Ash Brazill, Sharni Layton, Kim Ravaillion, Madison Robinson and Caitlin Thwaites.
"They are definitely a really strong team on paper,” Nevins said. "They will definitely be frontrunners of the competition.
"But they are starting from scratch in terms of culture, game plan and that type of thing.
"We are happy for them to take the limelight. I am also happy for the Firebirds to fly under the radar.
"But I have full confidence in our team that we can get the job done.”
Nevins is one of four candidates to replace Laura Geitz as Firebirds captain, along with Gabi Simpson, Romelda Aiken and Laura Clemesha.
Geitz (pregnant) and deputy Clare McMeniman (retired) have both departed after winning the last ANZ Championship.
"Laura and Clare were phenomenal leaders of our club for a number of years, developing an amazing culture,” Nevins said.
"The next leaders will hope to continue to grow it. But we are ready to step up and take the reins.”
The Firebirds, meanwhile, have signed a new major sponsor in Lorna Jane after Coffee Club pulled out last month, just one year into a three-year deal.
Netball Queensland chief executive Catherine Clark said she was delighted with the deal. Lorna Jane will be on board for three years with the option of two more.
"This is a game-changing partnership. Our shared passion for empowering women will only strengthen both organisations,” Clark said.
"We look forward to a successful partnership, fostering growth at the grassroots and success for our Firebirds as they embark on their inaugural journey in the new Suncorp Super Netball competition.”