Nevins’ Nana puts heat on Firebirds
The Victorian-based grandmother of Firebirds midcourter Caitlyn Nevins has started some mind games on behalf of the Melbourne Vixens ahead of this Saturday's Suncorp Super Netball season opener.
But the Queensland vice-captain - who won a grand final with the Vixens in 2014 - is confident the Firebirds are mentally and physically ready for the Round 1 showdown at Melbourne Arena.
The Vixens smashed the Firebirds by 21 goals at the Suncorp TeamGirls Cup pre-season tournament in Brisbane at the start of March at the new Queensland State Netball Centre.
The heavy loss sparked a change in attitude at Firebirds training that has Queensland primed for the blockbuster double-header in Melbourne that also features Collingwood taking on defending champion Sunshine Coast.
But Nevins' Geelong-based 'Nan' Audrey Morrow, who lives across the street from the mother of Vixens coach Simone McKinnis, is not so convinced.
"Nan follows the netball very closely and she still has a soft spot for the Vixens. She told me on the weekend that we have a 'really, really tough first match' and she is really concerned for me … she was trying to psyche me out,'' Nevins laughed.
"We learned a lot from that match against the Vixens though. We know that if we are off our game, they'll punish us.
"And because of that substantial loss, we have changed our training intensity and our purpose. The last month has been really high quality, quite exceptional actually, so we are in a good place as a team and we believe we can get the job done on the weekend.
"The loss to them is a good reminder that it just won't happen for us. We have to really work hard for the whole game to be able to get that win.''
The Firebirds launched their 2019 campaign at the Brisbane Powerhouse on Tuesday night and Nevins said capitalising on rare Vixens turnovers would be crucial on Saturday.
"They are quite methodical, have really good connections and are very structured so if we can interrupt their flow, it gives us the best chance of beating them," she said.
"Our defenders need to disrupt their patterns and then we just have to keep the scoreboard pressure ticking over. They are very stingy and don't waste too much ball so any opportunity we get, we need to make sure our turnover conversion is exceptional.''