Key player loss forces Ipswich reshuffle
THE Ipswich Flyers have farewelled one of their most consistent players after keeping their nearest Queensland Premier League challenger in check.
Kirsty Brennan withdrew from Ipswich's second-placed SEQ Cup team as the Flyers accounted for Pine Rivers 79-39 in their latest game.
Flyers coach Nicole Grant was sad to see such a talented player step down.
"Kirsty was having an incredible season, shooting at 100% most games,'' Grant said.
"Her confidence was inspiring to watch and the team lifted by her presence on court.
"Kirsty is one of the youngest in the Flyers team and has so much potential should she continue her netball career next year.''
Preparing for Thursday night's latest game against QUT, Grant said proven performer Chloe Roberts will play a more important role.
Roberts has been involved in Ipswich netball for many years playing representative, State League and for the Flyers. She was recently picked in the Queensland Heat women's indoor team.
"Chloe came to us as a training partner this season providing us with extra depth in the goal circle,'' Grant said.
"Given all of our injuries this season, we have been so very fortunate to have Chloe in our team.
"Chloe has already qualified for finals and will now become a permanent member in our team each week.
"This is very exciting for the Flyers as we have incredible depth and versatility and provides countless options for me as a coach.''
Appreciative of what Brennan did for the team, Grant has also brought Selena Hirsch into a more permanent role.
"This team has had so many changes this year and despite the changes have come in leaps and bounds,'' Grant said.
The Ipswich coach said Pine Rivers were no easybeats in their previous clash.
"Thursday night's win was incredible to watch,'' Grant said.
"It wasn't a walk in the park despite the scoreline. It's just how well the Flyers are improving.
"The girls are putting into action what we are working on at our training sessions and taking away many learnings from each game.''
Grant said setting up a four-point break over Pine Rivers was an important result in Ipswich's quest to join Goodna Sapphires in this year's QPL finals.
"We knew Pine would be trying to secure a finals' spot and that we would have to work hard for the entire game,'' she said.
"We have been struggling with injuries all season so to end up with a scoreline like we did, it was very pleasing to see.''
Grant was most impressed with Flyers' level of intensity.
"It was Selena Hirsch's first game with us as a permanent replacement player. She slotted into the team seamlessly,'' Grant said.
"Tara Bramwell continues to impress with her consistency and strength. She can control the game and settle the team when it's required.
"Skye Sippel's defensive pressure continues to rattle her opponents and she provides a strong link to the attack end.''
The Flyers were without Tahlia Vandenberg (knee injury) in the Pine Rivers match. She returned to training this week.
"Mooch (Melissa Beutel) is recovering from a long-term foot injury. However she was still able to play a half game against Pine and dominated the defence circle.''
State of play
QPL SEQ Cup Rd 10: Thursday - Pool A: 7.50pm - Ipswich Flyers v QUT; Goodna Sapphires v Pine Rivers. Pool B: 6.30pm - Ipswich Vipers v Western Districts.
Rd 9 results: Ipswich Flyers def Pine Rivers 79-39, Goodna Sapphires def Redlands 82-40, Caboolture def Ipswich Vipers 58-49.