Star shooter to return for Queensland derby
THE Queensland Firebirds will welcome back superstar shooter Romelda Aiken for this Sunday's Suncorp Super Netball derby against the Sunshine Coast.
But the reigning champions will be without the services of savvy South African centre Erin Burger for the sold-out showdown with the Lightning at USC Stadium.
Aiken missed the scrappy 49-39 win over Adelaide on Saturday night due to a minor knee injury but successfully completed a running session to allay any fears over her fitness.
Netball Queensland High Performance boss Richard McInnes said Aiken would be ready to go.
"Romelda will be fine. Absolutely. There was no structural damage so sitting her out was more preventive,'' he said.
"Rather than putting her out there at 80 per cent and running the risk of inflaming it and making it worse, it was an opportunity to get it right with a couple of big games coming up.
"We have got the Lightning then the Giants coming up so we wanted to make sure she was fine for those.''
Burger was originally going to miss two games due to family and business commitments back in South Africa.
The trip home was part of her contract with the Firebirds when she signed as a replacement for the injured Mahalia Cassidy.
She has a netball coaching business in South Africa and will be attending a wedding.
"We knew this was going to happen from day dot,'' McInnes said.
"Erin has managed to juggle things so she only has to miss one game instead of the original two and she'll be back before the Giants (on April 8 on the Gold Coast).''
Meanwhile, the Lightning are set to be bolstered by the inclusion of centre Laura Langman for the return bout with the Firebirds after the teams fought out a draw in Round 1 at Boondall.
Langman travelled to Perth, warmed up and sat on the bench for the Sunshine Coast but was not used in the 66-49 win over the West Coast Fever on Friday night.
Langman dislocated her left index finger the week before and she was not risked as the Lightning bolted to a commanding 15-goal lead at halftime with shooters Caitlin Bassett (43/45) and Steph Wood (23/25) leading the rout.
The Firebirds were impressive against the Thunderbirds in the first half when they raced to a 30-18 lead but took the foot off the pedal after the main break.