Firebirds feeling disappointment after missing finals
INSPIRATIONAL captain Gabi Simpson says there is a feeling of "loss'' and "disappointment'' in the Firebirds camp after they were eliminated from finals contention for the first time since 2012.
Collingwood's unconvincing win over West Coast late on Saturday night ended any mathematical chance of the Firebirds squeezing into the Suncorp Super Netball top four.
Queensland made the last four ANZ Championship trans-Tasman deciders, winning the 2015 and 2016 titles to create netball history and stamp the Firebirds as one of the state's great sporting dynasties.
But the rollercoaster 2017 campaign had more lows than highs with the new-look Firebirds claiming six wins and a draw in 13 outings with Friday's Round 14 clash with archrival NSW Swifts in Sydney to wind up their season.
The impressive victory over finals-bound GWS on Friday night showed what Queensland is capable of at their best with Simpson the star of the show in the Firebirds' first win over a top-four side this year.
Simpson is in her fifth season at the Firebirds and will miss the finals for the first time in her glittering top-level career.
She said the brutal reality that finals were now out of the question was sinking in.
"It's an interesting feeling at the moment. We are definitely disappointed that we won't be in finals,'' Simpson said.
"Knowing there was a 1 per cent glimmer of hope that past couple of weeks has been quite nice but after the (Collingwood) game there was almost a feeling of loss.
"It's tough but where we are sitting now has not been through a lack of effort.
"There's been a lot of soul-searching and a lot of work individually and as a team.
"We've done everything we can but it's still disappointing.''
Simpson said the 56-53 win over the one-time league-leading Giants was encouraging for the Firebirds heading into 2018.
"The beauty of it is that everything we have worked on this year came together which is so rewarding and so exciting for the future,'' the Diamonds wing defence said.
"It has been frustrating but the vibe in the group is really positive after the win which is so important going into next season.
"The hard work is coming to something now so hopefully we can start at that level and go on from there. We have the evidence that what we are doing is working.''