JACINTA Messer has put her love of baking on hold while she does her best to help the Queensland Firebirds produce a premiership-winning recipe in the trans-Tasman Championship.
Making banana bread and her favourite chocolate cake is off the menu while the 26-year-old focuses on maintaining the Queenslanders' bid to win the title for only the second time since the competition started in 2008.
Messer, who can play goal keeper or goal defence, has featured in all but one of the Firebirds 10 games this campaign in what is just her second year at the top level.
And she cannot wait to chalk up another appearance for the third-placed Queenslanders in the clash with the second-placed Melbourne Vixens in Brisbane tomorrow.
Messer and her teammates beat the Vixens 57-46 on their home court a couple of weeks ago - she would love to complete the double, but she wouldn't be celebrating with some of her favourite cake.
"I love nothing better than having a slice or two of homemade cake. Well, you can burn plenty of calories playing netball, or training," she said with a laugh.
"But during the season, I just don't get much time in the kitchen as I would like because I also work full-time as well.
"You could say that winning the title would make up for it, and would truly be the icing on the cake."
The Brisbane-born Messer, one of only three Queenslanders in the Firebirds line-up, said she expected tomorrow's clash to be another bruising encounter.
"The competition is certainly a lot more physical nowadays, but there is nothing wrong with putting your body on the line," she said.
"We don't back down, and never will. As they say, 'If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen'."
And as for playing netball as a career, Messer said she had been running, or toddling in her early days, around a court for as long as she could remember.
"Mum used to play, so I was always there watching and throwing a ball around," she said.
"When I started playing, my dad was my first coach. I remember those days well because he was hard on me ...I never seemed to get a Chupa Chup lollipop like the other players did."
Tomorrow: Firebirds vs Vixens, Swifts vs Thunderbirds, Magic vs Steel
Monday: Tactix vs Pulse
Bye: Fever, Mystics
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