Firebirds duo set to leave the nest
THE Firebirds are set to announce the retirements of championship-winning duo Caitlyn Nevins and Laura Clemesha as Queensland start rejuvenating their roster ahead of the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season.
Nevins and Clemesha were part of the Firebirds sides that won the thrilling 2015 and 2016 ANZ Championship grand finals and will play their final home game in front of the purple army when Queensland host Adelaide at the QSNC on Sunday.
Neither will get a fairytale farewell to the top level of the game with another grand final victory with the winless Firebirds languishing at the bottom of the ladder after an injury ravaged year.
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But the horror 2019 campaign does not diminish their invaluable contributions to the Firebirds on and off the court.
Nevins, 32, arrived at the Firebirds before the 2015 season after being part of the Melbourne Vixens squad that beat Queensland in the 2014 grand final.
She was the starting wing attack in the 2015 decider for the Firebirds, forming part of Queensland's dynamic mid-court engine room with centre Kim Ravaillion and wing defence Gabi Simpson.
Her slick passing game and quality feeds into the shooting duo of Romelda Aiken and Gretel Tippett got the attention of national selectors and Nevins - who has played 76 career national league games - would go on to earn five Test caps with the Diamonds.
Nevins has also served as Firebirds vice-captain behind Simpson for the past three seasons.
The Toowoomba-born Clemesha made her national league debut in 2013 and returned to the Firebirds line-up in 2015.
The goalkeeper spent her early years stuck behind the likes of Laura Geitz, Clare McMeniman and Rebecca Bulley, and was the anchor of the Queensland defence when they departed.
The 27-year-old has 29 national league games to her name and has been an integral part of building and maintaining the club's famed culture.
Meanwhile, South African centre Erin Burger has returned home for family reasons and will play no further part in Queensland's season.