Laura Geitz celebrates with Firebirds team mates after winning the grand final match of the 2016 ANZ Championship
Laura Geitz celebrates with Firebirds team mates after winning the grand final match of the 2016 ANZ Championship Glenn Hunt

Geitz 'missed being part of the Firebirds family'

Australian great Laura Geitz has confirmed she will return to action next Super Netball season for the Queensland Firebirds.

Geitz captained the club to three championships and five grand final appearances across a glittering career in the former ANZ Championship, before taking time out of the game following 2016's premiership to become a mother for the first time.

The 29-year-old is the final addition to the Firebirds' 2018 roster following June's squad announcement.

Geitz said she was as motivated as ever to pull on the purple dress and chase further success with her beloved Firebirds.

 

Former Australian and Firebirds Netball captain Laura Geitz poses with her husband Mark Gilbride and son Barney next to a bronze statue in her image after its unveiling outside the Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Former Australian and Firebirds Netball captain Laura Geitz poses with her husband Mark Gilbride and son Barney next to a bronze statue in her image after its unveiling outside the Brisbane Entertainment Centre DAN PELED

"I'm forever in debt to the game. This is a comeback for the community of netball," Geitz said.

"I missed being part of the Firebirds family and the wider community of the sport. I feel very lucky to have experienced what I have throughout my career.

"You ask yourself whether every box is ticked, but I've laid down a challenge to myself.

"I want to come back and aim to be as good as I was when I exited the sport, if not better. I look at the likes of (Sunshine Coast Lightning pair) Geva Mentor, who has had an outstanding season, (and) Bec Bulley who is 35 - it's the challenge that excites me."

Geitz said plans of a comeback first crossed her mind when she settled into her seats for the Firebirds' opening Super Netball clash with Lightning.

 

Romelda Aiken  and Laura Geitz hold the championship trophy after winning the grand final match of the 2016 ANZ Championship
Romelda Aiken and Laura Geitz hold the championship trophy after winning the grand final match of the 2016 ANZ Championship Glenn Hunt

"I remember walking in with Clare (McMeniman) and my Mum before round one, heading down to our seats courtside and seeing Diddy (Romelda Aiken) warming up," she said.

"I just started crying. I blamed it on the hormones of being pregnant, but it was so surreal.

"My little family was out there and I wasn't there with them. It was at that time I thought maybe I'm not done yet and if I'm feeling this way then maybe I haven't exhausted all of my love for the game."

Geitz praised the league's ground-breaking collective bargaining agreement for allowing her to get back on court and balance motherhood with her passion for the game.

"I have the opportunity to do what I love and have Barney come along for the ride," she said.

"Even though he's too young to understand, when he gets older it's important to me for him to know his mother had goals and aspirations of her own and I was driven to have another crack."

 

Geitz in action during her last match for the Firebirds.
Geitz in action during her last match for the Firebirds. Glenn Hunt

Though her focus is on getting back out on court with Queensland, Geitz said she couldn't rule out a Commonwealth Games tilt with the Australian Diamonds.

"I've got a lot to prove to be in that team. My last game of netball was more than 12 months ago and there's a lot of youngsters that have come through the ranks. Clearly the team is in a very good position," she said.

"I just need to get out on court and prove to them I'm deserving of a spot. I'm contracted with the Firebirds, training will commence and it's just a matter of how I'm tracking."

Netball Queensland General Manager High Performance Richard McInnes said Laura's inclusion in the squad was not only a huge boost for the Firebirds, but the sport of netball at large.

"Quite simply, Laura is a legend of Australian netball and we are delighted to welcome her back to the club that she has played such a significant role in developing," McInnes said.

"We're really looking forward to having her experience on the court as well as the leadership support she will provide to emerging leaders like Gabi Simpson and Caitlyn Nevins. She'll also have a hugely positive impact on our young defenders Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner, who have incredible potential.

"Most importantly, Laura's is one of those people who is able to inspire others around her and we are excited to see where she can help take the club next season. She's an outstanding ambassador for the sport and we can't wait to see her back on court next year."

News Corp Australia


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