The Collingwood Magpies will head up to Brisbane to battle the Queensland Firebirds on Sunday, off the back of a much-needed eight day break.
It is safe to say the Magpies are coming off a monster week of bad luck, with COVID-19 health and safety protocols hitting the club hard across rounds 4 and 5.
The side will be looking to return to some normalcy against the Firebirds, however limited preparation for returning players could be just another nail in the coffin.
Coming into the second away game of a string of four, the Pies will want to pile on the pressure in Queensland this week to put themselves in good stead for the next few rounds.
The Pies will come into this clash with nothing to lose and everything to gain, and with the hope that some of their isolating teammates make a return to the court following an interrupted week.
Coming off Round 5:
Unfortunately, it was a depleted-looking Collingwood side that ran out in Sydney on Sunday night, missing four players from the 10.
Missing co-captain Geva Mentor as well as key figures in Sophie Garbin, Molly Jovic and Gabby Sinclair, the side was unable to steal away a win from the hungry GIANTS, who had a fire in the belly and plenty to prove after being rocked by their own COVID-19 issues over the opening rounds.
Shimona Nelson had another stellar outing though, standing tall in the absence of Garbin and Sinclair as she piled on 48 goals at 94 percent.
Kelsey Browne picked up three intercepts to go with her team-high 19 goal assists, while Ash Brazill worked in overdrive in transition, and both Jacqui Newton and Nyah Allen stood tall at either end.
Collingwood training partner Zoe Davies and Melbourne Vixens training partner Gabby Coffey also made their Super Netball debuts throughout the clash.
An eye on the opposition:
The Firebirds have been building over the past few seasons, and are looking dangerous at the moment sitting third on the ladder with only losses to the top two blemishing their record.
Their three wins have also been fairly comprehensive, with a 10-goal win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds on the weekend giving them plenty of confidence on home turf again this weekend.
It is the Firebirds' two-pronged attack that makes them such a powerhouse, with the combination of Gretel Bueta and Donnell Wallam sharing the load well, making them hard to stop.
Defensively, Eboni Usoro-Brown and Ruby Bakewell-Doran both picked up five gains on the weekend, while former captain Gabi Simpson wreaked havoc in wing defence.
Kim Ravaillion and Lara Dunkley combined for 42 goal assists, while both Dunkley and Bueta registered two intercepts apiece.
Last time we met:
The Firebirds are another team that the Pies played during the Team Girls Cup, giving some insight into this week's clash.
The match in question was a two-goal loss to the Firebirds, with both Jodi-Ann Ward and Geva Mentor missing in action on the final day.
Newton racked up three intercepts down back, while Nelson (33 goals), Sinclair (eight goals) and Garbin (seven goals) shot at a combined 90 percent.
The two sides' last in-season clash came back in Round 13, 2021, with the Pies stealing away a 66-59 victory at Nissan Arena off the back of a stellar opening quarter.
Nelson and Sinclair impressed, missing just seven goals between them, while Ward and Mentor's influence kept the Firebirds to a 74 percent shooting accuracy.