Optimistic Simpson hides World Cup pain

The netball community has rallied around Queensland Firebird Gabi Simpson in the wake of her dumping from the national team.

GABI SIMPSON of Australia passes the ball during the Netball Preliminary round match between Fiji and Australia of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast Convention Centre in the Gold Coast, Australia.
GABI SIMPSON of Australia passes the ball during the Netball Preliminary round match between Fiji and Australia of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast Convention Centre in the Gold Coast, Australia. Picture: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Heartbroken Queensland Firebirds captain Gabi Simpson has thanked the netball family for their support after her controversial omission from Australia's World Cup team.

Simpson dodged a second crushing blow for the week when her injury-ravaged team salvaged a 62-62 Suncorp Super Netball draw with West Coast Fever on Saturday at the Queensland State Netball Centre.

The skipper buried herself in her work, with most of her six gains coming at crucial moments to all but haul the home side to a gutsy triumph.

Beneath the performance though was the pain of missing next month's World Cup in Liverpool after Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander opted to select in-form Giant Jamie-Lee Price as the wing defence and back-up centre.

"I'm hurting. But it was so amazing to be in front of a phenomenal Queensland crowd," she said.

"They are the heart and soul of this club. I'm so proud to come out in this dress and represent them."

Simpson's former Australian and Firebirds teammate Clare Ferguson was one of many friends and colleagues to offer support.

Ferguson was equally gutted to be overlooked for the 2015 World Cup. The lesson that may soften the blow for Simpson was that Ferguson not only fought back into the team the following year but was promoted to the captaincy.

"I've spoken to Clare. I've spoken to a lot of people," Simpson said.

"At the end of the day, 12 amazing girls have been selected for that team and people are always going to miss out.

"What has been amazing is seeing the support networks come out, people who drop everything to make sure you're OK.

"That's sport. You throw yourself all-in and there's some amazing highs and some amazing lows."

Fever captain Courtney Bruce insisted the draw would not ruin her side's slim finals hopes. West Coast are seven points outside the top four and need to set off on a long winning sequence to catch the leaders.

Queensland are last on the ladder, out of finals reckoning and still chasing a maiden win it its new home venue.

Missing injured shooter Romelda Aiken and starting centre Mahalia Cassidy, Simpson and teammates Gretel Tippett, Caitlyn Nevins and Tara Hinchliffe showed enough grit to suggest the Firebirds will not fade away.

"With the adversity we're facing we need to look at how we're living and breathing the culture and how much heart and fight we have," Simpson said.

"It's (a win) around the corner."


AAP