Firebirds star Kim Ravaillion has point to prove
FIREBIRDS star Kim Ravaillion might be seen as shy by her teammates, but the centre's ruthless competitive streak will be on show against the Swifts in Brisbane today.
The 22-year-old made her ANZ Championship debut for the Queensland team in 2013, making the painstaking decision to leave her family behind in Sydney, after she could not make it into the New South Wales outfit.
But she now calls Brisbane home, and the decision has paid dividends.
Ravaillion is now a gold medallist for Australia at Commonwealth Games and World Cup level, and was part of the Firebirds' famous grand-final triumph last year.
That win came in the dying seconds against the Swifts, which is set to make this weekend's anticipated rematch one of the games of the season.
Firebirds captain Laura Geitz referred to the gun centre as being "shy" in a column last year.
But Ravaillion will be far from timid when she steps on to the court at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, because she has a few extra reasons to perform well.
"I'll have a point to prove because I didn't make it when I was in Sydney, and it'll be exciting to play them," Ravaillion told Australian Regional Media.
"But Brisbane is my home now. The girls were very welcoming as soon as I arrived up here - they've been like a second family to me."
The part-time personal trainer has been a raging success since moving north of the border.
She played for Australia during its tour of England in 2013, becoming the first player to make her international debut before featuring in an ANZ Championship match.
Since then she has become a crucial cog in the successful Diamonds and Firebirds machines, taking the court for every match of Australia's winning 2015 World Cup campaign.
Her form has continued to impress in 2016, feeding the ball to Queensland's star attackers Romelda Aiken and Gretel Tippett an average of 22.5 times per game in the Firebirds' first four undefeated matches.
The Swifts are also unbeaten to start their campaign, and shape as the main contender to wrestle the title off the Firebirds this year.
The one-on-one battle between Ravaillion and New Zealand vice-captain Laura Langman will be intense.
"Laura is someone I idolise," Ravaillion said.
"There's not a second where she'll take a breather throughout the whole 60 minutes - she's always a challenge.
"I think this game will go down to the last minute, like the grand final last year."