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Pregnant clause: Did Queensland Firebirds really dump their star because she’s expecting?

Pregnant goaler Romelda Aiken-George claims her Super Netball contract hasn’t been renewed because the Queensland Firebirds deem it “too risky” for her to make a return next season.

Jul 11, 2022, updated Jul 11, 2022
Star goaler Romelda Aiken says she's been dumped by the Queensland Firebirds because of fears about her return from pregnancy. (Image: Jamaica Loop).

Star goaler Romelda Aiken says she's been dumped by the Queensland Firebirds because of fears about her return from pregnancy. (Image: Jamaica Loop).

The Jamaican veteran announced her pregnancy in February, opting not to play the 2022 season – which would have been her 15th year with the club – after battling with morning sickness and Covid-19.

At the time she said she was looking forward to her return in 2023.

But the 33-year-old now says she hasn’t been offered a contract for next year, leaving her two games short of her 200-game milestone.

“Okay, so a lot of people has been asking if I’ll be playing for the firebirds next season, the answer is “NO”,” Aiken-George wrote on Instagram.

“And that decision was not made by me, it was by the club.

“Too risky they say” So I will NOT be in the FIREBIRDS next season.”

It comes after Queensland, who finished sixth this year, offered fellow shooters Donnell Wallam and Gretal Bueta new deals.

Wallam got her start with the Firebirds this year after Aiken-George’s decision to take early maternity leave and made an immediate impact, already winning Australian squad selection.

Diamonds star Bueta returned to playing just four months after the birth of her first child, but it appears Aiken-George won’t get the same opportunity.

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Aiken-George arrived at the Firebirds after a stand-out showing at the 2007 world championships and became one of the league’s benchmark goal shooter.

The Firebirds have yet to confirm their coach for 2023 after the departure of Megan Anderson.

In a statement, Netball Queensland said it was “aware of commentary surrounding Queensland Firebird Romelda Aiken-George and her recent social media post”.

“The Queensland Firebirds 2023 playing roster is incomplete, with the club shortly set to name a new Head Coach, and the remaining three contracted players, plus training partners still to be confirmed,” the statement said.

The club said Bueta, Wallam and long-range shooting specialist Mia Stower had “developed a strong and proven combination during the 2022 Suncorp Super Netball season”.

 

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