Romelda ready for her 150th match
RIVAL clubs have taken their best shot at signing netball superstar Romelda Aiken over the past decade.
But the Jamaican goalshooter cannot seriously imagine ever leaving her Queensland Firebirds family.
After taking her netball career in Australia "a year at a time'', Aiken will bring up her 150th national league match on Sunday when the in-form Firebirds take on Collingwood in Launceston.
The Firebirds moved to third place on the Suncorp Super Netball ladder after last Saturday's resounding 71-61 win over the previously undefeated West Coast Fever, with Aiken in vintage form.
Aiken was just 19 years old when she arrived in Brisbane for the 2008 ANZ Championship season.
Fast forward 10 years and the towering goalshooting machine has collected three MVP awards (2008, 2009 and 2015), one grand final MVP (2011), and was an integral part of three championship-winning sides with the Firebirds (2011, 2015 and 2016).
Aiken has hit a total of 5576 shots from 6583 attempts in the purple dress to be one of the most influential figures in the history of the world's best domestic competitions.
Clubs have continued to knock on her door but Aiken says it has always been a simple decision to remain at the Firebirds.
"I have encountered a lot of that (approaches from other teams) along the way and sometimes the thought creeps into the back of your mind for a second, but I've always had many more reasons to stay compared to going somewhere else,'' she said.
"I've had a strong, supportive group of people around me during the ups and downs and they back whatever decision I make, but they also try to convince me to stay too.
"I always go through that process of taking it a year at a time and I always find it very easy to stay at the Firebirds.''
Aiken is proud of her role in building a netball powerhouse and said it was impossible to single out one highlight.
"From day one, we wanted to build a reputation, we wanted to build a brand of netball, we wanted to stand out and we wanted to create an environment where people love and appreciate what we do,'' Aiken said.
"We wanted it to be special. They (the three titles) are all special in their own way. You can't really compare one with the other because they are so different.
"Going back-to-back (in 2015 and 2016) … we really proved ourselves as a team.''
Aiken has tried to expand her game in 2018 by venturing away from the post and said striving for constant improvement will always be her mindset until she "hangs up the boots''.
"As a player you want to evolve and add different things. You want to be versatile and you want to be dynamic. Moving around the circle has been exciting but sometimes I get carried away with it,'' she said.
"I don't want to limit myself. I'll keep going as long as I'm able to give my best out on court. I've been happy with my progress this year and happy with the team because I feel like we are building something special.''