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Round 2: Melbourne Vixens vs Adelaide Thunderbirds

Match Day Guide

🦊 Round 2: Melbourne Vixens vs Adelaide Thunderbirds Match Day Guide

Ballarat Blitz weekend wrap

GGT BB 2024 54475 1
1 month ago

The Vixens headed west on the weekend for two days of pre-season netball action in Ballarat.

With attendance reaching over 5400 fans across the weekend, crowds at Selkirk Stadium on Wadawurrung Country witnessed five exciting on-court contests from a Victorian Men’s League exhibition match to clashes between the Vixens, Adelaide Thunderbirds, GIANTS Netball and West Coast Fever.

Junior clinics hosted on Saturday morning provided an opportunity for netball fans to meet Jo Weston, Emily Mannix, Kate Eddy, Kiera Austin, Hannah Mundy and Zara Walters, who joined in the drills and activities and met clinic participants at a Q&A and signing session.

The Suncorp Super Netball trophy was also on display as part of the League’s Trophy Tour initiative, available for fans to visit and grab a photo.

The Ballarat crowd witnessed the athleticism and intensity of elite men’s netball in the curtain raiser, the Victorian Men’s Reserve side putting on a strong display and defeating the exciting 23/Under team in an exhibition match (44–38).

Our first SSN pre-season match kicked off next, reigning champions the Thunderbirds mounting a comeback from four goals down at the final break to claim a four-goal win over the GIANTS (52-56).

Three solid quarters had the Vixens up by a goal at the final break against Fever in our first hit out, but an 18-point final term saw Fever win by four (62-66).

Recruits Sophie Garbin, Rudi Ellis and Zara Walters each took the court for the first time in navy, while squad members Emily Andrew and Lily Graham also spent time on court across the match. Teams were able to name up to 12 athletes for each game, the extended benches allowing for plenty of rotations and combinations to be tested.

Netball Victoria’s coaching and umpiring workshops took place on Sunday, enabling members of the netball community to experience an in-depth discussion and analysis hosted by former Australian Diamonds head coach Lisa Alexander and A-Badge umpire Trent Morison.

Attendees were able to gain great insight into elite-level coaching and umpiring practices to bring back to their local associations, including from post-match analysis with match day umpires and Vixens coaches Simone McKinnis OAM and Di Honey.

GIANTS claimed their first win for the weekend on Sunday, defeating Fever by five in a high-scoring clash (71-66). Victorian pathway product Olivia Wilkinson performed well for Fever, while Jo Harten stood up in attack for the GIANTS after sitting out Saturday’s match.

The final match of the weekend saw the Vixens take on the Thunderbirds, and for three tightly contested quarters there was never more than a couple of goals in it. The Thunderbirds put the foot down and the margin blew out early in the final term, but some slick passing and clean super shots from Diamonds pair Kiera Austin and Sophie Garbin saw the Vixens back within a couple. It was too little too late though, the Thunderbirds holding on to win by four (56-60).

Head coach Simone McKinnis was pleased with her side’s efforts across the weekend and noted the importance of giving new athletes on-court experience during pre-season.

“You come into weekends like this with certain objectives you want to work on, and things that you’re looking to find out and learn, so you have to maximise those opportunities.

“I think Zara’s done a really good job across the weekend… Gabby [Coffey] stepped out there and did really well, and it’s nice to see the likes of Emily Andrew and Lily [Graham] out there on court experiencing what SSN is.”

McKinnis said the squad appreciated the opportunity to visit the Ballarat region.

“We’ve loved Ballarat, it’s been so exciting having the supporters here – when we walked in for the start of our game [on Saturday] it was so loud, it was just a great crowd to play in front of and we’ve really enjoyed it.”

RESULTS

Vic Men’s Reserve [44] def 23/Under [38]
GIANTS [52] def by Thunderbirds [56]
Vixens [62] def by Fever [66]
GIANTS [71] def Fever [66]
Vixens [56] def by Thunderbirds [60]

The Ballarat Blitz was made possible by the support of the City of Ballarat and the Victorian Government.

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