The Melbourne Vixens have finished the 2017 Suncorp Super Netball Season on top of the ladder after a dominating 26-goal win over West Coast Fever, 68-42.
The win secured the Vixens the minor premiership, and a home semi-final and important second chance in the finals.
The team had a strong start, however it was their strong final quarter that set up the large margin.
Continuing their form from last week the Vixens took the lead 3-0 in the first few minutes. Going goal-for-goal for the next few minutes, the Vixens had a quick flurry of goals later in the quarter to lead by seven at the first break, 18-11.
Vixens Goal Attack, Tegan Philip, was on fire in the first quarter – she was the highest scorer on court with 10 goals in the opening term.
The Vixens started the second quarter in a similar way to the first; four unanswered goals to begin the term.
A couple of mistakes by the team saw a tactical time-out called, and it paid dividends, with the team running out to an 11-goal lead before the main break.
At half-time, the margin was 10 goals, 33-23.
The Fever made one change going into the second half, with Captain, Natalie Medhurst, moving from Goal Attack to the bench – a credit to her opponent, Jo Weston, who kept Medhurst to just three goals for the half. Despite the change, which saw Kate Beveridge take to the court, the Vixens flow of goals continued as their defensive unit of Emily Mannix and Weston continued to disrupt Fever’s forward line.
By three-quarter-time, the score was out to 12 goals, 46-34.
The final quarter was dominated by the Vixens, with the team scoring a mammoth 22-goals for the quarter, and at the same time keeping the Fever to just eight.
The Vixens used the opportunity in the final term to make changes in their on-court seven, with Khao Watts and Kadie-Ann Dehaney taking the court, replacing Kate Moloney and Emily Mannix.
Despite the changes, the Vixens continued their momentum, with their biggest lead of the match, 27 goals, coming in the final minute of the game.
The Fever pegged back one goal in the last 30 seconds, with the score standing at 26 goals, 68-42.
The win was the Vixens biggest of the season, surpassing their 21-goal win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Round 8 and Round 13.
Melbourne Vixens Head Coach Simone McKinnis said she was happy with the team’s performance this season.
“I’m really pleased for them and I’m pleased that they have been able to realise how good they can be,” said McKinnis. “I think we worked hard and we earnt that top spot.”
Weston was named the Nissan Most Valuable Player for the match, restricting her opponents shooting opportunities and finishing with four intercepts, three deflections and five gains.
McKinnis said she was also impressed with Weston’s performance.
“Jo Weston has been so strong and her job was to work that one-on-one on Nat [Natalie Medhurst] because she plays such an important role, and I thought that Jo did a really good job on her and Emily was backing it up really well,” said McKinnis.
The Vixens will now face the Sunshine Coast Lightning in Melbourne in the Major Semi Final next weekend.