The Melbourne Vixens will hope to build momentum today when they face the winless-Mainland Tactix in their ANZAC Day weekend clash at Hisense Arena.
The Vixens stopped the rot of a three-game losing streak with a season-defining win over the Southern Steel, with a win over the Tactix needed to continue to cement themselves in the all-important top three of the Australian conference.
Last week's win was the first since the crucial loss of Madi Robinson, and saw Robinson's sister and permanent replacement player Kelsey Browne fill the wing attack position in the Vixens' starting seven.
Spurred on by the early-week announcement of long-serving captain Bianca Chatfield's retirement, the Vixens will look to continue their dominance over the Tactix – a side they've never lost to in seven meetings with an average winning margin of 19 goals.
The Tactix are searching for their first win 16 matches, dating back to Round 4 last year.
The bottom-placed side across both Australian and New Zealand divisions have struggled in 2015, with only their front end of Malawai import Mwai Kumwenda and fellow goaler Bailey Mes providing bright spots.
Kumwenda will look to be the weapon used to exploit the Vixens defense with her athleticism and willingness to turn and shoot. The young shooter is only one of three players in the ANZ Championship to have a shooting accuracy of 90% from her 252 goals to date.
In turn the Vixens' defensive unit of Chatfield and Geva Mentor will be heartened by their ability to have periods of dominance over the Steel's shooting giant, Jhaniele Fowler-Reid.
It led to a show of faith by coach Simone McKinnis to introduce heir-apparent to Chatfield, Jo Weston, who performed strongly in her 15 minutes of court time last week.
Another match should see the midcourt trio of Browne, Liz Watson and Kate Moloney gain more confidence with each other on court, while Karyn Bailey will hope a carry over in form from last week is on the cards against a Tactix defence conceding almost 63 goals per match.
LAST MEETING: Rd 5, 2014: Vixens 67 def Tactix 43, Christchurch
•Melbourne Vixens captain Bianca Chatfield has announced she will retire at the conclusion of the 2015 ANZ Championship season. The 33-year-old has been captain or co-captain of the Vixens every season since the competition began in 2008 and led them to titles in 2009 – along with Sharelle McMahon – and 2014. Chatfield is the only athlete to have played 100 matches for the Vixens (105). Her departure will leave Madi Robinson as the sole foundation player still with the team next season.
•The Vixens have an average winning margin overall of 19.1 goals a match against the Tactix from their seven previous encounters. In Melbourne that average is 21 goals with the closest result being 15 goals (65-50) in Round 7, 2011.
•The Vixens have scored 60 goals or more in six of their seven encounters against the Tactix with 58 goals in their inaugural meeting in Round 4, 2008 their lowest tally. The Tactix have scored 50 goals twice against the Vixens – in Round 4, 2008 and Round 7, 2011.
•The Tactix have lost their past 16 matches by an average of 11.9 goals. Their last victory came in Round 4, 2014 when they defeated the Mojo Pulse in Napier.
•Vixens shooter Karyn Bailey shot 40 goals in a match for the fourth time in her career in their nine-goal win over the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel last round in what was also her 50th ANZ Championship appearance. Her 41 goals was her best performance since shooting a career-high 43 goals in Round 5 last season.
•Tactix import Mwai Kumwenda is the second most accurate shooter in the competition after eight rounds behind SKYCITY Mystics' Cathrine Latu. Kumwenda's 252 goals have come at 90.9 per cent accuracy. She is one of three players to be averaging 90 per cent or better.
•The Vixens are the No.2 ranked defensive side in the competition, conceding an average of 48 goals a match.
•The Tactix is conceding an average of 62.7 goals per game.
•The Vixens have the fourth best attacking record in the competition, scoring an average of 52.7 goals a match.
•The Tactix is the sixth best with an average of 51 goals a game.
•The Vixens 21-goal second term against the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel was the highest scoring quarter of Round 8. They were also one of three teams that trailed at quarter-time but went onto win the match.
•Tactix defender Jess Moulds is ranked inside the top 10 in the competition for deflections (28) and gains (23).Captain Anna Thompson has the most goal assists of any Tactix player so far this season with 64 after seven matches. Liz Watson is the leading Vixens player for goal assists with 82.
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