The Melbourne Vixens will host the West Coast Fever in Sunday’s Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) Grand Final, in a quest to bring home their first-ever SSN Premiership Trophy.
In circumstances befitting of the unique 2020 season, neither team will play in front of a home crowd, with the match being played at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena; a venue which has co-hosted the majority of this year’s season.
Melbourne Vixens Head Coach, Simone McKinnis OAM, said that whilst she’s sure there would be a few elevated nerves leading into Sunday’s match, her team is just looking forward to getting out on court and playing for one last time in 2020.
“There’s definitely nerves probably as we get closer to the weekend,” McKinnis reiterated, “but it’s nerves of excitement and a culmination of what has been a big year [and] a big season.”
With the Vixens wrapping up the Minor Premiers title by the end of Round 12, some pundits are saying the pressure is all on the Vixens. But McKinnis doesn’t see it that way.
“I don’t think there’s pressure around performing in the Grand Final. We’ve backed ourselves the whole season and we’ll go in there fearlessly again this week, and just really enjoy the challenge and enjoy the finish to what has been a pretty unique season.”
The main question hovering over the Vixens camp in the lead up to Sunday’s match is the fitness of Kate Eddy, who left the court at half time in the Vixens Round 14 clash with the Lightning with foot soreness, and then went on to miss the Major Semi Final. McKinnis, however, remained upbeat about her starting wing defence’s chance of taking the court on Sunday.
“It’s actually progressing really well,” McKinnis said of Eddy’s injury. “She’s been tracking really well and the signs are really positive, and we’re giving her every opportunity to be right. She’ll be at training this afternoon and so from my perspective we’re looking to have her on the list on Sunday.”
“We’ll give it right up until the last minute, but everything’s gone as well as it possibly could go.”
There has been a question mark over the Vixens ability to perform in finals since the inception of Suncorp Super Netball, but Co-Captain, Liz Watson, insists that the ‘premiership window’ is still open.
“I think we’ve been pretty consistent over the past few seasons and we’ve disappointed ourselves in not actually having that title. But I’ve played with these girls for a long time, Simone has coached us right from the start, so I feel like we owe it to Simone more than anyone to actually get this title for her so…it’s exciting and we think that we can.”
Fellow Co-Captain, Kate Moloney, added that her side had learnt a lot about both themselves and the Fever, when they last met in a thrilling 63-all draw in Round 10.
“Fever, last time we played them they came out flying and we were able to claw back a little bit of that to enable us to get to a draw, but finals is a whole other game…we know that we need to be ready to go from that very first whistle. We’ll prepare really well and hopefully get the result on Sunday.”
The Vixens have been living by the #DoingItForVIC mantra this week, dedicating their maiden SSN Grand Final appearance to their home state, after the difficult year Victoria has had due to ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns.
“It would mean a lot,” Moloney said, reflecting on what victory would mean for her side. “We know we’re lucky to be here in Queensland and of course we’d like to be playing in Melbourne at Melbourne Arena in front of our home crowd, but we’re just loving being here, we’re loving being together. We’ve spent nearly 14 weeks together now and [so] it’s just exciting, we can’t wait to get out on court on Sunday.”
The Melbourne Vixens will take on the West Coast Fever in the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final, on Sunday 18 October at Nissan Arena. The match will be broadcast live on Channel 9 from 1pm AEDT.
It’s not too late to join the Vixens family! You can still support the Vixens from home on the couch as they play one last time to bring home the SSN Premiership Trophy! Use the hashtag #VixensAtHome on your social media, and become a Beyond the Court member for just $55 here.