It seems the Melbourne Vixens were reborn on the weekend after claiming their first win of the season, by a narrow two goals to the Queensland Firebirds.
While the celebration resembled a Grand Final win reaction, it was the reality of beginning the game at 0-4 to then finishing with a Super Shot penalty taken from debutant and player of the match, Rahni Samason, that sparked a newfound emotion.
The persistence of the new-look Vixens squad has been second to none, and you only have to look at the excitement of Kate Moloney at the end of the game to understand just how important this win was for the team, the club and the fans. The belief is there, the talent and ability is there, and in Sunday’s win the mental and physical strength of the Vixens camp certainly shone through.
While the win was bolstered by the extraordinary efforts of Victorian athlete, Samason, and long-time Vixens defender Kadie-Ann Dehaney – it will be this weekend that is the ultimate test. Can they do it again? Will it be enough? Absolutely.
The team and their support staff are once again away from home, residing in Queensland – a notion that sounds all too familiar. Although memorable territory, you cannot deter from the feelings that stem from the uncertainty of being away from your family and friends. But, as we have learned, the Vixens rise to these occasions, and will do what needs to be done in order for them to return to their home of John Cain Arena this year.
Vixens defender, Kate Eddy says the team is trying to embrace the opportunity they have in front of them.
“We haven’t really had a lot of time to think about the relocation. After the game, the vibe was pretty up and about, and I think just being able to be up here on the Sunny Coast as a change of scenery is nice because a few of us were in Brisbane last year,” Eddy said.
“With Victorians being in lockdown, I think it does show all of our emotions and we do go out there and play with our heart and for everyone back at home - not just ourselves, but for our family and fans back home.”
Captain Kate Moloney echoed Eddy’s outlook and was feeling positive about the move to Queensland and the success it has brought thus far.
“The girls are really grateful to be here and to be able to keep playing,” Moloney said.
“Every game is like a final for us now. We need to keep winning games if we want to get all the way to the end of this competition.
“It was such an important game, and to get on that plane really quickly and get everyone packed up, to then get to Queensland and be able to perform was something we really needed to do, and for Rahni in her first game to hit that goal after the siren was absolutely incredible.
“It’s just nice to get that first win and hopefully now we can keep growing and get some more wins on the board.”
Looking ahead to the Thunderbirds this weekend, Eddy knows the South Australian side will come out firing – having not yet won a game for the season.
“We’re looking for our second win of the season against the Thunderbirds on Sunday. It was meant to be in Melbourne, but we are making the Sunny Coast our home this weekend,” Eddy said.
“We’re expecting a tough game, we’re both wanting to put our best foot forward being in the bottom four, so I think there will be a lot of emotions and feelings in the game.
With a number of key match ups set to go head-to-head at the University of Sunshine Coast following the Lightning and Firebirds game, it will be the new-found combination of Samason and Mwai Kumwenda which will draw the most attention.
“I think this week we just need to concentrate on our own game and limit the amount of turnovers that we have across the four quarters.
“We know that Shamera can be pretty dangerous out the back in goal keeper so I think as long as we keep the ball short and sharp we’ll be competitive.”
The Vixens will host the Thunderbirds in a double header on Sunday, 6 June at USC Stadium from 5.45pm. Tickets are still available to be purchased here. Supporters from home in Victoria and around Australia can catch all the action live on the Netball Live App – you can download and subscribe for free on a two week trial or for $1.99 per week, $3.99 per month or $7.49 per quarter.