Sunday’s clash will be one of the Melbourne Vixens’ biggest challenges of the 2016 ANZ Championship when they come face-to-face with the West Coast Fever for the second time this season in a do-or-die game at Hisense Arena.
It’s a must win game for the Vixens if they wish to continue to hold onto third spot on the Australian Conference ladder, however, it will be no easy task with the Fever - currently sitting fourth - red-hot on their tail.
Speaking to Vixens defender Jo Weston about what the team learnt from their previous one-goal win against the Fever in Round Eight, she said, “We learnt that four quarter performances are more important against Australian teams. As a group we know that the Fever are going to be very physical on Sunday and a quick team to play against. We obviously need to implement our strategies in order to combat that.
“In the Fever’s attack they have a great Australian shooting combination with Caitlin [Bassett] and Natalie [Medhurst] who work fantastic together. It will be a challenge for our defenders, however, we need to outsmart them by knowing which balls to go for in terms of intercepting.”
Speaking about the importance of Sunday’s game in shaping the remainder of the Vixens’ season, Weston added, “A win this week would mean that we are in a fantastic position, and a step closer to playing in the Australian Conference Finals.
“The main focus for us as a team will be on completing a solid four quarters on court, we need to be consistent in order to get another win on the board.”
The two team’s previously met in a nail-biting clash four weeks ago in Round Eight of the fixture at Perth Arena. The Vixens 54-53 victory over the Fever helped bump the Vixens up the ladder and the Fever down.
Hosting their final home game for 2016, the Vixens will be looking to put on a show stopping performance in front of a sell-out stadium packed to the rafters with a home crowd.
It will be imperative that defenders Geva Mentor and Jo Weston alongside teammate Kate Moloney on the Wing work in sync to shutdown the Fever/Diamonds shooting duo Caitlin Bassett and Natalie Medhurst.
In their previous clash, the Vixens’ penalty count was high in comparison to the Fever. They’ll need to reduce this to ensure that they can keep themselves in the game.
Captain Madi Robinson will again need to lead the Vixens in their attack, digging deep and bringing out the form that gave her the MVP award back in Round Eight.
The Fever have been struggling to run out a full four quarters over the past few weeks. Starting strongly, they quickly fade out of contention with unforced errors. The Vixens will be looking to use this to their advantage in their crucial showdown on the weekend.
Get behind your Victorian team the Melbourne Vixens as they hunt for their spot in the 2016 ANZ Championship finals.
Last competitive meeting: Rd 8, 2016: Melbourne Vixens defeated the West Coast Fever 54-53.
Fixtures and results
Sunday 3 April: Vixens v Swifts, Sydney, NSW [42-57 Swifts]
Sunday 10 April: Vixens v Thunderbirds, Adelaide, SA [59-44 Vixens]
Saturday 16 April: Vixens v Firebirds, Melbourne, VIC [47-58 Firebirds]
Sunday 1 May: Vixens v Magic, Melbourne, VIC [57-34 Vixens]
Monday 9 May: Vixens v Tactix, Christchurch, NZL [69-48 Vixens]
Sunday 15 May: Vixens v Swifts, Melbourne, VIC [51-59 Swifts]
Saturday 21 May: Vixens v Fever, Perth, WA [54-53 Vixens]
Saturday 28 May: Vixens v Thunderbirds, Melbourne, VIC [57-51 Vixens]
Saturday 4 June: Vixens v Firebirds, Gold Coast, QLD [44-56 Firebirds]
Sunday 12 June: Vixens v Mystics, Melbourne, VIC [69-46 Vixens]
Sunday 19 June: Vixens v Fever, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 25 June: Vixens v Steel, Invercargill, NZL
Monday 4 July: Vixens v Pulse, Wellington, NZL
Live on Fox Sports [AUS], Channel Ten [AUS] and the Netball Live [App].
Follow the team's results on Twitter by following @MelbourneVixens and using #PowerTogether #VixensFamily.