Having confessed to her struggles adjusting to retirement, Renae Ingles has returned to the place where her career began. The 2009 premiership-winning Vixen will travel to Sydney for Sunday’s game against the Giants and continue training with Simone McKinnis' squad for the balance of the Suncorp Super Netball season.
At VNL level, it took Vixens’ officials little time to see what the former Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup gold medallist still has to offer, and Ingles will this weekend replace Chloe Watson (illness) for the Vixens’ clash with the team that ended the minor premiers’ 2017 finals campaign.
“She’s super-fit and still very good,’’ Vixens coach Simone McKinnis said of Ingles. “She still loves the game and still wants to play.
“She’s just got so much experience and she’s fit and strong and raring to go, so we invited her in to train and she’s rapt about it, and so are we.
Sunday's will be their second consecutive away fixture and, in losing two of their three games against GIANTS Netball in 2017, including a shock 57-65 defeat in the preliminary final at Hisense Arena, the Vixens had difficulty penetrating a defence that continues to be the league’s most frugal.
“They certainly did a very good job on us defensively and stopped our flow and space in attack. Defensively they’re very strong, so we have to be smarter and be prepared to work against that,’’ McKinnis said.
“But also in their attack end they’re moving the ball really well, and they’ve got so many options. It’s a really strong, composed, experienced attack end, so that’s a big ask for us, as well.’’
Yet the question of whether the Vixens could produce a four-quarter effort was answered last Sunday against the lowly Thunderbirds, with a 72-50 victory that delivered their first eight-point haul of the season and reinstatement among the top four.
“It was actually a tough game, and Thunderbirds did play some good netball,’’ McKinnis said. “The pleasing thing for me was the better consistency across the game; the concentration across the game was much improved.
“That’s a real positive for us because it’s been what we’ve been working and pushing for. I do think we’re building as a team.’’
Which is just as well, for the Giants are a single point adrift in third place, also with a 3-1 record and just one fewer bonus point, having opened by avenging last year’s grand final result against the Sunshine Coast Lightning and most recently held off a fast-finishing Magpies unit in Melbourne.
“The Giants are showing their quality as a team and their ability to win games,’’ McKinnis said. “They’re on a mission. You can see they just really want this championship, and they believe they can win it, and we’ve really got to be out there tough, strong, going for it, and playing our game - for four quarters.’’