Preview: Vixens v Pulse

3 years ago

The reigning champions Melbourne Vixens will have the ideal opportunity to get their back-to-back premiership campaign off on the right foot when they host the Mojo Pulse at Margaret Court Arena this Sunday.

The two teams enter the opening round of the 2015 ANZ Championship having met each other just weeks before with back-to-back practice matches in Wellington.

The Pulse had an active off-season and welcome five new faces to Wellington including Australian defector Ameliaranne Wells, meanwhile still boasting a roster littered with international experience, led by the evergreen Irene van Dyke.

And yet while, the Pulse took both pre-season games in Wellington, history is not on the side of the visitors, who have yet to claim a win against the Vixens in ANZ Championship history.

The Vixens have taken the points on all seven previous occasions of the two sides meeting, including a daunting 41-goal win back in 2009. Their last meeting was back in Round 9 with the Vixens travelling to Wellington to claim a 12-goal win.

For Melbourne, they enter the new season with the starting seven that guided them to a famous Grand Final last year, virtually unchanged.

Carla Dziwoki replaces the retired Cath Cox, but may have to wait behind the proven shooting combination of Tegan Philip (nee Caldwell) and Karyn Bailey, who went through almost the entire of 2014 together.

Announcing her retirement from international netball a mere six months ago, Vixens captain Bianca Chatfield will team up with fellow international Geva Mentor in an engrossing battle of the circle.

Yet it seems the Vixens strength will lie in the battle of the midcourt, with 2014 Liz Ellis Diamond recipient Madi Robinson leading her young counterparts in Liz Watson and Kate Moloney.

With history against them, the Pulse will be relying on offensive execution and patient ball movement while trying to nullify the Vixens powerhouse attack.

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