The Melbourne Vixens will hit the road for their second away match of the season when they take on the Adelaide Thunderbirds at Netball SA Stadium this Sunday.
The Vixens accounted for the travelling Thunderbirds in Round 2 by nine goals, yet will face an Adelaide outfit desperate to find their first win of the 2015 season after snatching a draw against the SKYCITY Mystics last round.
Vixens coach Simone McKinnis has had the luxury of fielding a largely unchanged and settled starting seven over the course of all three matches to date, and will hope for a similar happening to ensure her side's momentum continues.
While Thunderbirds goaler Carla Borrego found form against the Mystics, she will need to replicate her output against a Vixens side that are keen to make their presence felt as one of the best defensive sides in the competition, and boast a record of winning four of the last five games at Netball SA Stadium.
At the other end of court, Vixens shooter Karyn Bailey comes into the clash with the confidence of a match MVP award under belt, in the Vixens' away win over the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic last Sunday.
Wing defender Kate Moloney has established herself as an attacking weapon for the Vixens over previous weeks, and together with fellow young midcourter Liz Watson, have increased their ability to be a more offensive threat for the Vixens.
LAST MEETING: Rd 2, 2015: Vixens 48 defeated Thunderbirds 39, Melbourne
- This will be the 19th meeting between the two Australian teams, the most head-to head contests of any two sides in the ANZ Championship since the league began in 2008.
- The Thunderbirds played in their first draw in the ANZ Championship last round, when they tied with the SKYCITY Mystics 51-all. The Thunderbirds scored the last five goals of the match in the final 100 seconds of game time to share the points.
- Thunderbirds captain Renae Hallinan is scheduled to play her 100th ANZ Championship game on Sunday. Hallinan has played for both the Vixens and Thunderbirds over her career, winning premierships at both teams. Hallinan has been named twice at wing defence in the FOXTEL ANZ Championship All-Star Team – 2013, 2014 – and was named Thunderbirds captain in 2014.
- The Vixens have won five of the nine matches played between these two sides in Adelaide by an average margin of 13 goals. Two of the Thunderbirds' four victories in Adelaide have been by five goals or less, including a one-goal result in Round 5, 2013 (39-38). The Vixens have scored more than 60 goals twice at Netball SA Stadium – Round 2, 2011 (64-47) and Round 13, 2014 (64-43).
- The Thunderbirds have only posted 50 goals or more in a match against the Vixens in Adelaide once. That came in Round 9, 2010 (58-47).
- The Thunderbirds 38-goal loss against the Vixens at Hisense Arena in Round 8 last season is the side's worst ever defeat. Their total of 26 goals in that match is also the lowest ever team total in the ANZ Championship.
- Defender Amy Steel was part of the Vixens' 2014 premiership squad before switching to the Adelaide Thunderbirds this season. She has seen court time in all three matches so far this season.
- The Vixens have the No.1 ranked defence in the competition after three rounds, conceding an average of 42.3 goals a match.
- Despite being winless after the first three rounds, the Thunderbirds have the third best defence in the league behind the Vixens and Kia Magic. The Thunderbirds are conceding an average of 48 goals a match. Last season they conceded an average of 54.3 goals a match.
- A win on Sunday will help the Thunderbirds avoid their worst ever start to an ANZ Championship season. In 2011 the Thunderbirds lost three of their opening four matches with their only win against West Coast Fever in Perth.