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Round 12 Preview | Thunderbirds vs Vixens

SSN PREVIEW WEBSITE
3 weeks ago

The Vixens will travel to Adelaide for a top of the table clash against the Thunderbirds, three weeks before their finals campaign begins.

THE MATCH

Adelaide Thunderbirds vs Melbourne Vixens
Saturday 29 June, 5pm AEST
Adelaide Entertainment Centre | Kaurna Land

THE TEAM

Kiera Austin
Rudi Ellis
Sophie Garbin
Lily Graham
Sharni Lambden
Emily Mannix (VC)
Kate Moloney (C)
Hannah Mundy
Zara Walters
Jo Weston

HOW TO WATCH

Can’t make it to the game? Tune in live or on demand on Kayo Sports or Foxtel (Australia), or via Netball Pass (international).

LAST TIME THEY MET

Round 2, 2024
Vixens (54) defeated Thunderbirds (53) at John Cain Arena

WHAT’S ON THE LINE

A composed possession game to wind the clock down – and a goal from Kiera Austin in the final seconds – decided the result the last time these two sides met, and it’s likely to be another fierce contest as the race for the top two ladder positions heats up.

Boasting arguably the league’s most potent defensive combination and a dynamic attack, the Thunderbirds will be seeking redemption for the earlier narrow loss, as well as the safety net of a top two finish. They currently sit second on the ladder, leading Fever by percentage, and are two wins short of equalling the Vixens. If the cards fall the Thunderbirds’ way, a win this week could lead to them playing every finals match at home.

WHAT TO EXPECT

The Vixens have just as much to play for, and remaining consistent in their short and sharp netball will be vital to securing another win. Captain Kate Moloney is coming off another MVP performance and will lead the midcourt contingent tasked with unravelling the Thunderbirds’ engine room, and nullifying the impact of their bookends. Bolstered by the return of Zara Walters from a lower back injury that has kept her out of the side since Round 4, the Vixens' midcourt unit will face a tough challenge against the in-form Latanya Wilson.

A talent in all three defensive positions, Jamaican international Wilson looms as a major threat as she sits second on the league’s gains and intercepts leaderboard, trailing only behind defensive partner Shamera Sterling-Humprey. The cool heads of Austin and Sophie Garbin will be paramount against the pair who work neatly in tandem with Australian Diamond Tilly Garrett, but the Vixens' shooters will need to remain adaptable as coach Tania Obst is unafraid to mix up her combinations.

Georgie Horjus has also been crucial to the Thunderbirds’ results this season playing across wing attack and goal attack. Simone McKinnis has found multiple options to cover the absent Kate Eddy in wing defence across the season, and will look to her side’s trademark full-court defensive pressure to combat Horjus’ speed and court craft.

ONE TO WATCH

Speedster wing attack Hannah Mundy has been in impressive form (top 5 in the league for goal assists) but found it difficult to hit the stats sheet when Paige Hadley matched her for pace last week. The Thunderbirds have a surplus of options in wing defence, with captain Hannah Petty, Tayla Williams and Garrett all able to swap in for the red-hot Wilson. Mundy missed the sides’ Round 2 clash with injury, but her ability to keep defenders busy with her strong drives and change of direction could be what’s needed to unsettle the home side’s defensive unit.

THE NUMBER

80: There are just eight Super Netball athletes averaging over 80 Nissan Net Points in their last five matches, and five of them will be taking the court in Adelaide. Captain Kate Moloney is statistically the most in-form player as she leads the league with an average of 105.4 NNP over her last five games. The Vixens’ shooting end will feature all the action as Garbin, Austin, Wilson and Sterling-Humprey round out the list of highest NNP scorers.

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