The Melbourne Vixens will travel to Sydney this weekend as they continue the hunt for their first win of the season. After two close encounters at home to kick-start their Championship defence, they will be hoping their persistence will be rewarded this week as they go head-to-head with the NSW Swifts in the bi-annual Sargeant-McKinnis Cup showdown.
While the Vixens clawed their way back in the final quarter against a sturdy Sunshine Coast Lightning side on Sunday, it was not enough to take the lead. But there were enough promising moments and glimpses of Vixens magic that had the crowd wishful thinking. Regardless of the result, the momentum from the back half of the game will bring a sense of optimism heading into round three for both the team and devoted members.
Whether you were watching from the stands or from the couch at home, you would have heard the roar from Vixens leading goaler, Mwai Kumwenda as she infused every bit of energy she had into her team to lift their spirits and fire them up. Only missing one super shot for the day, Kumwenda combined well with Ruby Barkmeyer and Kaylia Stanton and is feeling positive about the new connection forming between the trio.
“We are looking forward to going to Sydney, it’s our first trip away for the year. We can’t wait to get there as a team and play the way we’ve spoken about during the week,” Kumwenda said.
“We know they are a good team and have some really tough players right across the court. We just need to go there and play our own game.
“The pressure that we brought in the last quarter against the Lightning, that is the intensity we need to bring when we start against the Swifts.”
Knowing the contest against the Swifts is always physical, the Vixens will focus on remaining strong and composed as they work the ball down the court. While the defenders will look to overcome the experienced goal circle in Sam Wallace and Helen Housby, the match up to watch will be Hannah Mundy and Australian Diamond Paige Hadley, as the newcomer takes on a veteran.
“I like working with Hannah, and every game she is improving more and more, and she works so hard at training. Having Kate Moloney there supporting her has been really rewarding for her.
“I just love that when she is passing the ball she reminds me of Lizzy.”
The Swifts defence has been a formidable force for years now, but Kumwenda is adamant the Vixens can combat their pressure and bring their own strength to the game, led none other than by her fearless captain Kate Moloney who has instilled a lot of trust in her side this week.
“Even though we have lost two games, Kate’s leadership on and off the court has been really helpful for us all. She has a lot of belief in us as a team, and that gives me a lot of confidence in our ability to come together to get there and get the win.
Having had a year on the road in the hub last year, the Vixens will be embracing what became normality in 2020 – playing away from Victoria. The team will head to Sydney tomorrow as they prepare to face the NSW Swifts on Sunday, 16 May at 1pm at Ken Rosewall Arena. Catch all the action live on Channel 9 or the Netball Live App from 1pm.