The Melbourne Vixens have made a swift exit from Victoria overnight amidst the chaos of the most recent Covid-19 outbreak across the state. With no certainty on their return date, it will be a case of déjà vu for the Vixens as they head to Nissan Arena this weekend to take on the Queensland Firebirds.
While Melbourne prepares for lockdown back home, it could be the motivational spark the Vixens have been searching for ahead of the game this week, knowing they will have all of Victoria’s support as they watch from afar. Last year, they achieved the unimaginable by #DoingItForVIC in the SSN grand final, and when they return to the stadium on Saturday, they will again be searching for the ultimate success. Yet, this time they will be hoping to re-start their so-far unfulfilled 2021 season and claim their first win as a new-look team.
Vixens captain Kate Moloney highlighted while it was a rush to get to Brisbane, the team have complete faith in the league to do what is best for everyone in the competition.
“Wednesday morning was a crazy one for us. We got a text message at 9.30am to say that we would be leaving that afternoon, and to be packed ready to go and wait for the next message to finalise what time we’d be leaving. We were at the airport by about 2.30pm and then we were off to Brisbane,” Moloney said.
“We’re not too sure yet when we will come back home. We’ll just wait and see what happens in Victoria, but we have so much trust in the league and Netball Australia that they’ll have us in the right place that we need to be, so we’re here at the moment and just waiting for more info as it comes.”
Having started the season with four losses on the board, the positivity amongst the group is becoming harder to maintain, but with ten rounds still to come, their goals remain the same.
“Being 0-4 is definitely disappointing for us, and it’s not where we saw ourselves being at the start of the season.
“It doesn’t change where we want to be at the end of the season either, we still have goals of making finals and as much as it’s been disappointing, we’ve seen growth and we know if we can play our best netball for the entirety of the game, we can match it with the best.
“For us it’s about continuing to go back and work hard at training, and make sure when we come out against the Firebirds that we don’t put a performance out like we have in the last four rounds.
Moloney’s message is clear this week – the key will be their work rate and finding the level of intensity required to compete as soon as they hit the court, and having the ability to maintain that across the game.
“We want to be going out there and playing a really strong brand of netball for the full 60 minutes.”
“We’ve got to make sure we’re converting off our centre passes and our gained balls, and in defence it’s going to be a really tough game. They’ve got a really big target down there in Romelda Aiken and we know we have to bring a really strong defensive game as well.”
This weekend also stems as the first week of Suncorp Super Netball’s Indigenous round, where the Vixens will wear their 2021 Indigenous dress designed by proud Yorta Yorta woman from Mooroopna, Tammy-Lee Atkinson created alongside apparel partner Puma.
Aligned with National Reconciliation Week, the Vixens will run out in their dress against the Queenslanders, who they battled in last year’s Indigenous Round in Cairns.
“We’re really excited about the dress that we’re wearing this weekend. The team worked with Tammy to create something that really sat with our team values, but also with her history and her family and her culture.
“It’s always so special to pull on that Indigenous dress and run out, and not only to represent us, but also to represent something bigger than us as well. We’re really proud to wear it on Saturday.”
It was revealed on Friday night's episode of Vixens Live that defender, Emily Mannix will miss the two weeks of Indigenous Round after fracturing her knuckle in last week's game.
Rahni Samason has been named on the team list for Saturday’s game against the Queensland Firebirds, having recently signed a training partner contract with the Vixens.
The Vixens will come face to face with the Firebirds on Saturday, 29 May at 3pm – you can catch all the action live from Channel Nine and the Netball Live App.