The Melbourne Vixens will get their first official hit-out as a new look squad in front of a home crowd this weekend, as they head to regional Victoria to host the Adelaide Thunderbirds. The reigning champions will battle the youthful and emerging Thunderbirds at the Ballarat Sports Events Centre in a two-game series.
While the Championship trophy will be in attendance as part of the Vixens’ Bring it Home campaign, the focus will be well and truly on team cohesion for season 2021. This was echoed by Vixens’ head coach, Simone McKinnis OAM at Netball Victoria’s Season Launch last night.
“We’ve got some young players in the group, we’ve got some new players in the group – it’s a different squad, but that brings a new level of excitement on top of its challenges,” said McKinnis.
“We are in a different situation now going into this season, we are the hunted, we are the team to beat.”
The team will be without current co-captain and resident wing attack, Liz Watson as she recovers from surgery on her navicular foot bone, which has ultimately ruled her out for the entire season. In her absence the young talent amongst the Vixens camp will be looking to step up to the occasion, hoping to cement their spot in the starting seven. Rising star, Allie Smith will play a large role in the midcourt after a breakout year in the hub, while squad members Tayla Honey and Hannah Mundy will get the opportunity at a run in attack.
Mwai Kumwenda will lead the way in the goaling circle this weekend, as her former partners in crime, Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip have eased into retirement - both announcing their pregnancies recently. Fans will get their first glimpse at Ruby Barkmeyer and Kaylia Stanton as they make their way into the Vixens side ahead of the Suncorp Super Netball season opener in three weeks. While experienced squad member, Sacha McDonald will lend a helping hand to her new goaling teammates.
Eager to hit the court at last in front of a Vixens coloured crowd will be current co-captain, Kate Moloney and vice-captain Emily Mannix. While Jo Weston will travel to Ballarat, she will remain on the sidelines as she manages a calf injury sustained during the Diamonds test series earlier this year.
However, the formidable defence end will still be intact, with Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Kate Eddy ready to inject their defensive pressure against a dynamic Thunderbirds goaling duo in Horjus and Potgieter.
The Vixens have partnered with BCNA to get behind their Play4BCNA campaign. A dollar from each ticket sold for Saturday’s match will be donated to BCNA’s Pink Sports Day. Tickets are still available for both matches and can be purchased here.
Saturday 10 April
Doors open: 2.30pm
Match start: 4pm
Sunday 11 April
Doors open: 10am
Men’s league exhibition match: 10.15am
Match start: 12noon
Ballarat Sports Events Centre - home of Wendouree Netball Association
989 Norman Street, Wendouree