The Melbourne Vixens have recorded an 11-goal victory over the Queensland Firebirds, 66-55, in Round 11 of Suncorp Super Netball to extend their winning streak to eight.
Jo Weston, in a best on court performance, led the way in defence, finishing with five intercepts, five deflections and six gains, while Emily Mannix, tasked with the tough job of keeping Romelda Aiken quiet, was also instrumental, finishing with two intercepts, three deflections and four gains.
Chloe Watson at Wing Defence was also menacing, finishing with four intercepts and four gains, including one in the first quarter that fired-up the crowd.
This defensive pressure saw the Vixens lead gains 15-5 and intercepts 12-4.
The Vixens held the lead the entire match, with a 19-15 goal first quarter, and another fantastic second quarter to put the score at 37-28 at the main break.
A dominant, defensive third quarter – that saw the Firebirds score just nine goals - propelled the Vixens to a 14-goal lead at three-quarter-time, before a strong finishing Firebirds outfit clawed back three goals in the last quarter.
Head Coach, Simone McKinnis said that the team had to work hard from siren to siren.
“That was hard work tonight, it really was, as it always is against the Firebirds,” McKinnis said.
McKinnis said she was happy with the way the team worked, however there is more that needs to be worked on.
“The girls did a really good job at maintaining intensity throughout the game.”
“I thought, particularly in the first half, we weren’t scoring off the balls we got, and there was some more little errors that we hadn’t been making.”
It took the attacking line some time to get into the rhythm of the match, however once firing were unstoppable.
Mwai Kumwenda, in her 50th National League game, was the highest scorer on court with 43 goals from 47 attempts.
Liz Watson also had an incredible game on the circle edge, with a season-best 31 goal assists and 52 feeds and finding Kumwenda alone in the goal circle on multiple occasions.
The Vixens have now secured a place in the inaugural Suncorp Super Netball finals series, the defeat of the fifth-placed Firebirds cementing the spot.
The Vixens will travel to Canberra to play Giants Netball in Round 12 next Sunday.
Vixens shooting statistics
Mwai Kumwenda 43/47 (91%)
Tegan Philip 23/27 (85%)
Firebirds shooting statistics
Romelda Aiken 42/53 (79%)
Gretel Tippett 9/14 (64%)
Abigail Latu-Meafou 4/4 (100%)