The Melbourne Vixens have suffered their second defeat of the 2020 season, going down to the Queensland Firebirds in Cairns by six goals.
Once again, the Vixens looked a little shaky out of the blocks, conceding the first quarter to the Firebirds, 12-18. They clawed their way back into the match, winning the second quarter and even hitting the lead midway during the third, but ultimately the Firebirds ran out the better side.
Melbourne Vixens Head Coach, Simone McKinnis OAM, credited the Firebirds for their determination out on court.
“Firebirds played a great game from start to finish. You could see their hunger and desperation for the ball, and they worked hard for it, did the work and played some great netball, and we were only there in patches.
“I think their intensity on the contest, defensively if they were going for the ball they committed well and truly, and I think that we were stopping on the balls. We didn’t have that same hunger and commitment on the ball I don’t think today and allowed ourselves to be forced into errors. We were a little bit sloppy with the ball but that came from the pressure from them as well,” McKinnis continued.
With the Minor Premiership having been sewn up with the Vixens Round 12 win over the Magpies, today’s loss did not affect the Vixens’ ladder position heading into Finals.
“It’s not what you want,” McKinnis conceded. “You don’t like it, but I think often getting hit with what you don’t like is not a bad thing. So we had to sit there and listen to them sing the team song and all that sort of thing so it does hurt, but the fact is we’re playing finals and it reinforces why we’re here and what we want and we don’t want to be going home without it, so we do have to get stuck into it this week, but we do feel good about what we’re doing.”
“[With the] disappointment, park it and move on to next week’s game.”
Veteran goaler, Caitlin Thwaites – who was one of the Vixens best in a losing team, missing just one attempt for the entire day – echoed her coach’s sentiments.
“We kind of mentioned maybe it is the little kick up the bum that we need and thank you Firebirds for giving that to us! You never want to have a loss which causes you to keep learning and keep fixing things up, but if that’s what it takes for us to fix those things, well, thanks very much because we are going to fix them and we’ll come out next week stronger.”
In another bizarre set of circumstances akin to season 2020, the Vixens hosted the Queensland-based Firebirds for today’s Round 13 clash, in a match that was a part of the League’s Indigenous Round celebrations. The Cairns venue was a makeshift ‘Pop Up Arena’, transformed on the site of an old Bunnings store.
“I loved it, it’s a really great venue,” Thwaites enthused. “When we’ve have been in Queensland, we have had reduced crowds, but it was great to have such a vocal crowd here today supporting netball.”
“We knew that the majority of them were going for the Queensland Firebirds,” Thwaites laughed, “but it was just really nice to see so many netball fans out here and bring netball to the community up north which was great.”
This Vixens will now re-set and look towards their final match of the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball regular season, when they face the Sunshine Coast Lightning in Round 14.
The Lightning will host the Vixens at USC Stadium on Sunday 27 September, with the match being broadcast live on Channel 9 from 1pm.
Round 13 Statistics
Mwai Kumwenda: 22/24 (91.7%)
Caitlin Thwaites: 17/18 (94.4%)
Tegan Philip: 8/10 (80%)
Jo Weston: 4 deflections, 3 gained balls, 2 intercepts, 2 pickups
Kate Eddy: 3 gained balls, 2 intercepts, 2 deflections, 2 pickups
Kadie-Ann Dehaney: 5 deflections, 1 gained ball, 1 pickup
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