The Melbourne Vixens have suffered a heartbreaking loss at home to the Sunshine Coast Lightning in the final minutes of the game, going down 55-56.
A 17-goal first quarter for the Vixens saw them build momentum early, but the Lightning were always in close reach. It wasn’t until the final three minutes of the final quarter that saw the visiting team take control of the game.
The Vixens were hoping to secure second position on the ladder for a double chance in finals but will now need to overcome the emerging Collingwood Magpies next weekend.
Weston and Mannix worked hard in defence to combat an accurate Proscovia and dynamic Koenen, finishing the game with two intercepts, five gained balls and ten deflections between them. Mwai Kumwenda came on in the final quarter into goal shooter for Thwaites in an attempt to mix it up.
Vixens coach Simone McKinnis OAM felt the game was a great contest but was disappointed they were unable to hold on to the lead in the end.
“There were some really good elements to our game today, but certainly they came out much stronger than us in the second half,” McKinnis said.
“We had the opportunity to come away with the bonus point in the second quarter and our decision making saw us lose that opportunity.”
“I think there was some critical moments and crucial balls that went missing from our end.”
“We brought on MJ, because we’ve got to find out combinations, and we thought it was going to provide something different down there.
“We had the option to put Caitlin Thwaites in goal attack, but probably didn’t have enough movement for us. There’s a lot we’ve got to learn from these things now.”
“I thought it was a really good contest, disappointing that we dropped off in the last part of the quarters but there were some positives that we have to pull out too.”
“I thought we just stopped doing the hard running and our timing was off. But there was some brilliant stuff there.”
Looking to next week McKinnis is confident the team will evaluate the performance and utilise the positives to counteract where their game dropped off today.
“We’ll head back to training and have a chat about the game today and reset our focus to the game next week.”
“We need to look at where we can find the space for ourselves, and we need to be able to keep doing the work off the ball and create space to help us.”
“I think that it’s all still there, we’ve got a big match next week against the Magpies, which is going to be a really tough one; they are playing great netball. Then we’ve got to be excited about who we will play in that first final.”
“Once you get to the finals, what happens in the season doesn’t matter.”
Our speedy midcourter and co-vice caption, Liz Watson was Nissan’s Player of the Match, taking a game-changing intercept in the second quarter. Watson stayed strong through transition and was able to hit the top of the goal circle to safely hold possession and get the ball into the hands of the goalers.
Caitlin Thwaites had an impressive game under the ring, contributing 24/26 (92%), while Philip had 26/33 (79%).
Renae Ingles played her final home game at Melbourne Arena in front of a loyal crowd and was able to keep Scherian quiet for most of the game.
The Melbourne Vixens will return to Melbourne Arena next Sunday at 1pm when they’re hosted by the Collingwood Magpies in the final game of the home and away season. Tickets are available from Ticketek. Vixens members will receive a 10% ticket discount, members must quote the password VIXENS14 when purchasing ticket via Ticketek to receive the 10% discount.