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Round 8: Vixens vs GIANTS

Match Day Guide

🦊 Round 8: Vixens vs GIANTS Match Day Guide

Match Report | Vixens vs Thunderbirds

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1 month ago

The Melbourne Vixens have claimed two in a row with a thrilling win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds (54-53) in their first home game of the season at John Cain Arena on Wurundjeri Country.

After two losses to the reigning premiers in pre-season matches, the stage was set for a fierce Round 2 battle for the Vixens and the 1-goal thriller didn’t disappoint.

The match had its ebbs and flows, each team taking advantage of the opposition’s lulls throughout the game; the Super Shot was the Vixens’ power play as Kiera Austin kept a win within reach at every break.

In front of over 7,300 fans, the Vixens held on with a clinical performance, taking the win with an evidently well-rehearsed final 50 seconds.

Q1 | Vixens 14–11 Thunderbirds

The saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, and although Jo Weston had been named in the side, the Vixens lined up with the same starting seven as the previous week.

Intensity was high from the first whistle with the Vixens in control across each third, fighting tooth and nail from each mistake the Thunderbirds made early.

The defensive pairing of Rudi Ellis and Emily Mannix kept close guard on Romelda Aiken-George and Lauren Frew, and was there for almost every rebound, while in attack it was evident the Vixens were keeping the ball low to avoid the reach of Shamera Sterling-Humphrey.

It’s hard to believe Zara Walters was stepping out on court for only her second SSN match, with last week’s debutant a dominant force in attack, directing play around the circle and contributing defensively with touches down the court.

Q2 | Vixens 27–25 Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds made a few changes at the first break that caught the Vixens off guard, initially struggling to get adapt to the new line up and having to play catch up for the quarter.

After missing Round 1 with a calf injury, Jo Weston was injected into the game halfway through the quarter in an effort to shut down Georgie Horjus who had stepped into GA. Weston’s one-on-one tagging style was needed to contain the zippy goaler, leaving Mannix to move back to the circle.

Austin drained a crucial super shot late – one of six for the match – to restore her side's narrow lead heading into the main break.

Q3 | Vixens 40–40 Thunderbirds

The see-sawing scoreline continued, and the Thunderbirds managed their biggest lead of four goals in the third quarter.

The Vixens’ attack end needed to overcome a three-pronged defence with Latanya Wilson stepping up the pressure in WD, however Kate Moloney – who was named Player of the Match – continued to find open space on circle edge and controlled the ball smoothly down the middle corridor.

The experienced pulley system of Weston and Mannix forced the Thunderbirds to work hard in their effort to convert their turnovers.

Q4 | Vixens 54–53 Thunderbirds

In a match featuring nine lead changes, with scores even coming out of the final break the game had reset with 15 minutes to play.

The Vixens’ attack end was putting in the hard yards, controlling possession and taking all the time they could to move the ball around and reach circle edge, and in defence did everything they could to keep the Thunderbirds from retaining possession.

In the dying minutes the home crowd lifted, getting behind the Vixens and guiding them to a one-goal win – the winning goal shot by Austin in the final seconds.

THE NUMBERS

  • 60: Another match to Zara Walters’ name, with the midcourter playing out another full 60 minutes in her second game. Walters looked right at home with 27 centre pass receives, 30 feeds and four pickups.
  • 82: Player of the Match Kate Moloney ended the game with 82 Nissan Net Points, the only Vixen in the top 5. She managed 31 feeds and 12 goal assists to help her team to victory.
  • 7,300+: It felt like an eternity since Vixens fans had seen Jo Weston step out on court, and when she did in the second quarter, the roar of over 7,300 voices showed how much she’d been missed.

THE COACH SAYS

Head coach Simone McKinnis was pleased with her side’s performance and ability to hold onto the game and take the win.

“It was a great contest from start to finish. It was hard work,” said McKinnis.

“I was just really pleased that we were able to wrestle things back in our favour at different times of the game and in moments at the end where we were able to control it.”

“We had a couple of games against the Thunderbirds in the pre-season, and in both games, we probably made the same mistakes in playing to their strengths... tonight, it was just about working the ball, keeping it low, short and sharp, but it’s also about the mindset. You’ve still got to play your game.”

Praising her captain, and Player of the Match, Kate Moloney, McKinnis said:

“Sometimes it’s the word, sometimes it’s the gesture... she knows what needs to happen and she helps everyone else around her to make those things happen.”

NEXT UP

Next up the Vixens head north to face the GIANTS at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena on Sunday 28 April.

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