The Melbourne Vixens have fought back from behind after a strong start from the Queensland Firebirds, to claim the first match of the Suncorp Super Netball season, 73-61.
Trailing by four at the first quarter and with scores level at half time, the Vixens gained momentum in the second half, scoring 20 goals to the Firebirds 13 before dominating the final quarter.
Vixens head coach, Simone McKinnis said the team grew across the game after a slow start.
“The Firebirds had some really great defensive pressure, so we were under that and it took us a little while to adapt, but we got there eventually,” said McKinnis.
“They have one of the toughest attacking combinations to compete against and I think we were quite slow defensively at first and it took us a little while to adjust and adapt. Once we had a bit of pressure up front, then we started to get some of the rewards behind.”
Goalers Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip were unstoppable under the ring, with a joint accuracy of 97% for the day. Caitlin looked right at home back in the Vixens colours.
“Caitlin has obviously prepared as much as anybody so it’s a nice reward for her to step out there and feel good about what she is doing. 50 goals is not a bad first game,” said McKinnis.
Leading into the second half, it was the impressive combination of the centre-court trio of Watson, Moloney and Ingles that elevated the pressure on the Firebirds and lifted the home crowd at Melbourne Arena.
“We’ve got to be strong onto the ball, particularly with the Firebirds they can really go hard one on one. I think we learned something invaluable in terms of that commitment, that drive and the hunger,” said McKinnis.
Goal keeper Emily Mannix was named Nissan Player of the Match, finishing with two huge intercepts at pivotal stages in the game to kick-start the comeback.
“It was hard work, it was a hard game but I’m really happy with how we pushed and built,” said McKinnis.
The Vixens return to Melbourne Arena next Sunday afternoon to take on the GIANTS.