Round 12 of Suncorp Super Netball saw the Melbourne Vixens head to Australia’s Capital Territory to take on GIANTS Netball in Sunday afternoon netball
The match started with great ferocity, as you would expect at this late stage in the season, with ladder leaders the Vixens out to continue their winning streak, and a strong GIANTS outfit looking to add another victory to their tally.
The game started well for the Vixens with a quick ball to Goal Shooter, Mwai Kumwenda to secure the first goal, but it was quickly followed by a goal to the GIANTS.
From the start the strength of the GIANTS defence right down the court reduced options for the Vixens, who at times struggled to find space to move the ball.
A Vixens held ball gave the GIANTS a chance to score and they weren’t going to waste it.
A rebound by Vixen, Emily Mannix saw the side with a chance to get one back but unfortunately, they didn’t capitalise on the opportunity – which you must in these high-pressure games – and it was back to the GIANTS.
The Vixens seemed to be lacking their normal class with a few errors allowing the GIANTS to sneak ahead.
With under eight minutes on the clock a tactical timeout was called and the Vixens came back looking stronger, and worked hard in the final minutes to reduce the margin, scores were 15-11 in the GIANTS favour at the first break.
The second quarter saw the GIANTS score first, but a lovely high ball into Kumwenda, with her trademark leap, gave the Vixens their first goal for the quarter.
Emily Mannix and Jo Weston were relentless in defence and kept coming against GIANTS goalers, Susan Pettitt and Jo Harten, who had swapped roles for the match and were impressive. Harten went into the main break with 19 of her team’s 28 goals.
Kate Moloney and Liz Watson were very much sharing the load through the middle and were just short of equal on goal assists.
Some of Kumwenda’s trademark work in goals in the second quarter and her 100% accuracy helped the Vixens to further reduce the margin to 3 goals at halftime (28-25).
The third and fourth quarters saw multiple changes to the Vixens side – the first time this has happened this season. In the third, Khao Watts, came into Wing Defence, with Chloe Watson off, and later in the term Kumwenda went off, and for the first time in 2017 Emma Ryde hit the court as Goal Shooter.
In the third the Vixens seemed to lose their way and it showed on the scoreboard, with the biggest break time margin for the day (42-35).
The fourth quarter brought more change for the Vixens, with Kumwenda back in and some positional swaps in the midcourt, with Moloney to Wing Defence, Watson to Centre and Watts to Wing Attack.
Right until the final siren the Vixens fought, however a classy GIANTS outfit proved too strong, prevailing 56-52, with Sam Poolman and Bec Bulley (match MVP) an outstanding unit in defence and Serena Guthrie, hard to control down the court.
The win saw the Vixens concede top spot to the GIANTS, so there is no doubt this week they will be looking for redemption as they take on the Adelaide Thunderbirds in their last home game for the season.
Vixens shooting statistics
Mwai Kumwenda 34/36 (94%)
Tegan Philip 15/19 (79%)
Emma Ryde 3/3 (100%)
GIANTS shooting statistics
Jo Harten 36/42 (86%)
Susan Pettitt 20/24 (83%)