Vixens deliver the perfect start

3 years ago

The Melbourne Vixens have started the 2015 ANZ Championship season in the best possible way defeating the Mojo Pulse 64-40 in front of 4,542 fans on Sunday afternoon at Margaret Court Arena.

Making history in playing the first ever netball match at the refurbished venue, the Pulse were unable to buck the trend, still without a win against the Vixens in the ANZ Championship.

The win also continues the Vixens' remarkable run of being undefeated in Round One matches.

Taking to the court with the same starting seven that delivered the 2014 premiership, the Vixens jumped out of the blocks as match MVP and newly wed goaler, Tegan Philip led from the front to help the Vixens establish a 14-6 quarter time scoreline.

Just three goals into the second quarter, Philip surpassed Caitlin Thwaites as the Vixens' all time scorer (1186), on her way to finishing with 35 goals from 41 attempts.

Recovering from an ankle injury during the pre-season, Philip acknowledged the scoring achievement but said it was important for the team to get through the game.

"I was made aware of it earlier, but my focus was to go out and win with the girls and do what I needed to do for the team," she said.

"I was happy and I think everyone was keen to get round one out of the way."

"It's nice to have that game done, especially coming back from the ankle injury, now we can move on to next week."

Philip shared the load with colleague Karyn Bailey (29 from 35) on the shooting front, but it was the Vixens' clinical ball movement that sliced open the Pulse defence.

The timing and passing of midcourters Madi Robinson and Liz Watson provided regular supply to both Philip and Bailey, while the Pulse struggled to get any consistency into their offence.

Bianca Chatfield smothered Pulse goal attack Ameliaranne Wells in the first quarter and later Jodi Brown, forcing Irene van Dyk to partner Brown in the circle after quarter time.

Suffocating perimeter defence from Kate Moloney forced the Pulse to look exclusively for van Dyk who shared the spoils in an entertaining match-up with 2014 ANZ Championship All-Star goal keeper Geva Mentor.

Extending their margin to 11 goals at half time, it would be one-way traffic for the Vixens, who missed just five shots in the second half to run away with a 24-goal win.

Having loss two practice matches to the Pulse in Wellington just a fortnight ago, coachSimone McKinnis said the manner of the win was the most pleasing.

"When we were over there a few weeks ago, our defence was quite poor and to that we had to lift today, and they did that," McKinnis said.

"I'm obviously happy with the game and I can still say that there were patches there where we weren't doing the work, whether it be not having the options to ball or let off the defensive pressure."

"To come out in our first game with some of the ball work and ball skills, there were some really great passages of play."

Resisting temptation make changes in the final quarter following a 17-goal three-quarter time lead, McKinnis said a 20-goal last quarter vindicated her decision to keep the starting seven on court for 60 minutes.

"I felt for our first game, I just wanted them to play it out."

"I wanted them to make sure that it was a push right to end. To score 20 goals in that last quarter indicates that it was a push, which is important for us going ahead."

The Melbourne Vixens return to Hisense Arena in Round Two, hosting the Adelaide Thunderbirds next Sunday at 12.18pm.

Melbourne Vixens 64 defeated Mojo Pulse 40

Vixens Shooting Statistics

Tegan Philip 35/41 (85%)

Karyn Bailey 29/35 (88%)

Pulse Shooting Statistics

Irene van Dyk 20/22 (91%)

Jodi Brown 17/21 (81%)

Ameliaranne Wells 3/7 (43%)

Chemist Warehouse Match MVP: Tegan Philip (Vixens)

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