Temperatures increased both outside and on the court as the Vixens snuck home to record their second straight win against Adelaide Thunderbirds by two goals 58-56. It was an intense battle from the first whistle with neither side willing to give an inch of space.
After a tight hit out yesterday afternoon, both sides backed up their impressive efforts again today with their slick ball movement and creativity on court coming to the fore.
The Vixens came out with a real fire in the belly spearheaded by Rahni Samason with the goal attack impressing with her range and accuracy. The physicality inside the circle did not seem to faze Mwai Kumwenda or Samason as they extended the lead to five goals in the early stages of the quarter.
Sharni Lambden picked up where she left off, toiling away in wing defence with her long arms wreaking havoc through the midcourt and around circle edge. Her tenacity and drive through the centre proved to be an issue for the Thunderbirds.
A timeout from Adelaide shifted some momentum back in their favour, stringing together two goals as Georgie Horjus upped the ante around circle edge. Things tightened up inside the circle for the Vixens with Latanya Wilson entering the fray and replacing Matilda Garrett, though that did not disrupt Samason's rhythm.
There was a renewed level of confidence and excitement from the Thunderbirds with Lenize Potgieter getting the start and combining effortlessly with Tippah Dwan under the post to apply early scoreboard pressure.
The Vixens pushed out to as much as a five goal lead before the Thunderbirds clawed their way back into the quarter to head into quarter time up by a goal.
Ruby Barkmeyer made her way onto the court in goal attack to shake things up in the second quarter but that did not stop Adelaide from piling on the offensive pressure, sneaking out to a handy four goal buffer.
The defensive work of Olivia Lewis and Emily Mannix started to heat up to nullify the influence of Potgieter under the post. The duo's long intimidating reach put off Dwan and Potgieter as the Vixens started to wrestle back control and create a two goal lead.
The midcourt combinations really started to hum with Liz Watson taking charge and Hannah Mundy imposing herself through the centre, up against Tayla Williams and Hannah Petty.
It was a seesawing affair with neither side able to really assert themselves on the contest and gain a sense of continuity. Vixens squad member Gabby Coffey made her way onto the court for the first time in season 2022, with the defender showcasing her reach and leap in the final moments of the second quarter.
With scores tied at half time the Vixens made some minor alterations with Kate Moloney pulling on the centre bib, shifting Mundy to wing defence. The intensity only increased with both sides hustling hard, but once again it was Adelaide who held sway, establishing a two goal lead.
Adelaide ramped up the pressure in the final minutes of the third term to cement the lead and control proceedings heading into the final change.
With the game on the line the Vixens dug deep to work their way back into the contest and eat into the deficit thanks to the long limbs of Mannix down back, and the accuracy of Samason and Kumwenda.
It turned into an epic super shot shootout with neither side shying away from the long bomb. The lead chopped and changed as the clock ticked down but some Lewis magic gifted the Vixens with possession and a two goal win.
The Vixens will now look ahead to Team Girls Cup at the State Netball Centre on March 25-27. Tickets are available now to see some of the world’s best netballers compete in one location.
GS - Mwai Kumwenda
GA - Rahni Samason
WA - Liz Watson
C - Hannah Mundy
WD - Sharni Lambden
GD - Olivia Lewis
GK - Emily Mannix
GS - Lenize Potgieter
GA – Tippah Dwan
WA – Georgie Horjus
C – Maisie Nankivell
WD - Hannah Petty
GD - Matilda Garrett
GK - Shamera Sterling