The Melbourne Vixens’ dream start to the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season has continued, with a 63-51 win over the league’s most successful team, the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
The Round 3 match was significant for many reasons; it was a Melbourne Vixens ‘home’ game hosted at USC Stadium on the Sunshine Coast, and the match marked the conclusion of the first-ever full SSN round to be played midweek. But most significantly, the match saw Vixens Co-Captain, Kate Moloney, bring up her 100th game for the Melbourne Vixens, an achievement that has only been completed by two others before her, Bianca Chatfield and Tegan Philip. And as if there weren’t already enough things to celebrate, the Round 3 milestone match was also Moloney’s 50th as Captain.
It was a fairy tale outing for Moloney and her Vixens. Not only did she guide her team to a 12-goal win, with a performance that included 13 goal assists, 22 feeds, 3 pickups and an intercept, but she was also awarded as Nissan’s most valuable player.
Melbourne Vixens Head Coach, Simone McKinnis OAM, said she was thrilled with Moloney’s form just three games into the season.
“This was her third game [this season] and they’ve all been really good,” McKinnis reiterated. “I think she had a great game [and] I’ve actually really enjoyed the way she’s been playing…she’s in good shape.”
The always humble Moloney was however keen to focus on her team’s performance.
"It definitely didn't feel like we were up that much," she said about her team's strong start.
"We knew the Lightning were going to come hard at us, they're a super quality team, but I'm really proud of our girls to be able to push it out all the way to the end."
Despite a dominant 18-8 second quarter, the Vixens had mixed fortunes with their shooting at times. Whilst Mwai Kumwenda shot with 100% accuracy on her one-point shots, she failed to make either of her two-point attempts. Meanwhile, Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip shot at 75% and 50% on their two-point shots respectively.
“That’s the learnings we have as a team…scores can change so quickly with the [Suncorp] Super Shot,” McKinnis continued.
“[But] the players are enjoying it. Our attitude right from the word go was to embrace it…you know, we’ve had some learnings along the way about when to embrace it and when not to, and I think we were smart a couple of times in just going for the one point… They [the players] embrace it, they’ve got the feel for it, and it’s their decision to make out there on court.”
A key midcourt match-up was between the Lightning’s Laura Scherian and new Vixen, Kate Eddy. Although the two were mis-matched for height, McKinnis was really pleased with how her new wing defence tackled the Australian Diamond in Scherian.
“I thought she [Eddy] did a great job, particularly in the first half, all that pressure and holding it up…it was hard work. Scherian’s got speed and fantastic ball skills so it was a big job for Kate Eddy, and for the most part I think she did a really good job.”
Next up the Vixens take on the Adelaide Thunderbirds in another ‘home’ clash on the Sunshine Coast. The Round 4 game on Sunday 16 August will commence at 3.30pm, and will be broadcast live on Telstra TV and the Netball Live App.
Round 3 Statistics
Mwai Kumwenda: 21/23 (91.3%)
Caitlin Thwaites: 17/24 (70.8%)
Tegan Philip: 19/25 (76%)
Emily Mannix: 7 gained balls, 5 deflections, 3 intercepts
Jo Weston: 3 gained balls, 5 deflections, 1 intercept, 6 pick ups
Kate Eddy: 1 gained ball, 1 deflection, 1 intercept, 1 pick up, 1 goal assist
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