The Melbourne Vixens have fought hard against a determined Adelaide Thunderbirds team, defeating them 63-57 to regain their strong momentum from before the World Cup break.
While the team has been apart for a month, and with a few tired bodies, the Vixens persisted across all four quarters with the Thunderbirds refusing to give up.
Coach Simone McKinnis OAM was more than happy to get the win in the first round back and take home six points.
“It was a hard grinding game, and I thought Thunderbirds played really well; I’m happy to get through like we did,” said McKinnis.
“I think we were a little bit off it defensively, but I also think we did do some great stuff in attack, in our movement of the ball and I like that we didn’t pull away in the moments where we needed to hold onto.
“I was really enjoying seeing Caitlin out the front of Tegan, so I wanted to see how long it was going to work for us.
With the league allowing an extra two players on the bench for rounds 10 and 11, Kim Commane and Jacqui Newton joined the team, as well as Mwai Kumwenda who replaced injured Ine-Mari Venter.
“MJ has been playing and training as normal in our match play for the last four weeks, and there was an opportunity with Ine-Mari out and being able to have the extra players, so there’s nothing like getting your head in the game knowing you could be out there at any minute. It’s great for her to be back out there.”
With the four international travellers returning home on Wednesday, McKinnis was pleased with how they handled themselves.
“I am glad to get through that one. It was always going to be tough.
“Even though we had a really good week and they all felt good when they came back, they’ve returned from a contest like that and with it comes an emotional toll, and you start to feel that.
“But I’m really proud of the team and the way they’ve come back and stepped out on the court, absolutely rapt to have the six points.”
Tegan Philip, who today played her 112th game for the Vixens and became the most-capped player at the club, also took out Nissan’s Player of the Match, and contributed 33 of the 63 goals.
“Tegan did really well in her milestone match and was nice and sharp in goal shooter.”
Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Renae Ingles dominated the defence end, both claiming three game-changing intercepts and providing an immense amount of pressure against a new-look attack end for the Thunderbirds.
Jo Weston and Emily Mannix played their roles with three intercepts between them and four gained balls, having a strong presence and back up bringing the ball down.
Kate Moloney and Liz Watson proved they are still a winning combination, transitioning the court cautiously into our star goalers, with Caitlin Thwaites also having an impressive game after travelling back from a gruelling Liverpool series.
The Vixens will return to Melbourne Arena next weekend to take on the West Coast Fever on Saturday 3 Aug at 3pm.
Round 11 will be Kids Round, celebrating NetSetGO and junior netball participants with a whole range of activities on offer throughout the day, including a disco in ‘The Den’, spot prizes during the match and if you wear your NetSetGO t-shirt, you can collect a showbag at the Melbourne Vixens information booth.
If you make a group booking for 10+ people to attend the game, you'll go in the draw to have a Melbourne Vixens player attend a clinic at your NetSetGO centre. For general ticketing, starting from $14.00, book here.