A rollercoaster few weeks was left behind, as the Vixens pulled together to overcome the top-of-the-table Sunshine Coast Lightning, in front of a Melbourne-based crowd.
Despite not having played for three weeks, the Vixens went in to round 9 with no excuses, determined to bring a new Vixens style to their second half of the season.
The first quarter started strong, with the intensity of the defenders high. Mannix slotted straight back in after spending six weeks on the sideline with a fractured knuckle, supported by Eddy and Weston, the defensive unit made the Lightning work for their two goal lead at quarter time.
A slow and messy second quarter from the Vixens saw the Lightning break away. A Mundy-Moloney swap into C and WA injected some confidence into the team, but it wasn’t enough to take it to Lightning who managed a seven-goal lead at the main break.
Whatever was said at half time is exactly what the Vixens needed, as a fired up side emerged from the changeroom. Taking control of the game with a 5-0 dominance in the third quarter, set up the team for a thrilling second half.
The cool and calm goalers took their chances, with Super Shots and measured goals to edge over the line in the dying minutes.
Head coach Simone McKinnis was thrilled with the win - a relief after an undesirable first half of the season.
“A win is fantastic. They had to work pretty hard for it in the end, so I’m really excited for the group,” said McKinnis.
“Not having been here all of last year, and to have that win down here for the first time in a long time is great. I was really happy for our supporters who were here today who were able to see us win, because it’s been a while for them.
Having come off a bye and a rescheduled game, McKinnis admitted there was cause for concern with the team not having played a professional game since the Magpies game in Sydney.
“It was one of my concerns, but we’ve had a really solid, tough and hard three weeks and we’ve made the most of it. I knew they were ready to get out there and compete.
“Today was about the whole team's defence. It was going back to that hard one on one, right across the court. The focus was putting on pressure every step of the way.”
You could sniff a good game from Kaylia Stanton early, with her drives solid and positioning perfect, allowing the attacking end to open up. A confidence that Vixens fans hadn’t seen as yet shone through, as she was awarded a well-deserved Nissan Player of the Match.
“I thought Kaylia was great. A team mentality that we’ve been working on is that ‘fearless’ mentality and backing ourselves, and she really took that on.
“Your confidence and ability to back yourself comes from the work you do in the lead up to a game, and she has been working exceptionally hard, doing the work and putting the shots up. I’m really happy for her.”
The Vixens will host the NSW Swifts next week in their first official home match back at John Cain Arena since Round 4.
Members will be able to redeem tickets at the following times:
Full Court Reserved & Cheer Squad members - Monday at 10am
Flexi Plus, Flexi & Beyond the Court Plus members - Tuesday at 11.30am
More details can be found here with the page updated frequently.