The Melbourne Vixens will travel to Brisbane to take on reigning premiers, the Queensland Firebirds, in Round 5 of Suncorp Super Netball.
Both teams are coming off solid wins, with the Firebirds defeating the NSW Swifts by nine goals, whilst the Vixens were 11 goal winners over the West Coast Fever.
When they last played in Round 10 2016, the Firebirds were 12 goal victors, 56 – 44.
The Firebirds have lost some star-power in the off-season, with formidable defensive duo Laura Geitz and Clare McMeniman, not playing in 2017, and Centre, Kimberley Ravaillion, moving to the Magpies.
However, they did retain some key players to their team – including shooting duo Romelda Aiken and Gretel Tippett, and midcourters Caitlyn Nevins and Gabi Simpson.
The two teams have played on 21 occasions, with the win/loss ratio slightly skewed in the Firebirds favour (Firebirds 11 wins to the Vixens 10).
Melbourne Vixens’ Captain, Kate Moloney, said that the Firebirds are a hard team to face.
“It’s always a tough game when you come-up against the Firebirds,” Moloney said.
“They’ve been a great team for so many years now, and when you’ve got someone like Romelda Aiken in Goal Shooter, it’s going to be about full-court defence all the way down the court.”
Defender, Emily Mannix, has had a standout start to the season, including a Most Valuable Player performance last week against the Fever, but will have a tough task this round against the Firebirds’ Aiken.
Aiken is the league’s second highest scorer, with 170 goals from the first four rounds, and has had the most goal attempts in the competition.
The other end of the court also boasts an intriguing battle, with agile shooter Mwai Kumwenda, up against the Firebirds’ Goal Keeper, Laura Clemesha.
Clemesha sits fifth in the league for deflections, with 17.
Moloney said that the Vixens were continuing to focus on consistency at training this week.
“We are just making sure that we get that four-quarter consistency,” Moloney said.
“We improved on the weekend, but again we just need to make sure that we put the pressure on for the whole game and make sure we convert as well.”
The Firebirds will host the Melbourne Vixens on Saturday 18 March at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre from 7pm ADST.