#TheBattle for cross-town rivals Magpies Netball and Melbourne Vixens was on from the first pass!
The first quarter played out goal for goal early, with neither team able to break the others momentum initially. Just before the first five minutes were over, Magpies Defender, Sharni Layton interrupted the Vixens flow with an intercept that resulted in the black and white breaking away to extend to a two-goal lead.
It wasn’t long though, before the Vixens powered back to even the scores, and again it was back to goal for goal play.
Mwai Kumwenda continued her impressive form from last week’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) performance – with her fancy footwork in the goals and jumping skills earning her the new nickname from broadcast of Michael Jordan.
As the first quarter continued, neither team was willing to give an inch and the fierce competition was nonstop throughout.
Melbourne Vixens Head Coach, Simone McKinnis commented after the game just how tough it was.
“It was a really tough game. The intensity was on from word go,” she said.
The Vixens went into the first break with a three-goal lead (15-18).
In the second term, the Vixens defensive pressure made it hard for the Magpies to convert in their goal third. The tough Centre and Wing match-ups were enthralling, with both teams giving their all, in both attack and defence.
Some quick work from the Magpies in the final minutes of the second term reduced the Vixens lead to one, which it stayed into the main break (30-31).
The third quarter kicked-off with a surge from the Vixens as they found their groove, and with 11 minutes and 30 seconds on the clock the Magpies called a tactical timeout in a bid to stall the Vixens momentum.
Shae Brown came on for the Magpies after the timeout and proved a good support to shooter, Caitlin Thwaites, as well as scoring 5 from 5 of her own for the quarter.
But the Vixens consistent effort right down the court limited the oppositions impact and helped them extend their lead 42-46 at three-quarter time.
Into the fourth, and Vixens Goal Attack, Tegan Philip showed her grit, composing herself after a hard fall to secure the team’s first point in the final term.
With the Vixens looking to make it two from two and the Magpies out for redemption in front of a home crowd more than 6,500 strong, both teams continued to put it all on the line right to the end.
The Vixens work rate was exceptional throughout and in the final minutes, some smart work and a great intercept from Liz Watson (who was later named match MVP), allowed the Vixens to extend their lead.
At the final siren, after another hard fought, physical battle against cross-town rivals, the Vixens finished deserving victors by four (54-60), with McKinnis saying how proud and pleased she was with the young team.
“It is great to see the girls’ confidence growing and I’m really pleased with their four-quarter effort tonight,” she said.