Melbourne Vixens co-captain Kate Moloney has played her 150th national league game in today’s Round 8 match of the 2023 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season.
Written by Amelia Barnes
Moloney is the first Vixens player to reach this distinguished milestone. Tegan Philip was previously the most capped Vixen, playing 133 games for the club over 10 years, while Bianca Chatfield played 111 games for the Vixens in addition to 133 with the Melbourne Phoenix over a massive 17-year netball career.
There are few current SSN players who have played 150 games, and even fewer to do so for the one club. In this category, Moloney joins the elite company of Romelda Aiken-George (who played 198 games for the Queensland Firebirds prior to joining the NSW Swifts), and Gabi Simpson, who hit 150 games for the Queensland Firebirds in Round 5 this year.
Vixens coach Simone McKinnis OAM remembers giving Moloney her first contract in 2013, describing it as “one of the best signings for the club.”
“She always had that competitiveness and the love for the team. That's been there since day one,” McKinnis said.
Moloney played seven games in her first season before becoming the Vixens’ starting wing defence in 2014. She played in her first grand final that year, winning the 2014 ANZ Championship over the Queensland Firebirds by 11 goals.
Moloney recalls the foundation of SSN in 2017 as a turning point in her career. In the inaugural season, she became the Vixens captain, established herself as a predominant centre, and led a young squad to a minor premiership following the departure of the club’s most experienced players Madi Browne (106 Vixens caps) and Geva Mentor (83 Vixens caps).
At just 24 years of age, Moloney became the club’s second most experienced player.
“We had a core group of young girls who loved this club so much and they wanted to stay, and they wanted to be successful not only for that year, but for so many years to come,” said Moloney.
“That was all led by Simone. She put her hand up and said, ‘I'm staying’ and then we had the likes of Tegan Philip, Chloe Watson, Liz Watson, Jo Weston, and Emily Mannix all follow, along with Mwai Kumwenda who signed on that year.
“We were seen as a team that probably wasn't going to be so successful that year, and we ended up minor premiers.”
2017 also marked the beginning of a rivalry between the Vixens and the star-studded new Melbourne netball team on the block, the Collingwood Magpies. Moloney said, “To have that rivalry in Melbourne and to beat them in round one … It's one of my most memorable games.”
Moloney’s Diamonds debut followed in game three of the 2017 Constellation Cup. She continued to reach new heights over the coming years, being named the Sharelle McMahon Medal (Vixens MVP) Runner Up in both 2018 and 2019.
2020 was a particularly special season, concluding with the Vixens’ first championship win in the Super Netball era.
Moloney’s performance and leadership were integral to overcoming the heavily disrupted 2020 and 2021 seasons due to COVID, and she was awarded the Sharelle McMahon Medal both years.
Five years after her Diamonds debut, Moloney made her first appearance at a pinnacle international event during the 2022 Commonwealth Games. She played the full 60 minutes of the gold medal match, contributing 34 feeds in the momentous 55-51 win over Jamaica.
Moloney continues to impress in 2023 at both wing defence and centre and was recently named in the 2023-24 Diamonds squad ahead of the World Cup in Cape Town.
To play her 150th national league game at home is an experience Moloney says she’ll always remember. “I do feel very lucky and very grateful not only to be playing 150 games, but 150 games for the one club, and a club that's given me so much. It’s a club that I love, and I want to repay them for every opportunity that they've given me.”
For fans, it’s not a Vixens game without hearing one of Moloney’s inspiring addresses during a team huddle or seeing her signature point and clap move following a momentum shifting defensive gain.
“If there's something on the line – a game or a ball – Moloney is the one that's going to make it happen,” said coach McKinnis.
“There's no one more passionate, enthusiastic, and committed to the Vixens and the team than a Kate Moloney.”
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