The Melbourne Vixens have ended their 2021 season in heartbreaking fashion tonight, going down to the Queensland Firebirds by four, 58-62.
With no chance at finals, the Vixens went into the match desperate to finish their season with a win, after a tumultuous year that has seen them pack up their lives again to keep the season alive.
There were plenty of positive signs from the first whistle, with the confidence and competitiveness clearly on the Vixens side. Once the Firebirds responded, the game was on, with full court pressure from both sides causing a hotly contested game that was anyone’s until the final minute.
However, it was a familiar story of the Vixens’ 2021 season that haunted them in their final game of the year - the inability to convert off turnovers and centre passes caused headaches.
While a loss is not what the Vixens came for, head coach Simone McKinnis was positive about aspects of the game which nearly saw the Vixens take the win.
“It was a great contest between two teams desperate for a win,” said McKinnis.
“I thought we had some great moments and great patches defensively and in attack, and we worked hard and fought it out right until the end.”
“I think that we came out in the third quarter and took it on again, and really got ourselves back into the game...we just had little moments in that last quarter that let it slip a bit, but certainly they worked hard and fought all the way to the end.”
The young attackers showed they’re here for business, impressing McKinnis in the game.
“I think everyone had their moments across the game, but certainly Ruby came on really well.
“With Hannah and Ruby working across that transverse line, that’s pretty impressive and a great experience for them.”
As the season draws to a close, McKinnis reflected on the year that turned out not quite as she’d hoped.
"We do have some leaders that support (Kate), and I think in a tough season like this, that’s been super important and I’ve been really impressed with the leadership across the squad this year.
“That’s part of what you’re reflecting on - in a season like this, there’s a heap to learn, and you learn about yourself, your squad.
“I certainly have learned that I have amazing staff and an amazing group of athletes that have gone above and beyond to keep competing this season. I’m really fortunate.”
Having had to move home matches interstate, and with a fixture that didn’t resemble anything like originally planned, the Vixens thank their family, friends, members and fans for the support they have felt from afar.
Pre-season starts now. And in 2022, you’ll see the Vixens team you know.
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