2022 SSN Grand Final preview: Melbourne Vixens vs. West Coast Fever

THERE is only one match left in the 2022 Suncorp Super Netball season left. One match to determine who finishes the season with the ultimate prize.

Despite all the drama that is happening in Australian netball at the moment, all of that will be swept aside for a few hours as the West Coast Fever take on the Melbourne Vixens over in Perth in for the 2022 Premiership. These two have been the top two teams and the teams to beat for much of the season, so it is apt that they are the ones ultimately going for the Premiership on the last Sunday of the season.

This is not the first time these two sides have met in a grand final. Back in 2020, it was the Vixens who prevailed after spending over 100 days in a hub due to the pandemic. Despite that game being two seasons ago, both sides have kept the vast majority of their squads from that day, so both sides are well experienced when it comes to grand finals.

However, the Vixens have a vastly less experienced shooting circle this time around, which may be a challenge when it comes to trying to keep up with the volume that the Fever shooters have become known for this season. Speaking of the 2022 season, Sunday’s clash will be the fourth time these two sides have met this season.

First time around, the Vixens emerged with a nine-goal win and the bragging rights as the first team to inflict a loss on the Fever for the year. The Vixens also spent eight percent more of the time in possession, and had fewer turnovers. In the return match back in Perth, the Vixens got off to a strong start again and went on to win by six goals.

Third time around was a very different story though. In the major semi-final, Fever got the ascendency early, and really caught the Vixens on the back foot.

The Fever rightly went on to win by nine goals, and will have taken a lot of confidence from that match knowing they were finally able to beat the Vixens. For the Vixens however, it was one of their poorest performances of the season, and really seemed to have the yips from the get go.

They rectified that some what in the semi final, but still let a healthy lead go, which is a concern heading into a game against a side that is as strong as the Fever. Both teams are littered with stars, so there are sure to be entertaining battles up and down the court.

Up one end for the Fever, we have Jhaniele Fowler and Sasha Glasgow, who have proven to be one almighty partnership for the Fever this season. Although Fowler has shot the vast, vast majority of the goals for the Fever this season, Glasgow has been renowned for doing a mountain of work out the front of the circle, providing a reliable feed into Fowler.

Those two will come up against Diamonds defensive duo Jo Weston and Emily Mannix, and may also come up against former team mate Olivia Lewis, who is now a Vixen. When the Vixens defence are on, they are tough to beat.

Speaking of Diamonds defenders, the other half of the Diamonds’ Commonwealth Games defenders will be lining up for the Fever down the other end, with Sunday Aryang and Courtney Bruce shaping up to be one daunting set of opponents for Vixens’ shooters Mwai Kumwenda and Kiera Austin.

Another battle that is sure to be one to watch is the centre battle between Verity Simmons and Kate Moloney. Both are tough, aggressive and competitive netballers who are not afraid of the contest, and will stop at nothing to give their team the advantage out of the middle.

So ultimately, these two have been the top two sides for much of the year, so who will ultimately come out on top? We find out tomorrow night.

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