Vicious Vixens destroy weakened Thunderbirds

MELBOURNE Vixens annihilated the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) yesterday, winning 60-39 to send an ominous warning to the rest of the competition.

Things started very differently to the way they ended, but the Vixens really lifted and ran away with the match as the Thunderbirds began to feel the absences of key players more and more as the game went on.

Thanks to a handy defensive pick up, it was the Thunderbirds who scored the first goal off an opposition centre pass for the match, and skipped out to an early three goal lead before the Vixens even had their first on the board.

After about four minutes of goal for goal action the Vixens finally pegged one back, but could not consolidate off their next centre pass and make it truly count. All the little things were going right for the visitors, and they were benefitting from it on the scoreboard.

On the eve of the Power Five the Thunderbirds were already five goals ahead and looking a step above the Vixens. The Vixens found themselves in a pretty precarious position at the beginning of the Power Five, but rose to the challenge straight away thanks to an Mwai Kumwenda Super Shot. Kiera Austin followed up with a Super Shot of her own and all of a sudden it was a vastly tighter game.

Despite seeing their lead slip away the Thunderbirds largely decided to focus on the regular goals, as their brief foray into attempting Super Shots did not prove fruitful. The Thunderbirds recovered a bit of their lead to take a three goal lead into the first change, but it was already proving to be a game that could go either way.

The visitors again started strongly in the second term, and were quickly out to as much as six goals in front. Eventually the Vixens started to kick into gear a bit and were finally picking up the defensive gains they had been lacking earlier in the match, and in the space of three minutes two thirds of the Thunderbirds’ lead was gone.

After a quick time out and regroup the Thunderbirds were able to restore a bit more of their lead, but the Vixens were a bit more up and about then they had been earlier in the match and as such worked their way back into the game and drew level again just after the Power Five started.

The Vixens were on a roll, and with both Austin and Kumwenda on fire from range were looking very ominous. The Thunderbirds tried to keep pace, but their long range shots proved in vain. The Thunderbirds only managed eight goals in the second term, so at half time the Vixens were up by eight goals and both the Vixens players and the John Cain Arena crowd were up and about.

Adelaide started the third term fairly strongly and ate a little bit into the deficit, but then the Vixens retook control of the match and saw their lead grow even bigger than what it was at half-time.

The Thunderbirds were really feeling Tippah Dwan’s absence, with things flowing into their attack not as smoothly as it normally would. There was a clear divide growing ever bigger between the sides, and at the final change the margin had blown out to 17 goals.

It did not improve from there for the Thunderbirds, as the Vixens continued to win the defensive tips and gains and their shooters were rewarding the defenders’ hard work up the other end.

One shining light for the Thunderbirds in the final term was that they did make it to double digits in terms of goals scored in the term, which they had not done since the opening term. They also only lost the fourth quarter by four goals, but that was cold comfort for those in pink.

Just about everyone player on court starred in one way or another for the Vixens. Emily Mannix (11 gains, eight intercepts, six deflections and three rebounds), Jo Weston (10 deflections, five gains, four rebounds and one intercept) and Liz Watson (43 feeds, 22 assists, three gains and three deflections) were just some of the particular standouts.

Meanwhile for the Thunderbirds, Shamera Sterling (nine deflections, seven gains, three intercepts, three rebounds) was again dangerous, while Tayla Williams (30 feeds, nine assists, one deflection, one intercept and one gain) was a workhorse in midcourt.

MELBOURNE VIXENS                    11 | 19 | 16 | 14 (60)
ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS          14 | 8 | 7 | 10 (39)


Melbourne Vixens

GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Kiera Austin
WA: Hannah Mundy
C: Liz Watson
WD: Kate Moloney
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Emily Mannix

Adelaide Thunderbirds

GS: Eleanor Cardwell
GA: Georgie Horjus
WA: Maisie Nankivell
C: Tayla Williams
WD: Latanya Wilson
GD: Matilda Garrett
GK: Shamera Sterling

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