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Vixens secure vital second chance

2013 ANZ Netball Championships

 The Melbourne Vixens have finished the last game of the home and away season on a high, with a 30 goal win over the West Coast Fever in Melbourne.

The win not only secured a spot in the finals for the Vixens for the second year in a row, but also boosted them to second place on the ladder, giving them the vital double-chance leading into the finals this week.

The make-up of the finals series largely depended on this game, as well as the Thunderbirds v Firebirds game, first v second on the ladder, which was played straight after the Vixens’game.

Melbourne led the match from the first goal, soon having an advantage of four goals to one.

The Vixens’ defence of Bianca Chatfield and Geva Mentor were relentless, pressuring the Fever shooters at every chance, and keeping Australian Diamonds goal shooter, Caitlin Bassett, to just two goals for the quarter, with Fever captain, Catherine Cox, doing the bulk of the shooting.

By the end of a physical first quarter, the score was 17 – 10.

The Fever made some big changes at quarter-time, with Shae Bolton taking the court at centre, Ashleigh Brazill moving to wing defence, and Chanel Gomes taking the court at goal defence. The changes didn’t stem the Vixens’ momentum, as sharp shooting from Tegan Caldwell saw the Vixens’ fly ahead to 22 – 12.

Despite the Fever struggling to make an impact on the game, their goal attack, Catherine Cox, finished the first half shooting at 100 percent – 15 from 15. By half time, the score margin was 12 goals.

Both shooting circles were changed at half time. Sharelle McMahon took the court at goal attack for the Vixens, and former Vixens’ player, Kate Beveridge, replacing Caitlin Bassett at goal shooter for the Fever.

Beveridge and Cox for the Fever combined well with some smart play, however the score difference still continued to grow, with 20 goals being the difference at three-quarter time.

Vixens’ rookie, Kate Maloney took the court  for the final quarter, replacing Elissa Macleod at centre. The changes did not stem the Vixens’ momentum, as the score continued to push out. Kate Beveridge’s radar was on, shooting long-bombs from all areas of the ring, while Catherine Cox was replaced by Lisa Millman at goal attack for the Fever mid-way through the quarter.

The Vixens came out 30 goal victors, defeating the Fever and securing their finals position, 69 – 39.

Melbourne Vixens’ coach Simone McKinnis was thrilled with the team’s performance.

“It’s just a really good way, a really positive way to finish the rounds and certainly a great way to head into finals,” she said.

McKinnis also commented on the work of the defensive duo, Bianca Chatfield and Geva Mentor, in the final game of the round.

“The defenders all year, they’ve really been the backbone of our success and definitely the attack end finished it off.

“The defence end has worked hard all year, but there was some well-earned and well-fought ball down there for us.”

Vixens’ captain, Bianca Chatfield, said that the team has found the effort they need on court.

“I think the last few weeks we’ve gradually been finding that effort and energy that we needed out there,” she said.

“So I’m really proud of the girls to have done what we did today.

“We need that confidence booster just so we have that belief in ourselves going into finals.”

In other games this round, the Adelaide Thunderbirds were two-goal victors in a come-from-behind win against the Queensland Firebirds; the Central Pulse finished their season on a high, defeating the Southern Steel by nine goals. The Waikato/ Bay of Plenty Magic were strong in their win against the Northern Mystics, whilst the NSW Swifts farewelled two of their players, Vanessa Ware and Mo’onia Gerrard, out with a win against the Canterbury Tactix.

The Vixens’ will now head to Adelaide to contest the Thunderbirds in the major semi final, while the Queensland Firebirds will head to New Zealand to play the Magic in the minor semi final.

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