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Crucial match for Vixens

The Melbourne Vixens and arch rivals the NSW Swifts will play each other for the first time this season in a sell-out match, fighting for second spot in the Championship and the Sargeant-McKinnis Cup.

The Vixens and Swifts sit second and third on the ladder respectively, with both teams recording four wins for the season, and being separated on percentage alone.

Both teams have had a shaky start to the season. The Swifts lost young gun midcourter Paige Hadley to an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear early in the season and have called in former Vixen, Sarah Wall, as her replacement player for the rest of season, whilst the Vixens lost two consecutive home games in a row to the Queensland Firebirds and the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic.

The game on Sunday in Sydney could see either team move into first place, or fall out of the top four, depending on results of other matches in the round. The Adelaide Thunderbirds, Queensland Firebirds and Central Pulse all sit one win behind the Vixens and Swifts on the ladder, whilst the Waikato/ Bay of Plenty Magic are one win ahead.

Vixens’ defender, Geva Mentor said the game this weekend against the Swifts is an important game for the Vixens’ season.

“This is a massive game coming up for us this weekend against the Sydney Swifts and I think if we can come away with a win there we’re really setting ourselves up for the tail end of the season.”

The Swifts have won seven of the 12 meetings between the teams in the ANZ Championship, with an average winning margin of 9.9 goals.

Mentor said that to beat the Swifts, the Vixens’ need full-court defensive pressure and to stick to their game plan.

“I just think they’re a clever side, they’re a smart side, they do their homework well. They’re a tenacious side in terms of they’re always fighting for that ball, the 50/50 balls they’re always chasing it up and I think that’s where we probably come a bit unstuck; we’ve either panicked or hesitated or gone in a little bit reserved to each game.”

“I think just making sure that we come out firing in that first quarter and making sure again that we stick to our plan. But making sure we’re just hungry for the ball because we know that even if we go a couple of goals up they’re not going to let that lie, they’re going to be at us all the way through, I think that’s just been the big difference playing the Swifts over the last couple of years.”

The Vixens will play the Swifts in Sydney on Sunday before taking on the reigning premiers the Adelaide Thunderbirds next weekend.

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