The SportingJournal

Vixens make statement to competition

The Melbourne Vixens have made a strong statement to the competition, with a thrashing 38 goal win over the reigning premiers, the Adelaide Thunderbirds, in Melbourne yesterday.

The Vixens kept the Thunderbirds to the lowest ever score in an ANZ Championship game, breaking the previous record of 28 goals held by the Central Pulse in round three 2008 against the Queensland Firebirds.

The reigning premiers struggled from the first quarter, with the usually dynamic shooting duo of Carla Borrego and Erin Bell not firing in attack.

Borrego was replaced at quarter time by young shooter Cody Lange, after shooting only three goals from seven attempts. Combined, the three shooters shot 26 goals from 46 attempts 56 per cent.

In contrast Vixens shooters Karyn Bailey, Tegan Caldwell and Catherine Cox shot 64 goals from 77 attempts at 83 per cent.

By the end of the first quarter the margin was 10 goals, and by half time, that had doubled to 20.

In an unexpected move, Thunderbirds shooter Carla Borrego was moved into the unfamiliar position of goal keeper, in an attempt to keep the Vixens shooters at bay.

Thunderbirds captain, Renae Hallinan was moved to the bench for the second half, with her opponent Madison Robinson finding fine form with 21 goal assists and 44 feeds. Andrea Gilmore was moved into Hallinan’s position of wing defence for the second half, however was unable to slow Robinson down.

Vixen’s defenders Kate Maloney, Bianca Chatfield and Geva Mentor were tenacious in defence, with the Thunderbirds attacking line unable to capitalise on the turnovers created by the defenders.

The 30 goal margin was reached with less than a minute left in the third quarter.

The Vixens made multiple changes in the final quarter, giving Amy Steel, Joanna Weston and Caitlyn Strachan valuable game time.

The home side did not falter, keeping the Thunderbirds to just four goals for the quarter, and giving the Thunderbirds their fourth loss in a row for the season.

Despite having more intercepts and more deflections than the Vixens for the match, the telling statistic for the Thunderbirds is turnovers, with the Adelaide side leading the statistic 35 – 22.

Whilst the reigning premiers are left looking for answers to their sudden loss of form, the Vixens are flying following a down patch earlier in the season.

With a great team win, it was difficult to pick one stand out player for the Vixens, with all players having an impact. Madison Robinson was named most valuable player for the match, impressive in attack.

Vixens’ coach, Simone McKinnis said she was impressed by the game.

“I was blown away by the first quarter. I think just in the first quarter a real statement was made and they continued to push that and that was really impressive”, McKinnis said.

“Obviously you wouldn’t have called that sort of result at the start of the game, but I knew that we were very focused on building on what we’d done in the previous three weeks and doing it here at home, so my expectations were that it was going to be a good game from us.”

“I guess it really was a team effort because you don’t get 30 odd goals in front unless everybody’s playing super well and I guess ultimately that’s it, everybody was doing their job and working well as a team.”

Vixens’ captain, Bianca Chatfield said that the win was due to a full court defensive effort by the team.

“We kept setting ourselves targets throughout the game; ‘this is what we want to keep them to, this is what we want to get to’ and I think within a couple of goals we were pretty close to that every single quarter that we went out there.”

“That’s what we’ve got to keep doing. If you want to win this premiership you’ve got to keep pushing yourselves to be better and better every game.”

The Vixens will now head to Wellington to take on the Central Pulse next weekend.

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