Vixens gain much-needed confidence boost

Kimmy C
The Melbourne Vixens produced a timely reminder of their capabilities with a convincing 23-goal victory over New Zealand side Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in Round 5 of the ANZ Championship.

Coming off a bye, the 2014 champions gave their season a much-needed confidence boost courtesy of the 57-34 victory at Hisense Arena.

With Karyn Bailey again sidelined with a foot injury, Vixens coach Simone McKinnis turned to her young shooters Emma Ryde (13 goals) and Alice Teague-Neeld (19 goals) to spearhead the side.

It took almost four minutes for the first goal of the game and, after the Vixens raced to a 6-0 lead, Magic pegged that back to one goal.

But that was as close as Magic would come as they were held to their lowest ever score in 11 meetings against the Vixens.

The performance of Kim Commane – a late inclusion into the Vixens squad as a replacement player for the injured Tegan Philip this season – would have delighted McKinnis the most from the game.

Commane was injected into the match in the second term and finished with a game-high 25 goals at 86 per cent accuracy.

The 27-year-old’s previous stint in the ANZ Championship was with the NSW Swifts back in 2012. She was preparing to play for the Netball NSW Waratahs in this season’s Australian Netball League before answering the Vixens’ SOS.

The victory moves Vixens within a game of third-placed West Coast Fever on the Australian Conference table.

Fever suffered a second straight loss, losing 69-62 to the Southern Steel at Invercargill on the first of their double header road trip to New Zealand.

After an even opening quarter, the second term proved decisive for Steel as they consolidated their position unbeaten on top of the New Zealand Conference ladder.

FSE_0150The Queensland Firebirds continued its dominance over the NSW Swifts in the much-anticipated Grand Final replay in Brisbane, claiming a 61-51 victory and increased its winning streak to 18 matches.

It’s the 10th time that the Firebirds have beaten the Swifts in the Queensland capital and the victory was built around a solid defensive effort while the combination of Gretel Tippett and Romelda Aiken kept Sharni Layton and Maddy Turner on their toes.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds remain winless – but went down in a gallant effort over in Auckland against the Northern Mystics.

The Thunderbirds were overrun in the final term after leading by four goals at three-quarter time and the 52-49 result gave the Mystics their first win of the season.

But Thunderbirds coach Michelle den Dekker will take heart that their first points of 2016 are not far away if her group plays the sort of netball they did in the third term.

Pictures courtesy of David Callow and sport-in-digital