SSN R6: Vix Vs T’Birds
Vixens overcome Thunderbirds in Melbourne.
The Melbourne Vixens have bounced back from a Round 5 loss with a 52-47 win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds at John Cain Arena to top the table midway through Round 6.
Melbourne Vixens have survived a thorough examination from Super Netball’s strongest defence to post a 53-47 victory against the Adelaide Thunderbirds at John Cain Arena.
Import goal keeper Shamera Sterling has been the most dangerous defender in the competition this season but even the star Jamaican failed to disrupt the patient Vixens who tightened their grip on the top two with their fifth win.
Sterling finished with a final-quarter flurry but her two intercepts, below her four-per-game average, was evidence of a disciplined Vixens outfit who took great care to minimise risk in the vicinity of the Thunderbirds ball winner.
“It was a bit more clinical this week,” Vixens goal attack Kiera Austin said.
“There’s a few things we still need to clean up but it was better than last week (a loss to Sunshine Coast) and we were glad to keep (Sterling) out of the game.”
The low-scoring game was painfully slow at times but that was a credit to the home side who had a clear plan against the Thunderbirds’ athletic defence.
Austin shone at both ends of the court with 13 goals, 13 assists and a game-high three intercepts.
While statistically not their best game, defenders Jo Weston, Kate Eddy and Emily Mannix applied pressure that slowly wore down the Thunderbirds.
Adelaide are now on shaky ground after a fourth consecutive loss following two opening wins.
The absence of Vixens leader Kate Moloney due to Covid-19 protocols and Thunderbird import Lenize Potgieter (knee injury) created a stage for a couple of understudies to step up.
Thunderbird debutante Lucy Austin (17 goals) did not blink.
She lacked a high volume of opportunities with which to work but the rookie strode confidently onto the court and shot 16-from-17 to help keep the South Australians in touch at halftime.
The smile on her face after sinking her first two-point super shot brought joy to the Thunderbirds coaching staff.
“We said to Lucy to go out there and have a bit of fun and it looks like she’s enjoying it out there,” Adelaide coach Tania Obst told Fox Netball at halftime.