Melbourne Vixens to shake off last year’s big final heartbreak and make history
The Melbourne Vixens have unveiled their 2023 captaincy as the team embarks on a mission to make history in this year’s Super Netball campaign.
Kate Moloney and Liz Watson will lead the club for the fourth consecutive year and Emily Mannix has been appointed as her deputy.
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This comes on the eve of Super Netball season, with the first middle pass scheduled for Saturday, March 18th.
After runaway minor firsts in 2022, the Vixens were eliminated in the finals before losing the title decider to West Coast Fever by an emphatic 11-point result in Perth.
No team in Super Netball history has managed to bounce back from a major Finals defeat and lift the trophy the following year, but Watson said the Vixens are up for the challenge.
As an added incentive, the grand finale has been locked into Melbourne under a sponsorship deal with the Victorian Government.
Speaking to 7NEWS.com.au, Watson said the recent preseason Team Girls Cup was a good barometer for the Vixens to see where they needed to move up.
“I think the Team Girls Cup really showed how close the competition is getting and I think I say that every year, but there’s definitely no top 4 and no final 4 so it’s going to be tough,” Watson said.
“It’s good to put everyone on the pitch in different combinations, but you have to remember that it’s difficult to say: you don’t see full teams at their strength all the time.
“But it’s a good opportunity to meet people who want to get to that level, see and play some good matchups and get that experience. “
Watson oscillates between attacking wing and center for the national team, the Diamonds, and recently returned from the Quad Series in South Africa – this time with the trophy.
The Victorian says he used it as a practice run for the World Cup in July, which will also be held in Cape Town.
“It was nice to obviously experience the playful side of things but just being in South Africa where the World Cup is happening, same hotel, same venue, just experiencing everything, it will all be familiar when we come back,” she said called.
“It was a lot of confidence for the group to go there and win and really gain confidence in our game plan and in what the coaches want to do.”
Like many athletes, Watson has to put aside the emotions of defeat in the grand finals of the national competition to play alongside West Coast Fever national team captain Courtney Bruce.
As Bruce returns to the new season from the back of success, she doesn’t shy away from the toughness of the competition.
“Honestly, 2022 has been so huge for us – I’m so excited to go back,” Bruce told 7NEWS.com.au.
“Obviously I’d love to win another Premier League with Fever and take home that trophy, but personally I’m just evolving my game – whether that’s as a goalkeeper or as a keeper.
“I’ve been in the game a long time now, so little additions or other footwork I can bring to my game are vital.”
Bruce knows there are young players knocking on the door of the Diamonds World Cup selection, and a large proportion of them are playing well in domestic competition this season.
“The development of the game is great, when the little ones come in, the younger ones and how excited they are when they wear the dress for the first time or spend their first year in the area, it reminds you of how it felt to them, when you first came through.
“It was exciting to learn things from them, but also to teach them something of my craft.”
– With AAP
https://7news.com.au/sport/netball/melbourne-vixens-out-to-shake-off-last-years-grand-final-heartbreak-and-make-history-c-10048791 Melbourne Vixens to shake off last year’s big final heartbreak and make history