The Melbourne Vixens have bolstered their attack line with a wealth of experience in welcoming Australian Diamond Caitlin Thwaites to their 2019 roster.
The star shooter signed a 12-month contract after spending two seasons with cross-town rivals Magpies Netball.
“Collingwood didn’t offer me a contract to continue on, so it’s been a tough couple of weeks to be able to figure out what my options were,” she said.
Thwaites is eager to extend her stay at the Vixens, highlighting club culture and location as a major drawcard.
“It’s really exciting for me to be a part of what the Vixens have been building over the last few years, I’m incredibly grateful for them to have shown interest and want me to be part of that too,” she said.
“What excites me is that it’s such a young group, that they’ve had a few years of developing and knowing each other’s game, and they’ve all stuck together which is really great and [they’ve] just got that team focus.”
“Hopefully I’ll get out there and smash it and there’ll be another offer on the table,” she said.
For Thwaites, learning from a new coach in Simone McKinnis is another great opportunity.
“I’m really excited about working with Simone, she brings a lot of different things to the game and she’s so well respected as a past player but also as a coach, she’s done great things with the current Vixens group,” she said.
Thwaites last played for the Vixens as a 23-year-old in 2010, before spending stints with New Zealand’s Central Pulse and the New South Wales Swifts and is keen to return to where it all began with former playing partner, Renae Ingles.
“It’s been really nice to have her support over the last week since she heard my name was on the radar. To have been able to reconnect with her I think is a really great thing,” she said.
The Vixens now hold a potent attack line despite dynamic shooter Mwai Kumwenda recovering from ACL surgery. It’s unknown when she will return to the court however, Thwaites says the coaching staff and players have discussed the possibilities of a mid-season inclusion and the benefits of contrasting playing styles.
“We’ve been really open about the way that [Kumwenda’s return] might potentially look and the way that might work, and I think it’s going to be a really great thing for the coaching staff and for everybody to have options,” she said.
“The way we all play is very different, so I’m very aware that I’m going to have to be bringing my A-game to be able to earn that spot on the court. But I’m really excited by the possibilities of having different changes, I might have to work at my goal attack game too if I’m looking at keeping a spot out there,” she said.
Next year marks a decade since her 2009 premiership with the Vixens, Thwaites has high hopes for the club.
“2019, look out!”
Melbourne Vixens 2019 team:
Report: Alexia Mitchell
Photo: Grant Treeby/Melbourne Vixens