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Sun 26 Jul
VIXENS 54 def THUNDERBIRDS 46
(13-13, 27-19, 41-32, 54-46)
Thwaites 31/39 (79%)
McMahon 23/28 (82%)
TOTAL 54/67 (81%)
C N.von Bertouch
Start Q3 – Sutton off, G.Beaton on at WD, E.Beaton off, L.von Bertouch on at WA
During Q3 – G.Beaton to GD, Gerrard to WD
Beveridge 28/34 (82%)
Medhurst 18/23 (78%)
TOTAL 46/57 (81%)
ANZ Championship Awards:
Grand Final MVP: Sharelle McMahon (Vixens)
Season MVP: Romelda Aiken (Firebirds)
Australian Netball Awards:
Aust ANZC Player of the Year: Nat von Bertouch (Thunderbirds)
Liz Ellis Diamond: Julie Corletto (Vixens)
MELBOURNE VIXENS FULFIL THE DREAM, 54-46
The Melbourne Vixens backed up a super-consistent season to win the 2009 ANZ Championship with a decisive 54-46 defeat the Adelaide Thunderbirds in today’s Grand Final in Melbourne. In front of a full house of 9500, the Vixens made their move in a telling second quarter and from there never relinquished their grip. Slick and accurate on attack and suffocating on defence, the home side produced a complete team effort which left the Thunderbirds struggling. It was the third win over the Thunderbirds for the Vixens this season, their only blemish during the fourth-month competition being a loss to Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in Round 10.
Advancing directly to the Grand Final after winning the Major Semi-Final, the week off did little to deter the Vixens from the task at hand. The Thunderbirds could not repeat the strong form which saw them advance through the play-offs and were outplayed by a superior performance from the Vixens today. The opening quarter provided all the hallmarks of a Grand Final as both teams put their seasons on the line with a tight and testing start.
Neither team established ascendancy as both held strong on attack despite early nerves, and rock solid defence created missed opportunities at both ends of the court. Turnovers were limited with both teams on the whole treasuring their possession, but openings into the circle took patience. The long bomb into shooter Kate Beveridge worked well for the Thunderbirds, while the dashing Sharelle McMahon took up most of the Vixens` scoring opportunities. The 13-all deadlock at the end of the first quarter proved a fair result of an even and testing opening stanza as both teams took time to settle.
An injury scare to McMahon provided the impetus for the Vixens to steal a decisive march in the second quarter. The Vixens co-captain was able to play on after rolling an ankle as her shooting partner Caitlin Thwaites stepped up, her trademark accuracy returning after a slow start. With Natasha Chokljat marshalling the Vixen’s attacking momentum, crack defensive duo Bianca Chatfield and Julie Corletto gained the upper hand over the Thunderbirds shooters.
It was the home team who displayed more efficiency and effectiveness with the ball, while the visitors struggled to make inroads on the back of a high penalty count and crucial lapses. The Thunderbirds were unable to convert their opportunities and were held to just six goals as the Vixens peeled off 14 to lead 27-19 at half-time.
Looking for more penetration and drive on attack, the Thunderbirds looked to Laura von Bertouch off the bench while also added some starch to their defence line by introducing Georgia Beaton for the second half. Both changes seemed to backfire initially as McMahon shone for the Vixens, creating the openings in the attacking third and under the hoop as Thwaites provided the finishing touches. The Thunderbirds` defensive unit struggled to contain the control of the Vixens as the home team waltzed out to a 13-goal lead before the visitors made a late rally.
Four straight goals helped the Thunderbirds chip into the deficit, but it was the Vixens who held all the cards, leaving them with one hand on the trophy when they led 41-32 at three-quarter time. The Vixens maintained their dominance in the run home, as their control, desire and consistency proved decisive in repelling everything the Thunderbirds could throw at them.
Vixens overpower Thunderbirds
Melbourne Vixens have overpowered Adelaide Thunderbirds to win the trans-Tasman netball championship by eight goals at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena today. Shooters Caitlin Thwaites and Sharelle McMahon dominated for the Vixens, particularly in the second quarter when they each netted seven goals. Melbourne outscored the Thunderbirds by eight goals for the quarter to set up the win.
McMahon was named player of the match, finishing with 23 goals from 28 attempts. As the heat was turned up, predictably McMahon was the fire-starter. Her mid-court clash with Adelaide defender Mo’onia Gerrard early in the second quarter sparked both her and the Vixens into life after she took exception to a heavy foul from the T-Birds player.
“There had been a lot of talk in the media about the battle between Mo’onia and myself,” McMahon told ABC Grandstand. “From my point of view I needed to keep focused on the team and working on the things that work for us. I don’t like getting too caught up in those contests because that doesn’t work for me. It was a team effort. Everyone worked really hard to achieve what we did.”
The Vixens kept their lead between seven and 13 goals for the rest of the match and had contributors all over the court, with Renae Hallinan’s drive off wing defence and Bianca Chatfield’s defensive work particularly influential. McMahon said the Vixens were not phased by the weight of expectations going into the final as favourites. “I think the expectation is more from within this group,” she said. “We knew the things we needed to do and they were the things we focused on, rather than what everyone else thinks.”