Vixens to host the big one
Sunday July 8, 2012
2012 ANZ Championship Finals Series
The Melbourne Vixens will host this year’s ANZ Championship Grand Final after a hard fought 56-50 defeat of the Northern Mystics at Rod Laver Arena.
Melbourne claimed the minor premiership with a menacing 17-goal demolition of the Southern Steel in Invercargill and the Mystics won a one-goal thriller over NSW Swifts in Auckland last week.
Starting games strongly has been a feature of Melbourne’s wins in recent weeks before the Mystics came out and goal shooter Cathrine Latu scored two goals. The return of Anna Harrison to the Mystics defensive end was a welcome addition and it helped the visitors recover to lead 15-11 at quarter time.
Trailing at the break, the Vixens worked their way back to trail by just two goals and midcourter Madison Browne (wing attack) continued her good form as she drove the ball inside the circle to her shooters quickly.
Despite the good delivery, the Vixens shooters struggled to convert several opportunities and Mystics capitalised when they had possession. Shooting at 97 per cent accuracy to Melbourne’s 75 per cent propelled them to a 29-23 half time lead.
The Mystics continued to hold the upper hand as they surged ahead and led by six goals, but a change in momentum occurred. Vixens coach Julie Hoornweg switched Madison Browne from wing attack to centre in a direct swap with Chelsey Tregear and the move paid off with improved ball movement.
It also allowed for greater potency in attack and provided better opportunities for Melbourne’s shooters Karyn Howarth (goal shooter) and Tegan Caldwell (goal attack) to score.
With improved accuracy under the hoop, Melbourne matched the Mystics goal for goal as captain Bianca Chatfield (goal defence) and English international Geva Mentor (goal keeper) were on song. They were on song as they stalled the visitor’s attempts to regain some sort of lead as scores were tied at 40 goals each at the final break.
Mystics coach Debbie Fuller made no less than five positional and personnel changes but they backfired as the Vixens maintained strong intensity to book a spot in this year’s Grand Final in two weeks time.
Vixens coach Julie Hoornweg highlighted her team’s third quarter as a catalyst for the win.
“We didn’t leave it (come back) quite as late this time, I thought we turned it around after half-time which was really nice,” she said.
“It (consistent netball) was there in patches in the first and second quarter, we just lost the momentum when we made a couple of errors in decision making but once they knuckled down they got it right.”
Mystics captain Temepara George was disappointed with her team’s inability to stick with the Vixens when they got a run on.
“When they get behind, they just find this momentum (to come back) and you can’t stop them.”
“The shooters played well, but it was a game of two halves.”
Vixens goal attack Tegan Caldwell shot 27 goals from 30 attempts at 90 per cent in a solid, composed performance and combined extremely well with goal shooter Karyn Howarth (29/36 at 81 per cent) who performed well under immense pressure from the Mystics defenders.
Mystics goal shooter Cathrine Latu (29/31 at 94 per cent) missed just two goals in a superb game but both her and shooting partner in goal attack Maria Tutaia (21/24 at 88 per cent) struggled to counteract Melbourne’s final quarter defensive pressure.
Browne was outstanding at wing attack and centre for the Vixens; she provided plenty of drive coupled with slick passing that result in her team’s shooters receiving the ball with ease.
Melbourne now have a week off before hosting the winner of next week’s preliminary final, which will feature the Mystics and the winner of tomorrow’s night minor semi between Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic and the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
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