The Melbourne Vixens started the year well with two wins from two starts but have lost three of their past four matches to sit sixth on the ladder, and a game outside the top four. Fever, in contrast, bounced back from their first loss of the year in Round 5 to record an epic two-goal win over Giants Netball in Round 6 at Perth Arena in front of a parochial home crowd to sit a game clear on top of the ladder.
Mwai Kumwenda, Vixens’ Malawian import, has been in impressive form this season, leading the Vixens shooting with 220 goals. While slightly undersized for a traditional shooter at 183cm, Kumwenda’s pace and agility around the shooting circle makes her a dangerous target for the Vixens, slicing her way through traffic and getting closer to goal. With a shooting percentage of 97%, Fever defenders Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis will need to find a way to cut the ball off up the court to limit her influence on the match.
Vixens mid courter Liz Watson has been in tremendous form in 2018. Watson was the leading goal assist player in 2017 and has continued her brilliant form forward of the centre this season, producing 178 goal assists to lead the competition once again. Jess Anstiss and Stacey Francis will need to quell her influence on the game and cut off as much ball as possible if Fever are to win their first game in Melbourne since 2010.
Vixens opened the season with three home games before embarking on away trips to Adelaide, Sydney and Queensland and will be more than happy to return back to Hisense Arena after three gruelling weeks. Fever will travel to Melbourne for the first time this season and will be keen to erase an 8-year losing streak in Victoria.
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