The Melbourne Vixens got the brunt of a shocking Grand Final call, but they’re all focused on getting there first.
Melbourne Vixens star Jo Weston says her team is fully focused on winning the Super Netball Grand Final and making up for last place on the ladder from last season.
The Vixens have been the team to beat all season, losing just two games in a sensational campaign that saw them discover the form with which to claim the 2020 premiership.
Without injured Diamonds captain Liz Watson last year, they plummeted from the table and won the wooden spoon in a disappointing season.
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But with a healthy and balanced side, the Vixens are again the best this year and the favorites to win the premiership.
But first, they must defeat the second-seeded West Coast Fever in Saturday’s grand semi-final in Melbourne.
The winner goes straight to the grand final, while the loser gets a double chance and takes on the winner of the small semi-final between the Giants and Magpies the following week.
“We are really looking forward to the first final this weekend,” Weston told news.com.au.
“We always hope for a win. The Fever is a very tough opponent.
“You have big powerhouses at each end of the field, so we know it’s going to be a really big fight. But we just hope to come out really strong, play our game and come away with a win and go straight ahead.”
The Vixens have beaten the Fever in their two encounters this season and they will once again face the challenge of controlling Fever goalkeeper Jhaniele Fowler, who equaled her own record with a season of 808 points.
“That full-field defensive pressure is really important when you’re playing against a shooter like Fowler because she’s incredibly tall and also incredibly strong, so it’s hard to beat her in a one-on-one match,” Weston said. .
“So for us it’s about full field pressure up front, putting really pressure on every part the Fever takes it on and having a really good defense, so we’re blocking their view of the track.”
‘Disappointed’ Weston wipes out controversial Grand Final call
If the Vixens beat the Fever, they won’t be allowed to host the Grand Final, even if they finish at the top of the table.
That’s because Netball Australia made the decision this month to sell the Grand Final to the highest bidder.
It means the grand final will be held at Perth’s RAC Arena, Fever’s home court, regardless of whether they make the decision or not.
Weston, the president of the Australian Netball Players Association, criticized Netball Australia’s lack of transparency and consultation about the decision.
“From Vixens’ perspective, we were especially disappointed for our fans and members who haven’t had the chance to see us at home in so many years,” Weston said.
“Obviously we wouldn’t have officially qualified to host that grand final unless we won the game on Saturday, but withdrawing that opportunity was very difficult and out of our control.
“From the players’ association perspective, we had a lot of discussion between all the teams and it’s probably hard for me to remove myself from the team that was significantly affected by the decision.
“But at the end of the day, all we want from Netball Australia is an appropriate consultation process and probably look at some of the broader effects some of their decisions have on the playing group.
“We like to think that our sports organization would respect us as players and entrust us with information, and I think that’s the most disappointing thing of all.”
If the Vixens make it to the grand final, Weston won’t have to worry about playing the biggest game of the season on the other side of the country.
“We’ve already traveled to Perth this season and had success in that arena, so to us it feels like any other job,” she said.
“I hope that if we make it to the grand final we will have some support in the stands be it family or friends or even the locals in Perth who may feel the need to support us above their own home team.
“We’ve had a really solid team that travels with us every week and we just focus on playing the best netball we can and blocking all those outside factors.”
But the star defender said the Vixens are fully focused on reaching the Grand Finals first, where they hope to make a remarkable return to form by claiming the Super Netball title.
“Last year was pretty disappointing,” Weston said.
“We won in 2020 and to finish at the bottom of the ladder in 2021 was really disappointing. “To have such an incredible turnaround this year, we want to make sure we put ourselves in the best position to win a spot in that grand final and then go the extra mile and make it right last year.” to make.”
Netball Australia partners with Woolworths’ Choose verse Play verse Grants program, an extension of Woolworths’ junior netball participation program NetSetGO.
A total of $100,000 in grants will be offered as part of the program—five worth $10,000 and 10 worth $5,000—designed to aid initiatives such as facility improvements, equipment and training programs.
“I think it’s pretty cool that they offer quite a large number of scholarships to clubs and associations,” Weston said.
I’m sure my own club Waverley District would have loved to have missed this.
“It’s just about helping initiatives like improving facilities, posting new things – all those things that can really help netball clubs come back after the last few years of Covid. “It’s quite exciting.”
Netball clubs and associations can apply for the Woolworths Pick Fresh Play Fresh Grants at: pickfreshplayfresh.netball.com.au/grants† Registrations close on Sunday 19 June. The winners will be announced the week of July 4 following the Super Netball Grand Final.
Super Netball Final Week 1
Grand Semifinal: Melbourne Vixens vs West Coast Fever – Saturday 7pm AEST
Small Semifinals: Giants vs Collingwood Magpies – Sunday 4pm AEST
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