Australia-based Mwawi Kumwenda’s Melbourne Vixens started the Super Netball Grand title defence with a disappointing 65-51 loss to their rivals West Coast Fever on Saturday before home fans at John Cain Arena.
This is in contrast to the grand final played last October as both teams put up a close fight in which Mwawi inspired her team to a 66-64 victory, complete with Most Valuable Player Award.
According to www.supernetball.com.au, Fever led 12-16 in the first-quarter, 34-27 at half-time, but saw their advantage cut to four goals in the third-quarter.
Reads the report, in part: “A flying start to the year was crucial for the West Australian club’s semi-final prospects after being stripped of 12 premiership points due to salary cap breaches, and the Fever delivered despite a fierce challenge from the Vixens in the third-quarter.
“Three-time Super Netball Player of the Year Jhaniele Fowler looks set for another outstanding season for the Fever, the Jamaican shooter leading from the front, with 54 goals.”
The Vixens were aiming to make a successful start to their premiership defence in front of their home fans at John Cain Arena, but the Fever won every quarter on their way to victory in the grand final rematch.
“It is a very important win for us. It just helps our confidence continuing into the season,” Fowler was quoted as having said.
Melbourne were down by five with one minute left in the third-quarter, but former Adelaide Thunderbirds goaler Sasha Glasgow nailed a two-point Super Shot and Fowler added two more goals to surge ahead 47-38.
The Fever finished the job in the final term by 19 goals.
Kumwenda, who was upbeat in the run up to the match, could not be reached for comment at press time on Saturday.