The once dominant Melbourne Vixens have endured a second straight home defeat in the trans-Tasman netball league.
Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic have maintained their unbeaten start to the trans-Tasman netball season, with an impressive five goal win over the Melbourne Vixens on Sunday.
The 49-44 loss was the second successive defeat on the Vixens’ home court and they now face a difficult stretch in the season with three away games against the Mainland Tactix in New Zealand and then the Firebirds in Brisbane and the Swifts in Sydney.
The Magic exposed the inexperience of the Vixens midcourt.
New Zealand international Grace Rasmussen was too strong at wing attack for Kate Moloney and Amy Steel.
She consistently won the centre pass and her delivery into the centre circle where she fed the shooting duo of Jo Harten and Ellen Halpenny.
Harten finished the match with 28 goals from 35 attempts, while her partner Halpenny had 21 goals from 26 shots.
The Vixens rotated their shooters using Karyn Bailey, Tegan Caldwell and Cath Cox in attack.
While the trio shot accurately, they just didn’t get enough use of the ball with the Magic dominating the midcourt and forcing turn-overs under pressure.
Vixens coach Simone McKinnis said her side’s basic errors proved telling, in a match where they couldn’t force the opposition into the same types of mistakes.
“Defensively we weren’t as strong as we have been and we weren’t getting turnover ball through the middle. I think execution and basic errors, passing, dropped balls, shooting into rejections, just little things that were very costly,” she said.
Magic coach Julie Fitzgerald underlined the importance of her team winning in Australia.
“I get any win over the Vixens at any time of the season is invaluable, they are a class act. To have got a win in Australia for us is very valuable,” she said.
Fitzgerald praised the intensity of her team.
“I was really happy about that and that is something that we have really tried to concentrate on and the Vixens did that as well. I thought it was a very high class match for 60 minutes,” she said.