The Melbourne Vixens have unveiled their 2023 captains as the team embarks on a mission to make history in this year’s Super Netball campaign.
Kate Moloney and Liz Watson will lead the club for a fourth consecutive year, and Emily Mannix has been named as their deputy.
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This comes on the eve of the Super Netball season, with the first centre pass scheduled for Saturday, March 18.
Runaway minor premiers in 2022, the Vixens fell away in the finals before losing the title decider to West Coast Fever by an emphatic 11-point scoreline in Perth.
No team in Super Netball history has managed to rebound from a grand final loss to take the trophy the following year but Watson said the Vixens were up for the challenge.
As an additional spur, the grand final is locked-in for Melbourne as part of a sponsorship deal with the Victorian government.
Speaking to 7NEWS.com.au, Watson said the recent pre-season Team Girls Cup acted as a good barometer for the Vixens to see where they needed to level up.
“I think Team Girls Cup really showed how tight the competition is getting and I feel like I say that every year but there’s definitely not a top four and a bottom four, so it’s gonna be hard,” Watson said.
“It’s good to get everyone out there on court in different combinations, but you have to remember it’s hard to really tell: you’re not seeing full teams at their strength the whole time.
“But it’s a good opportunity to see people who want to step up at that level, see some good matchups and play and get that experience. “
Watson oscillates between wing attack and centre on the for the national side, the Diamonds, and has recently returned from the Quad Series in South Africa- this time with the trophy.
The Victorian says they used it as a practice run for the World Cup in July which will also be in Cape Town.
“It was nice to experience obviously the playing side of things, but just to be in South Africa where World Cup will be, same hotel, same venue, just everything experience, it’ll all be familiar when we do go back,” she said.
“It was great confidence for the group to go over there and win and really gain confidence in our game plan and in what the coaches want to do.”
As with many athletes, Watson has to put away the emotions of the domestic competition grand final loss to play alongside Courtney Bruce, captain of the West Coast Fever in the national side.
While Bruce is coming at the new season off the back of success, she doesn’t shy away from the fierceness of the competition.
“Honestly, 2022 was so huge for us – I’m so excited to go again,” Bruce told 7NEWS.com.au.
“I would obviously love to win another premiership with the Fever and bring home that trophy, but personally I’m just continuing to grow my game – whether that’s in goal keeper or goal defence.
“I’ve been around the game for a long time now, so any little additions or different footwork that I can bring to my game is crucial.”
Bruce knows there’s youngsters knocking on the door of Diamonds selection for the World Cup, and a huge part of that is playing well in the domestic competition this season.
“The evolution of the game is great, when you have the little ones come in, the younger ones and how excited they are for their first time wearing the dress or their first year in the environment, it reminds you of what it felt like for you when you first came through.
“It’s been exciting to learn things from them but also to be able to teach them a bit of my trade too.”
– With AAP
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