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In a closed practice game against the Australian Diamonds on Friday night, three Vixens showed form that they will be hoping to repeat in the coming ANZ Championships season.
Opening the game with a winning quarter, new shooter Karyn Bailey was exciting in the circle and showed why she deserved a position on the 2012 Vixens squad. Playing on experienced Aussie defenders Susan Fuhrmann and Laura Geitz, Bailey made the most of opportunities with outstanding 100% accuracy in the first quarter. Kara Richards, who is rejoining the Vixens in 2012, showed plenty of defensive prowess and tenacity.
It was a case of sisterly rivalry for sisters Kelsey Browne and Vixen and Diamonds player Madison battled for honours in the centre; Madison playing for the Diamonds and Kelsey representing the Victorian team. Vixen Sarah Wall and Diamonds player Kimberlee Green were another duo who enjoyed a fierce battle on court during the game.
Young Victorian netballers Jo Weston, Kate Moloney, Kate Thompson and Sarah Main also showed promise against the Diamonds and although the home team stayed within close range in the first two quarters, the Australian team opened the gap in the second half to win the match.
The full 2012 Melbourne Vixens squad was announced yesterday and the team, committed to improving on their fifth placing this year, have next season’s ANZ Championships set firmly in their sights.
Bailey and Richards are the two new signings to the Vixens next season. Bailey, rewarded with a position on the squad after a stellar season with both the Victorian Fury and Victorian Netball League club Monash University Central.
Richards returns to Melbourne after playing with the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the 2011 season.
“The addition of young Victorians Karyn Bailey and Kara Richards gives us more options. Bailey is an accurate and athletic shooter who has proven herself in the Australian Netball League and is ready to step up. Karyn, combined with Sharelle McMahon and Kate Beveridge is the final piece of the plan for the circle and will complement both McMahon and Beveridge,” says Vixens Coach Julie Hoornweg.
“Kara will make an interesting addition to the Vixens mid court line up. We are excited to see her play in wing defence which is not her usual position, but she has the speed and agility required to play well, and to combine with Australian representative Madison Browne and experienced campaigners such as Chelsea Tregear and Sarah Wall.”
Stalwarts Geva Mentor and Bianca Chatfield will again be on hand to guide young defender Micaela Wilson.
Former Australian netball champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Eloise Southby-Halbish has also been announced as the new Vixens Assistant Coach. Her energy, expertise and experience will be invaluable to the Vixens players and management team.
Co captain Sharelle McMahon will once again take the court with the team in 2012 after an Achilles injury in March this year. Sharelle’s huge commitment to rehabilitation and ongoing support from her medical team has meant she is back in training after six months and ready to hit the ground running next season.
Vixens Julie Corletto and Madison Browne will also bring valuable experience in top level competition to the side after playing in the 2011 Holden Netball Test series with the Australian Diamonds.
The 2012 Melbourne Vixens team’s depth of experience, high skill level, passion and confidence make them a force to be reckoned with next season.
2012 Melbourne Vixens:
Karyn Bailey (will be married in 2012 and known as Karyn Howarth)
Julie Hoornweg (Coach)
Eloise Southby-Halbish (Assistant Coach)