Melbourne Vixens coach Simone McKinnis will not be lured into wholesale personnel changes in the wake of the 56-52 loss to Giants Netball on Sunday, that saw her side relinquish top spot on the Super Netball ladder with just two rounds remaining.
The Vixens have fielded a remarkably consistent starting seven throughout the season, but they were shut out by a polished Giants outfit, who now lead the competition from the Vixens and Sunshine Coast Lightning.
It puts the Sydney club on track for the minor premiership and a home major semi-final, though the Vixens and Lightning remain only a point behind.
“We really wanted to win that game,” McKinnis admitted of the round 12 loss at AIS Arena in Canberra.
“But the thing is, we’ve got to take what we need to from the game and just move forward. We’ve got two more games and the opportunity is still there to finish on top. That’s what we want.”
Asked if the result would spur a re-think of the starting lining up, McKinnis said: “I don’t think so. We’ve got 10 players that are capable of going on. We didn’t play very well, the Giants played a very good game, you’ve got to identify those areas that we struggled in and address them.
“I definitely have to acknowledge that the Giants played very well and didn’t allow us to get into the game. But that’s a good learning experience for us.”
For the Giants – who have battled hard since losing captain Kim Green to a serious knee injury five weeks into the season – toppling the Vixens was a huge lift after a period of moderate form.
“I won’t pretend, it’s a massive confidence boost,” coach Julie Fitzgerald said.
“Everybody knows we haven’t been at our best for the last few weeks. We’ve been training terribly hard, just trying to find the answers and put it all together. For that result to eventuate after all the hard work these girls have put in, and all the encouragement and support they’ve given each other, is very rewarding.”
The Giants’ win moved them to 20 points, with the Vixens in second ahead of Lightning on percentage. Lightning scored a 64-50 win over West Coast Fever on the Sunshine Coast on Friday night.
Collingwood’s gritty 62-50 triumph over NSW Swifts on Saturday night in Melbourne consolidated the Magpies’ hold on fourth place with a three-point break from the Queensland Firebirds. The Magpies have hit form at the right time, winning four of their past five clashes.
First plays second and third plays fourth in the first round of finals on June 3, with the top-placed side in each game hosting.