Collingwood Magpies fall to fast-finishing West Coast Fever, Melbourne Vixens win thriller

Another arm-wrestle took place in the fourth term, with the Magpies edging ahead. But mistakes from a slightly inaccurate Shimona Nelson – who shot 88 per cent for the match – and Garbin, gave the home side a chance to come back.

Glasgow took full advantage, coming back into the game after a quiet first three-quarters to hit several two-point shots to change the game, much to the delight of a raucous crowd in RAC Arena.

Collingwood attacker Nyah Allen was inserted late into the match and immediately hit a two-point shot, but the Magpies ran out of time.

Fever coach Dan Ryan said his team was not at its best against the resurgent Magpies. “In those last five minutes, they certainly found the extra gear to get the job done,” he said.

Vixens charge home to win thriller

The Melbourne Vixens stormed home from behind for a 66-64 victory over the Queensland Firebirds at John Cain Arena on Saturday night.

Having met in round one, when the Firebirds suffered the same fate, the two sides sat at second and third on the ladder.

The Firebirds, despite mixed results so far this season, found themselves on the cusp of a top-two position, while the Vixens needed a win to get a look-in for the top spot after a loss to the Magpies last week.

Kiera Austin of the Vixens attempts a super shot.Credit:Getty Images

The Vixens were bolstered by the return of Kate Eddy and Hannah Mundy but notably absent was goaler Rahni Samason, following a knee injury, and head coach Simone McKinnis due to health and safety protocols. Former Australian player Di Honey took on head coaching duties.

An even contest early on, the Vixens managed a full-court turn over thanks to goal defence Jo Weston, extending their lead by two, as all eyes rested on her match-up with Diamonds teammate and Firebird Gretel Bueta.

The Vixens’ defence was damaging but accuracy was shaky, as Kiera Austin and the typically meticulous Mwai Kumwenda felt the pressure, the visitors edging five goals ahead.

Kumwenda made a penalty shot count and Austin narrowed the margin with a Super Shot, but the Queenslanders were three up at the first break.

The Firebirds gave themselves options aplenty in the centre and kept their lead; Gabi Simpson was a mainstay in feeding the ball down the court.

The Vixens were now seven goals behind as Bueta slotted goal after goal, assisted by former Vixens training partner turned Firebird Lara Dunkley, who continued her dominance in the league for goal assists with 19 by half-time.

Dunkley was also reliable in centre pass receives and seemed to have a direct line straight into shooters Bueta and Donnell Wallam.

At half-time the shooting percentage was 79 per cent to 97 per cent the Firebirds’ way, the score sitting at 36 to 32.

Mwai Kumwenda flies for the ball.Credit:Getty Images

The Vixens found a second wind with four goals in a row, stabilising the ship, but it didn’t last long as the Firebirds called a tactical time out and found their way back in.

The Vixens changed up their positioning but struggled to move up the court against a fired up Queensland outfit.

The Vixens looked more confident as they edged themselves just two behind, finding more space in their attacking third.

Austin missed two goals but slotted a Super Shot, to an elated home crowd, followed by a deflection, which saw the scores all tied before the Vixens took the lead with a clean sweep from Kumwenda and Mundy.

A defensive focus on Wallam provided Bueta with relative freedom to shoot, wrangling them the lead at the final break.

The Vixens had a three-goal streak and the game upped in intensity as the home side held their lead and Weston displayed incredible defensive effort, while scores tied as it ticked over to the power five.

The Vixens, with two minutes remaining, seized the lead by four as Bueta slotted a Super Shot to cut the margin in half, followed by another, but the Vixens prevailed.

Kumwenda finished with 50 goals from 54 attempts and 99 net points to be named player of the match.

“It was hard to play against those defenders … this game shows us that every game is very hard, so we just need to play 60 minutes next week,” Kumwenda said.

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