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Vixens sharpen finals form against Fever

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/06/2016 Samantha Sonogan

It's often referred to as the championship quarter and that's where the Melbourne Vixens proved they have what it takes to play finals netball after holding off a scrambling West Coast Fever 60-55 at Hisense Arena on Sunday.

After leading by 10 points just before halftime, the Vixens withstood a Fever fightback which saw the visitors close to within one goal (41-40) deep in the third quarter.

With the game poised to go either way, Vixens coach Simone McKinnis said she was pleased with the composure her side showed under immense pressure to finish the third stanza 47-42 and with their eventual game-winning lead of five goals.

"We knew they were going to come out in the third quarter really strong again," McKinnis said.

"But that was the most pleasing thing, I said to the team at three quarter time, 'They came at you and got a few in a row' but we were able to steady ourselves and just keep our score ticking over again and that was really important for us."

Vixens (7-4) now sit within finals contention in outright third on the ladder on 14 points ahead of Fever (6-5, 12 points) following their must-win clash.

Headline shooter Karyn Bailey top scored for the home side with 42 from 46 at 91 per cent accuracy and she was well supported from Alice Teague-Neeld (18 from 22).

With two regular season games to play, Vixens face a tough assignment in New Zealand against Kiwi conference leaders Southern Steel next week.

Game MVP and Vixens wing attack Madi Robinson said the Fever win would set her side up well to take on the unbeaten Steel in Invercargill on Saturday.

"They're a quality side and I think they've shown that they have taken their game to another level," Robinson said.

"Their defensive line is very similar to what we played today ... so I reckon this is a good preparation to step it up another notch and put out a stronger performance next week.

"It is about continually building. I think we can go out there and win it."

After the Steel, the Vixens will travel to Wellington to take on the last-placed Central Pulse.

Fever now travel home to the west to host the Pulse before a tough final-round clash against second-placed reigning premiers, Queensland Firebirds.

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