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Vixens ready for Magpies netball challenge

AAP logoAAP 23/09/2016 Melissa Woods

Melbourne netball coach Simone McKinnis is expecting to form a fierce rivalry with cross-town rivals Collingwood, who poached Vixens skipper Madi Robinson.

The Vixens on Friday unveiled their squad for next year's new national netball league, with Malawian goal attack Mwai Kumwenda and former Diamonds midcourter Khao Watts the new faces.

Kumwenda, who spent the past three seasons at the Mainland Tactix, scored 321 goals to be named player of the tournament at last year's Netball World Cup in Sydney.

She will be joined in the circle by Tegan Phillip, who is back on deck after suffering a serious knee injury in a pre-season practice match.

As well as Test star Robinson, the Vixens lost a wealth of experience in Geva Mentor, who has joined the Sunshine Coast-based new start-up side while they axed veteran Karyn Bailey.

McKinnis said she believed her new-look side would still be a force and in the shuffling of players amongst the Australian teams felt her team had come out well.

"There's a lot of experience that's gone but there's changes across the competition and I think in managing to keep this core group together we've done exceptionally well," McKinnis said.

"We've got some of the best young talent coming through in Australia.

"They're going to be dynamic, fearless and bloody super competitive."

As well as Robinson the Magpies boast a star-studded line-up with Diamonds Sharni Layton and Kim Ravaillion on their roster.

McKinnis believed the battle for supremacy in Melbourne would be a good thing for the game.

"I hope so because that's one of the stories of sport and that sort of rivalry will drive the interest," she said.

Meanwhile, the Adelaide Thunderbirds have bolstered their defensive line-up by signing England captain Ama Agbeze and Jamaica skipper Malysha Kelly.

Agbeze is the second England captain to join the line-up, with most capped English player, Jade Clarke, already named in the side.

Thunderbirds coach Dan Ryan believed the versatile defender would have a big impact on the side.

"Ama is an outstanding athlete with years of experience on the world stage under her belt," Ryan said.

"She adds firepower and leadership to our defensive unit and offers great versatility to the team, with her ability to cover all three positions in the backline."

The Thunderbirds will announce their final two athletes next week.

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