Melbourne Vixens coach Simone McKinnis is expecting a fierce battle tomorrows season opener against the Collingwood Magpies.
“Being the best team in Melbourne is the first step towards being the best team in the country,’’ McKinnis told Melbourne Vixens.
“I know the Magpies desperately want to start the season with a win - and a win over us, in particular,’’ she said.
It is the third edition of The Battle with the Vixens having taken both wins in season one of the Suncorp Super Netball, 58-55 in round one and 60-56 in round seven.
McKinnis said the rivalry between the two sides has been brilliant for the sport.
“It’s a totally different crowd feel, and that’s the only time you have that - pretty much half the crowd cheering for you, half the crowd cheering against," she said.
There’s a greater intensity about the build-up, as well, and for me it’s very real."
Vixens won the 2017 minor premiership and have been able to retain majority of their squad with the only changes including shooter Mwai Kumwenda in a new partnership with Tegan Philip who returns from injury.
While for the Magpies they have the unknown factor of Erin Bell but also the familiar face of Caitlin Thwaites who was the competition’s leading scorer with 594 goals at 92 percent.
“Caitlin Thwaites, you’d almost say she’s been unstoppable in recent times, and overcoming that is one of the biggest challenges for us,’’ said McKinnis.
“But that comes from what work we’re doing out in front, which includes Erin Bell.
“With the players and the calibre of talent that they’ve got, there’s no weakness as such.
"We’ve got to be on top of our game all across the court to be in the contest," she said.
Melbourne Vixens v Collingwood Magpies
LIVE on Channel Nine