“It’s something I will remember forever…”
Ask Melbourne Vixens’ young gun Tayla Honey if she thought she’d be entering the Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final this Sunday against the West Coast Fever, off the back of living in a Queensland hotel for three months, and she’d tell you you’re dreaming.
“To call it unique would be an understatement. This whole experience has been surreal and something that we may not see ever again.”
It’s been an incredibly different season for the Melbourne Vixens Netball team, who, only months ago, left the comfort of their Melbourne homes to take on the hub life and salvage a 2020 Super Netball season.
But, there’s one final challenge ahead, with the Vixens and Puma’s #WitnessFearless Campaign coming to a head when they taking on the West Coast Fever in the Super Netball Grand Final on Sunday 18 October from 12pm at Nissan Arena.
The #WitnessFearless Campaign launched earlier this season, with the aim to “crush negative reviews, change perceptions and change headlines”, giving a platform to the elite Melbourne Vixens athletes, while inspiring the younger generations and silencing the critics and keyboard warriors.
“It’s an incredible initiative that PUMA have brought on. They don’t want to sell apparel or shoes, it’s a rally call to netball fans around the country to band together in support of the sport,” Honey said.
The movement, which showcases three key messages, (to demand more together, to see netball to believe it and reinforce the fearlessness of the sport), has been an extremely positive one, with the Vixens proving their ability and ferocity against their competition all year.
Finishing the season 10 points clear on top of the ladder, the Vixens have settled in well, winning 14 games, drawing one and losing only two.
And Honey’s efforts alongside her fearless teammates means her lifelong dream is finally coming true this weekend.
Honey’s mother, Di Honey, was an Australian Diamonds netballer and has passed the baton on to her daughter, who grew up adoring her mum’s passion.
“Mum used to coach in the APS and I always went to watch her teams play. I wanted to be just like her,” she said.
And now, it’s her turn to etch her name into the history books.
Evidently, this week sees the centre-positioned Honey and her side’s focus steadily on the Grand Final, preparing to collect their third Championship and first since the revamped Suncorp competition.
“We are focussing on trusting the process and getting out there and delivering on Sunday.”
But the young star ensures their opposition are nothing short of spectacular on court, with the Fever being the only side to draw with the Vixens this season, back in Round 10.
“Fever are a team that can score very quickly with Jhaniele Fowler (goal shooter), so we don’t want to get ourselves in…chase mode. Once you’re there, it’s hard to come back,” the 23-year-old said.
“We just have to focus on getting a good start. It’s going out and going hard at the ball…to win this Grand Final,” she said.
And for their loyal fans back home, Honey and the Vixens have one final message of gratitude.
“We are so grateful for their continued support. Even though they can’t be with us up here in the stands, we know that they are watching back home.”
“It’s been such a pivotal thing, knowing that we have their support,” Honey said.
The Vixens take on the Fever in the Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final this Sunday 18 October at Nissan Arena. You can catch all the action live from 1pm on Channel 9.