Round 7 preview: Melbourne derby a big test for Pies

19 days ago

Off the back of an impressive second win, the Magpies will look to test the Melbourne Vixens this week as the Melbourne Derby rears its head.

Sophie Taylor

The scenario:

Six games down means we are reaching the midway point of the season, with eight home and away matches remaining.

The Pies added a second win to their tally on the weekend, and will look to continue that form this week as their confidence and pressure builds.

A seven day break works out nicely for the Pies who will be well-rested and ready to go, and with a fire in the belly to match.

In intriguing circumstances, this match will be the first Melbourne derby hosted in Victoria since the 2019 semi-final between the two sides.

Only percentage separates the three bottom sides, and while the Magpies have settled into the underdog title nicely, they will no doubt want to bring the heat and give the Melbourne Vixens a real push this week.

Coming off Round 6:

The Magpies got both their players and their mojo back in Round 6 with an epic eight-goal win over the Queensland Firebirds.

The return of Geva Mentor, Molly Jovic, Sophie Garbin and Gabby Sinclair paved the way as the Pies forced errors from the usually composed Firebirds, with Mentor's experience a real catalyst in the back-end.

Jovic and Ash Brazill showcased their game-changing attitude, while Shimona Nelson fired under pressure with a 54-goal haul to post.

While less accurate than they would have liked at a combined 77 percent, the Magpies looked dangerous in transition and were hard to stop on the rebound with 14 to the Firebirds' seven.

An eye on the opposition:

At this stage of the season, the Vixens still look like the premier team in the competition with five wins to their name after six rounds.

A dominant win over the West Coast Fever last week was a real indicator of what they are capable of - although a loss to the Sunshine Coast Lightning a few days later shook the side.

The Vixens somewhat lacked their early season potency during Round 6, but regardless came away with a six-goal win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds credit to a starring effort from goal defence, Jo Weston.

Weston finished with seven gains, while goaler Kiera Austin nabbed three intercepts to go with her 13 goals and Liz Watson registered 19 goal assists. Ever reliable goal shooter Mwai Kumwenda shot 38 goals from 42 attempts at 90.5 percent.

Last time we met:

Despite the Vixens' form this year, the Magpies have won the last two encounters against their cross-town rivals and will be hoping to replicate those performances this week against the ladder-leaders.

The Pies claimed a four-goal win in Round 11, 2021, off the back of an excellent 30-24 second half.

Nelson was accurate as ever with 37 goals straight as Sinclair tallied 14 goals from 17 attempts, while Jodi-Ann Ward was magnificent with a whopping nine gains (three intercepts).

Mentor (seven gains) and Jovic (six gains) were similarly impressive, while it was a shared effort feeding into goals with Kelsey Browne, Jovic and Sinclair all registering goal assists in the teens.

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