By Aimee Dawson

The Melbourne Vixens have claimed a convincing win in their opening game of the 2015 season, defeating the highly regarded Central Pulse by 24 goals.

Australian Diamonds player Tegan Philip (nee Caldwell) starred for the Vixens, continuing her good form from 2014, shooting 35 goals from 41 attempts to be named most valuable player (MVP) for the match.

Philip also became the Vixen’s highest ever scoring player, overtaking former Vixen Caitlin Thwaites’ total of 1186 goals.

In what was a shock to many netball fans, legend Irene van Dyk began the match on the bench for the Pulse, with former Australian shooter Amerliaranne Wells and Jodi Brown getting the start.

The Vixens’ experience as a team showed during the opening quarter, whilst the Pulse struggled with their new on-court combinations.

However van Dyk did take the court after quarter time, due to the Pulse’s slow start, which saw them down by 13 goals to two at one stage in the first quarter.

Van Dyk’s introduction into the game helped to settle the away team in attack, where in the first quarter they were rushed and chaotic.

The Vixens continued to extend the margin, with their attacking line of Karyn Bailey, Tegan Philip and Madison Robinson combining flawlessly.

The third quarter was the crucial part of the match. At half time the Pulse were down by just 11 goals and had a chance to pull back the margin for a big fourth quarter.

However it was the Vixens’ who capitalised in the premiership quarter, scoring 17 goals to the Pulse’s 11 and extending the lead to almost 20.

Basic errors in the last quarter by the Pulse allowed to the Vixens to slowly edge the margin above 20 goals.

Philip finished out the game with a goal on the final whistle, leading the Vixens to a convincing 64 – 40 win.

Vixens’ captain Bianca Chatfield was brilliant in defence, finishing with one intercept and nine deflections, whilst van Dyk was the star for the Pulse, shooting half of the Pulse’s goals for the match in just three quarters.

The Vixens will return home again next weekend for their match against the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

In other games this round, the Adelaide Thunderbirds lost to the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic by one goal, the West Coast Fever recorded an away win over the Queensland Firebirds, The NSW Swifts were victorious over New Zealand’s Southern Steel and the Northern Mystics defeated the Canterbury Tactix.

Image courtesy of Tom Griffiths