Malawi’s Australian based Goal Shooter (GA), Mwawi Kumwenda was voted player of the match following her sparkling form on Sunday as her side Melbourne Vixens moved into second spot on the Suncorp Super Netball ladder with a commanding 72-50 win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds at Priceline Stadium.
Malawi Queens goal shooter’s side clinched a maximum eight points to take their season total to 21 points with Kumwenda being declared Nissan Most Valuable Player (MVP) in sparkling form from the field with 47/47.
In a telephone interview with Malawi News Agency on Monday from Australia, Kumwenda said was delighted to be crowned player of the match and promised fireworks in the coming games.
“I owe this to my teammate because we work and win as a team. I promise to work extra harder in the coming games in order to continue raising the Malawi flag high,” she pointed out.
It was an important match for both sides for different reasons. Adelaide was desperately fighting for their first points of the season, while the victory gave the Vixens a chance of cementing their spot in the top four.
What the score line didn’t reflect was the improvement the Thunderbirds showed in this match.
An almost entirely revamped roster, that includes several young rising stars, was always going to take time to gel.
At times, the Thunderbirds were slick and dominant across the entire court but the lapses were extremely costly, with the visitors able to peel off several goal-scoring runs which kept Adelaide out of the contest.
The early signs weren’t good for the winless Thunderbirds as the Vixens opened up a 5-2 lead, but the home crowd helped ignite their team who came roaring back quickly.
Midway through the first quarter, Adelaide was sitting just one goal in arrears as they took the challenge up to last season’s minor premiers.
The Vixens managed to control possession which in turn led to goals, with the visitors winning the first bonus point with a 17-10 lead at the end of first quarter.
Turnovers continued to hurt the Thunderbirds as their possession dropped to almost 40 per cent, the Vixens were able to push the lead out to 22-13.
Melbourne ultimately claimed the quarter win and their second bonus point, going into the main break leading 36-22.
The Thunderbirds made big changes to stem the flow, with Chelsea Pitman going to the bench, Bongi Msomi moving from centre to wing attack and substitute Hannah Petty coming in at centre.
They scrapped hard for their first bonus point of the season, but the scoreline blew out at the end of the third quarter and the Vixens were able to complete a big win in Adelaide.
Q1: Thunderbirds 10 v Vixens 17
Q2: Thunderbirds 12 v Vixens 19
Q3: Thunderbirds 12 v Vixens 17
Q4: Thunderbirds 16 v Vixens 19
Vixens shooting statistics
Mwai Kumwenda 47/47Tegan Philip 25/27
Thunderbirds starting seven – GS: Shimona Nelson, GA: Charlee Hodges, WA: Chelsea Pitman, C: Bongi Msomi, WD: Kaitlyn Bryce, GD: Leana de Bruin, GK: Kate Shimmin
Vixens starting seven – GS: Mwai Kumwenda, GA: Tegan Philip, WA: Liz Watson, C: Kate Moloney, WD: Chloe Watson, GD: Jo Weston, GK: Emily Mannix
Nissan MVP: Mwai Kumwenda