For new Vixen Kaylia Stanton, her time in Melbourne has had a whirlwind start, filled with COVID lockdowns and a tough start to the Super Netball season. This is all while she settles in to not only a new team, but a new state as well.
The Inner Sanctum spoke with Stanton about her first pre-season with the Melbourne Vixens and making her debut for the club.
“I’ve really adjusted well since being over here,” Stanton told The Inner Sanctum.
“Simone (McKinnis) is a fantastic coach and Sharelle (McMahon) as well. They really are giving us every opportunity to succeed and do our best each training session.
“I think also having the younger girls around me is really good to really keep challenging and pushing myself to be the best I can be.”
Although the defensive line of the premiership-winning Vixens has stayed the same, there have been a few major changes up the front end with the addition of Stanton, Hannah Mundy and Ruby Barkmeyer.
After Vixens legends Tegan Phillip and Caitlin Thwaites retired at the end of last season in addition to a season ending injury to Liz Watson, it’s more important than ever to have built those on-court connections during the pre-season.
“Ruby (Barkmeyer) has come in, it’s her first time playing professionally she was obviously a training partner and have gone through that pathway previously,” Stanton said.
“So just to be able to help build her game and our connection on the court as well as off-court.”
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Stanton made her Vixens debut in round one against her old side in the West Coast Fever. It’s an experience that Stanton is grateful for, especially with a familiar face in the crowd.
“It was pretty exciting, I loved it.
“I had a great time being out on court with the girls and to finally put the navy dress on was a real opportunity and something I’m really grateful for.
“I was lucky enough to have my mum come over for the game and to be a part of the Vixens army as well, which was exciting.”
The past few weeks have been filled with uncertainty with the Melbourne Vixens as well as fellow Victorians the Collingwood Magpies, having to pack their bags and head off to Queensland and Sydney respectively.
It wasn’t something that they hadn’t done before, spending the 2020 season in a Queensland hub.
“It was an experience, bit of Déjà vu,” Stanton said.
“I guess having to do that last year with the hub up in Brisbane I think you just become really flexible and adaptable because things are going to change and shift, so having that mindset as well is really important.
“To be able to come up here at a moment’s notice was really challenging, there was interesting moments along the way but nothing that we haven’t done before. ”
Beyond this week both Melbourne teams are in limbo, with both sides scheduled to play each other at John Cain Arena. Although it’s confusing and challenging situation for Stanton and the Vixens it’s about controlling the controllable.
“I think it can be quite challenging when you don’t have that certainty, but at the same time we were used to being on the road last year.
“Having different circumstances thrown at us, we’re very flexible and very adaptable and that mindset is going to put us in good stead for our games, because you need to make the most of whatever is in front of you.
“It’s something that’s out of our control. We need to control what we can and for us that’s playing out on the netball court.”
Round five saw the Melbourne Vixens’ first win for the season, in a thrilling two point victory over the Queensland Firebirds. After four losses straight, the win really instilled confidence in the team.
“It was absolutely amazing, everyone was super excited to get that first win,” Stanton said.
“It’s taken a while for us to get there, and now that we have, it builds confidence in the group and allows us to keep building that momentum going forward for this week’s game.”
The Vixens will be searching for their second win of the season against the Adelaide Thunderbirds on Sunday evening.
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