The Melbourne Vixens after winning the 2020 SSN Premiership (Picture: Suncorp Super Netball/Website)

Ahead of the 2022 grand final between the Fever and the Vixens, we speak exclusively to Kate Moloney about this year away from home and winning the title.

Ahead of the 2022 grand final between the West Coast Fever and the Melbourne Vixens, it is worth a look at the last time these two sides played off in a decider in 2020. The Vixens won the premiership against the Fever at Nissan Arena in the first year that COVID-19 affected the location of the season.

The 2020 premiership was awarded to the Vixens who took the win by two points in front of 2061 people at Nissan Arena in Queensland. This was the Vixens’ first premiership since 2014 and the first as the Melbourne Vixens in the SSN competition.

This win also served to break the hoodoo that no SSN team has taken home the minor premiership by finishing first on the ladder and went on to win the grand final.

The occasion marked almost 100 days away from home as well as the final game for Vixens club legends, Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip.

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The Inner Sanctum spoke exclusively to co-captain Kate Moloney about that occasion and what winning a premiership meant in such a tough season for all the players and staff.

“I think at the time it was really tough, looking back now it was probably one of the easy years with everything that’s gone on for the past two years,” Moloney said.

“[The opportunity] to be able to go to Brisbane was something that we felt very lucky to be able to be doing, we knew everyone was having a really tough time back home and we were some of the lucky ones I suppose who got to leave Melbourne.

“There was a feeling of you know, wanting to go over there and really represent Victoria the right way and we were really grateful for the opportunity I think getting on that plane.

“We didn’t really know if the season was going to go ahead or not and different to AFL and male sport, if the season didn’t go ahead, they had the money and the backing to do that, if we didn’t play a season, we didn’t know what was going to happen to our competition.

“It was really important for us to get on that plane and be able to play, so it was really a feeling of relief, I think once we were at the airport knowing we were leaving and a season was going to go ahead.

“I think it really united the group as well and we sort of took it as an opportunity saying that if we can get through this, we can get through anything and I think the group really just took it on board and we went over there and had a really great season.

“I think being away together was a really great opportunity for us to be able to get tighter as a group, you didn’t have all that outside noise and things that were going on, it really was just the group and netball and I think we really embraced it and took it on.

“it was a pretty special feeling when we finally got the job done and knowing we’d be away for so long and people had so many different things going on back home individually but to be able to go over there and win and under the circumstances that it was, was so special.”

If the Melbourne Vixens are able to replicate the result of 2020, they will win their second premiership in three years. This would also mark Moloney, Liz Watson and Jo Weston’s third premiership at the club putting them amongst esteemed company.

Moloney explains how special it was to win her premierships and how they are made possible with the right culture and support staff.

“We always say that nothing is better than team success and that’s why we love team sport,” she said.

“We work so hard with a group of people who become like your family and to be able to taste that ultimate success is something that is really special.

“I was lucky enough to win a premiership in my second year at the Vixens and I thought ‘this is pretty easy’ but it took me another six to win one and to realise how hard they are to come by and to do it in a year like 2020 was just something that was really special.”

The Melbourne Vixens will play the West Coast Fever for the 2022 premiership at RAC Arena on Sunday.

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