Vixens down Mavericks in maiden Melbourne derby

The Melbourne Vixens have taken out the first Super Netball crosstown derby against the expansion Melbourne Mavericks with a 68-61 victory at John Cain Arena.

The Vixens gained separation after quarter-time on Sunday and connected at a red-hot 88 per cent to claim bragging rights against the debuting Mavericks, formed last September to take the place of Collingwood, who handed back their licence following the 2023 season.

Ex-Magpie Sophie Garbin showed why she is regarded as one of the gun recruits of the off-season with a lethal shooting display, while captain Kate Moloney was typically industrious at centre and debutant Zara Walters nerveless at goal attack.

"So amazing - so good to get the win," said Garbin.

"I've been on the other side of these (playing in derbies for Collingwood) and I know how hard the Vixens come out in that last bit.

"Super excited to officially be a Vixen."

Kate Moloney (L) and Maverick Molly Jovic collide.
Vixen Kate Moloney (L) and Maverick Molly Jovic tangle in an at-times hotly contested first derby.

The Vixens, who were without injured duo Jo Weston and Hannah Mundy, rode Garbin's hot shooting hand to a 15-13 quarter-time lead before climbing on top in a 21-16 second term.

Walters had the better of Mavs skipper Amy Parmenter, while Kiera Austin got on a roll from super-shot range to give Garbin valuable support in the circle.

Marquee Mavs recruit Eleanor Cardwell, who had a difficult opening term, enjoyed a second-quarter purple patch and buried a two-pointer on the half-time siren to reduce the Vixens' lead to 36-29.

Cardwell produced another long-range buzzer-beater, on three-quarter-time, to give the Mavericks a sniff heading into the fourth but their dreams of a first-up fairytale were clinically warded off by Moloney, Garbin, Walters and defender Rudi Ellis.

"I couldn't be more proud of our new Vixens in Sophie and Zara, who has never played at this level before," Moloney said.

"And Rudi, I'm not sure if it's her first start into a full match, but I just thought those girls really stood up."

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