Vixens eyeing second netball title

Melissa Woods, NZ Newswire Updated July 17, 2012, 1:09 pm

The Melbourne Vixens believe they have a "massive advantage" over New Zealand's Magic in Sunday's trans-Tasman netball competition grand final.

The Magic, from Waikato/Bay of Plenty, booked their place in the main decider with a 57-48 win over their Auckland counterparts the Mystics, with last night's match decided in extra time.

The Vixens, who were the ANZ Championship minor premiers, earned the right to host the grand final more than a week ago and have been able to relax and prepare on their home turf.

Skipper Bianca Chatfield said not playing an extra game and having to travel from New Zealand would give her team a leg up against the Magic.

"We had a hard practice match on Friday night but we've now got the week off to recover and prepare for the game so I think it's a massive advantage for us," Chatfield said.

"It's a six-day turnaround for them as well as the travel."

The Vixens can become the first team to ever win two trans-Tasman titles since the competition started in 2008, first winning in 2009.

It will be the Magic's third grand final appearance after losing to the NSW Swifts in 2008 and the Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2010.

The Magic showed plenty of fight to level at 44-44 at the end of regular time and then nailed the first five goals in extra time to assert themselves.

Champion veteran shooter Irene van Dyk finished with 35 goals from 40 attempts and her rumoured retirement at the end of the season will give her side even more incentive in the grand final.

Van Dyk showed her courage to play only hours after hearing of her mother's death after a long battle with cancer back in South Africa.

The 40-year-old will fly home after Sunday's match for the funeral.

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