McDonald’s Vixens debut season culminates in grand final

Elle McDonald will play in the Super Netball grand final on Sunday, just weeks after making her Vixens debut. Photo: Barry Alsop/Melbourne Vixens

By Jackson Russell

Seymour Lions coach Elle McDonald’s debut Super Netball season gets better and better after Melbourne Vixens booked a place in the grand final against West Coast Fever on Sunday.

The Vixens finished the season 10 points clear on top of the ladder and sealed their spot in the decider with a 63-47 major semi-final win over Sunshine Coast Lightning last weekend.

The grand final matchup offers a perfect bookend to McDonald’s season, after she made her Super Netball debut in the Vixens’ win over the Fever in August.

McDonald said it was surreal to think that she was only a year removed from making her way through the Australian Netball League pathway.

“This time last year, I was only just making my way through the ANL pathway, and now to be sitting on the Vixens’ bench in the grand final is a big step, but it’s definitely exciting,” she said.

While Sunday presents the biggest game of her netball career, McDonald said the Vixens were trying to treat it like any other week.

“I think we’re trying to keep this week as normal as possible in terms of our training and sticking to the processes that have been working for us throughout the season,” she said.

“Whatever happens on the weekend, everyone will be super supportive and we’re all excited to get out on court and experience a grand final at this level.”

The Melbourne Vixens celebrate their major semi-final win. Photo: Barry Alsop/Melbourne Vixens

McDonald was able to make an impact in limited minutes in the major semi-final, with three feeds for three goal assists and an interception, while starting centre Kate Moloney left the court for treatment on an injured finger.

“Every time I step out on court, I’m building on that confidence and that support is there from my teammates,” McDonald said.

“It was a quick stint with Kate Moloney going off for a bit but I feel like I was composed and played my role as best I could.

“I felt good that there wasn’t a big change in the flow of the game and I was able to slot in.”

McDonald said it was a dream come true to play in a grand final at the highest level for the Vixens and she had received overwhelming support from the Seymour Football Netball Club.

“I’ve definitely got a bit of following at Seymour and get a lot of messages of support from players, coaches and the community when I get some court time. I think they’re all really excited we’re through to the grant final and I think they’ll be watching eagerly,” she said.

“It’s a bit of a dream come true and just to be able to put on the Vixens dress and be part of this amazing club, especially this year under the circumstances, it just shows the strength from the girls that we can come through premiers and make the hard slog of preseason and being away from home worth it.

“Hopefully we can get the win for Tegan Philip and Caitlin Thwaites, who are retiring at the end of the year and make it a good one for them.”