Vixens head coach Simone McKinnis speaks to her players.
Vixens head coach Simone McKinnis speaks to her players. Scott Barbour

Vixens keen to put focus back on the court

MELBOURNE Vixens coach Simone McKinnis is confident a dramatic week off-court in netball and planned player protests at games this weekend will not prove a distraction for her side.

The Vixens are aiming to cement second place on the Super Netball ladder when they take on the New South Wales Swifts in Sydney on Sunday, but the on-court build-up has taken a back-seat to political turmoil in the sport this week.

After threats of strike action, the players elected not to pull out of this weekend's games after their preferred candidate Kathryn Harby-Williams missed out on re-election to the Netball Australia board, but vowed to stage protests at the games.

But McKinnis was adamant her players' focus would not waver on Sunday.

"I think we very much pride ourselves on keeping our focus on whatever needs to happen out on court," McKinnis said.

"Whatever comes of this week, I know that their focus is about what they have got to do out on court, I feel absolutely confident about that and trust in that.

"From my perspective and the way that the girls have been performing (in training) it hasn't impacted."

The Vixens and Swifts drew in their Round 3 clash in Melbourne and McKinnis was determined her team make a strong start after the bye.

"It's just important to get a really good start coming out of the break," McKinnis said.

"There is still so much netball ahead. I am comfortable in the position we are in, in that it's in our hands. That's a good position to be in, but we need to continue winning games if we want to guarantee a (finals) spot and obviously we want to finish as high up the ladder as possible."

The Swifts were dealt a blow ahead of the match against the Vixens, with star midcourter Paige Hadley ruled out with a knee injury.

The Vixens' cross-town rivals the Magpies will also be seeking redemption in the first leg of the Sydney double header against the Giants. The Magpies suffered an eight-goal loss to the Giants in the first meeting between the expansion sides at Hisense Arena earlier this year.

News Corp Australia

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