Captain Bianca Chatfield and her Melbourne Vixens team mates are excited about the opportunity to play at Rod Laver Arena, netball’s equivalent of the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
After winning the rights to host the major semi-final against the Northern Mystics by finishing the season as league leaders, the Vixens were forced to seek an alternative venue in the form of neighbouring Rod Laver Arena with the unavailability of home court Hisense Arena.
The Vixens are looking forward to playing at the larger indoor stadium, even using it as motivation during the final two rounds in New Zealand when the minor premiership was on the line.
The MCG is the largely regarded as the country’s premier outdoor sporting venue, and largest, with a capacity of 100,000.
“It’s always been so exciting for us to have the opportunity to play at Hisense Arena and now that’s become our regular home court, because of the amazing support we’ve had here. Playing at Rod Laver Arena will be incredible, it’s like the MCG of netball for us,” Chatfield said.
“During our time in New Zealand over the last two rounds, we’ve been using it as our incentive: not to worry about what was going to happen but the fact we had something pretty cool in playing in Rod Laver in front of us if we made the most of our games over there.”
Rod Laver Arena, with a capacity of just under 15,000, will be recognisable to most as the venue for the annual Australian Open tennis Grand Slam since the tournament’s relocation from Kooyong Stadium to the Olympic Park precinct in 1988.
The Vixens are hoping to break the city’s netball attendance record of 9,600 achieved at Hisense Arena for international fixtures, including last year’s Constellation Cup decider between the Diamonds and Silver Ferns, and the 2009 ANZ Championship Grand Final.
The Vixens’ permanent move to Hisense Arena this year has seen the franchise enjoy unprecedented off court success with a total of 35,240 people having attended six home games this season – an increase of 9,467 on the last season’s seven home games.
Depending upon the result of Sunday’s major semi-final, either the Preliminary Final or Grand Final will return to Hisense Arena.
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