The Melbourne Vixens’ Madi Robinson says she and her team learnt a lot from their last grand final loss ahead of their clash with Queensland.
As many a rival netball team has discovered, when it comes to the Melbourne Vixens’ Madi Robinson looks can be deceiving.
Robinson boasts a mega-watt smile and at only 168cm is one of the shortest players in the ANZ Championship.
But behind that beaming grin lies a steely resolve and a fierce determination to succeed, which the Vixens will need to call on in Sunday’s grand final against the Queensland Firebirds at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena.
She is the Vixens’ midcourt general and what the Test star lacks in height, she makes up for with speed and game smarts, according to their coach Simone McKinnis.
“She’s had to work hard to get where she is and over the last couple of years she’s built and built,” McKinnis said of Robinson.
“Her ability and her smarts with the ball is just fantastic and she’s really grown as a leader down in that attack end.”
The 26-year-old schoolteacher has formed a formidable combination this season with rookie centre Liz Watson as well as goalers Tegan Caldwell and Karyn Bailey.
Robinson was a member of the Vixens team that lost the 2012 grand final and she said they were better for the experience.
“That 2012 series was my first finals at an ANZ level so it was a bit of an eye-opener but I think our whole attack end, with Karyn, Tegan and myself have now played three years of finals and we’re feeling a bit more relaxed and confident,” Robinson said.
“I feel like I’m a player who thrives under pressure and I love a challenge.
“I think the leadership role I have, to bring others into the game, is probably a difference since 2012.”
The Firebirds have also tasted defeat in the decider, falling to the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Robinson said Queensland, led by Australian skipper Laura Geitz, knew the Vixens’ game well after three clashes so far this season including the major semi-final won by her side.
“We know they have a strong power in their shooter Romelda Aiken and no doubt Geitzy in her leadership role will no doubt pull out some amazing intercepts.
“We believe in our game plan so if we execute it to the best of our ability we can definitely win it.”