Thwaites retires on winning note as Vixens claim Super Netball flag

WE DID IT: Caitlin Thwaites, right, punches the air in jubilation. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

WE DID IT: Caitlin Thwaites, right, punches the air in jubilation. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Caitlin Thwaites departed netball on a high note on Sunday after the Melbourne Vixens defeated West Coast Fever by two goals in a thrilling Suncorp Super Netball grand final on Sunday.

In her final game before retirement, Bendigo's Thwaites scored 16 points to help the Vixens to a 66-64 victory.

"I'm spent, I'm absolutely spent, nothing left out there," Thwaites said post-match in an interview with Channel Nine.

In a match that did justice to a grand final, the Vixens trailed at quarter-time and half-time before a third quarter surge saw them open up a five-goal lead.

However, the tenacious Fever didn't lie down.

By halfway through the final term they'd regained the lead and an upset result looked on the cards.

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A crucial goal from Thwaites gave the Vixens a two-point buffer with three minutes on the clock, but the Fever replied with a super goal to level the scores.

The team traded goals before Vixens goal shooter Mwai Kumwenda, who was named player of the match, edged her side clear 65-64 with 90 seconds remaining.

The Fever attempted another super goal, but missed, and the Vixens grabbed the rebound.

The Vixens showed their class and experience by keeping possession of the ball while the clock wound down.

Fittingly, Kumwenda sealed the deal with her 47th point in the dying seconds.

After the final buzzer sounded the Vixens went into celebration mode.

The first player Thwaites embraced was team-mate Tegan Philip, who was also playing her final match after a distinguished career at national and interntional level.

"I had such faith, we'd played out all those scenarios and we knew exactly what to do,'' Thwaites said.

"I'm just so proud to be a part of this club."

Thwaites paid tribute to the support of family, friends and Vixens fans, who have been doing it tough in lockdown in Victoria.

"We really hope that you guys back home we've brought some light to you guys,'' she said.

"We know that it has been really, really hard for you and we can't wait to get home and give you all a big hug."

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