The Melbourne Vixens have shone a light on the class gap in Super Netball with a 78-50 demolition of the Queensland Firebirds.
Melbourne at times on Saturday ran six internationals on court and it won't be long before defender Kate Eddy adds another Test player to the ranks after playing her part in the romp at Brisbane's Nissan Arena.
So one way was the traffic after quarter-time, co-captains Kate Moloney and Liz Watson were rested for lengthy portions of the second half to refresh them for Wednesday night's clash with the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
Vixens coach Simone McKinnis and Watson were both pleased with the side's ability to work through the gears and find precise angles through the Firebirds' defence.
"We're typically a fast-moving team and I think we can become quite predictable with that," Watson said.
"A change of pace is something we've been practising and it was really nice to see that today."
Firebird Romelda Aiken shot 35 goals for the home side but there was little else to soothe the sting of defeat.
The injection of Tegan Philip at goal attack in the second quarter signalled the turning point, with the star goaler finishing with 23 goals at 85 per cent accuracy.
Two years after the retirement of Laura Geitz, the Firebirds still have a knack for unearthing tall, athletic goalkeepers.
They appear to have found another potential star in the 190cm frame of debutante Rudy Ellis.
She gave as good as she got against Mwai Kumwenda, with two rebounds and two deflections in the first term.
Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke said her team had faced a lineup filled with internationals.
"We're coming up against internationals who've been together a long time," said Jencke.
"I have to ask them 'what can you take from this game for next time to make sure you're better?'"
Promising as Ellis was, it was impossible to ignore the ruthlessness and cohesion shown by the Vixens' back three.
Kate Eddy, Jo Weston and Emily Mannix were the hardened gatekeepers turning back every incursion launched by the Firebirds as the Vixens took control of the game in the second quarter.
Any prospect of the home team claiming their first win for the season was dashed after the Victorians ran riot in a 22-8 second term.
The first half dominance of Watson and Moloney created an opportunity for Tayla Honey to sample some court time in the second half.
In just her second Super Netball game, Honey moved sharply in the attacking third in a sign she has overcome the Achilles tendon injury that ruined her 2019 season.
Australian Associated Press