Melbourne Vixens seek two more recruits for ANZ Championship

Re-signed: Vixen Tegan Philip. Photo: Grant TreebyTwo vacancies remain to be filled on the Melbourne Vixens 2016 roster, after the re-signing of Diamonds squad member Tegan Philip and talented young home-grown quartet Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Chloe Watson and Emily Mannix on two-year deals.

Star midcourter Madi Robinson agreed to terms earlier this month, while Karyn Bailey, Geva Mentor, Kate Moloney and Alice Teague-Neeld are already contracted for next season.

That leaves one spot for a shooter, the role filled in 2015 by experienced recruit Carla Dziwoki, and another for a circle defender to replace retired captain Bianca Chatfield.

The 2014 champions – whose title defence unravelled after Robinson’s knee injury in round six and ended disappointingly short of the finals – also have coach Simone McKinnis committed for at least another year.

“I’m really excited with how our 2016 team is taking shape; the long-term potential of our team and the progress we have all made as individuals means we can continue the work we started this year,” said McKinnis.

“The dedication of this group of athletes in regard to pushing themselves to be the best, both individually and as a team, is very encouraging for us as a group.”

Weston is the obvious replacement for Chatfield in the starting seven, having gained more court time in a transitional year. The athletic goal defence has been chosen as Watson’s vice-captain in the national under-21 team to play warm-up matches against the senior sides from Australia, England and New Zealand before the Netball World Cup, starting next week in Sydney.

While ANZ Championship teams have another month – minus the World Cup blackout period that runs until August 16 – to finalise their full playing lists, trading has been minimal since the transfer window opened on June 22.

Diamonds squad member Khao Watts has left West Coast Fever to return to Adelaide, and Verity Simmons has crossed to the Fever after being usurped as Queensland Firebirds’ first-choice wing attack by Caitlyn Nevins.

Australian Chelsea Pitman – a member of the 2011 world championship-winning team, who also holds a New Zealand passport – will return from a year with UK Superleague club Manchester Thunder to join her fourth club, the Central Pulse.

Former Silver Ferns defender Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit has left Wellington to rejoin the Southern Steel, in what is effectively a swap with Phoenix Karaka.

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