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McKinnis, Marinkovich refuse to let grand final rekindle Diamonds dramas

Marinkovich faced criticism from some quarters for not having played for Australia and not having won a Super Netball title.

“When I am around this group it’s all about the Fever,” Marinovich said on Thursday.

“It’s about our brand and the relationships we have been building. I have to bring plans to the players, they have to embrace them and we work on this together.

“This isn’t about me, it’s about our collective and how hard we have worked to get out there and perform.

“Regardless of the result, we have taken enormous steps forward but if we play at our best I think the result will fall our way.”

Some critics also believed McKinnis had more runs on the board along with a more illustrious playing career and a title win but McKinnis has been nothing but complimentary of Marinkovich stating she wouldn’t see a win on Sunday as any vindication.

“Absolutely not,” McKinnis told media on Thursday.

“Stacey is the Diamonds coach and it was well earned. She is a quality coach and a quality person.

“Once that process was done my focus was absolutely with the Vixens and it’s all irrelevant for me now.”

The Fever are chasing their first title while McKinnis is seeking her second title following a win in 2014.

The two clubs drew 63-63 in their last meeting following a second-half comeback from Melbourne.

Both sides have felt some injury blows in recent weeks with the Fever losing energetic centre-court player Ingrid Colyer to a knee injury last month and the Vixens nervously watching how wing defence Kate Eddy manages a foot injury this week.

Marinkovich said the Fever have a special “extra-effort” play which they have named in honour of Colyer, who is now home in Western Australia, while McKinnis said Eddy was likely to play pending her ability to train this week and move comfortably.

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The Vixens will have shooters Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip heading into retirement while co-captain Liz Watson said the team also wanted to give a second title to coach Simone McKinnis who has led the side since 2013.

Melbourne’s line-up has been among the most steady in the competition during McKinnis’ tenure with Watson, co-captain Kate Moloney, Jo Weston, Emily Mannix and shooters Mwai Kumwenda and Tegan Philip ever-present.

Thwaites has also had a long connection to the club playing making her debut with predecessors Melbourne Kestrels and spending her early seasons with the Vixens before returning from Collingwood for the 2019 season.

“I’ve played with these girls a long time and Simone has coached us from the start [of Super Netball] so I feel like we owe it to Simone as much as anyone to get this title for her,” Watson said.

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