Malawi National Netball Team icon Mwawi Kumwenda had a bittersweet Thursday night as her Australian Suncorp Netball League team Melbourne Vixens went down 50-64 to West Coast Fever in her 100th match.
Kumwenda was the epicentre of action in the match with supernetball.com.au describing her as one of the best.
“[Captain Courtney] Bruce took on one of the best shooters in the competition in Kumwenda (35 goals) and finished with a whopping nine gains,” reads a report on the website.
Vixens also congratulated Kumwenda as she hit the milestone.
“She was born to be on the big stage and, hasn’t she delivered! A special night for fan favourite Mwawi Kumwenda who plays her 100th game tonight! A true competitor, a passionate performer and a loyal teammate with an incredible story.
“You have come so far MJ and we are so proud of you. You are an inspiration both on and off the court for both our Vixens family and beyond. Good luck sister!” reads a post on Vixens’ Facebook page.
Vixens also hailed the Queens superstar on their website: “With just over 24 hours’ notice confirming the match, and being reminded of her 100th game this morning, Kumwenda didn’t allow the milestone butterflies get in the way of her performance — she stood up and played her role, in the way only ‘MJ’ can, scoring 31 goals and four super shots.”
Vixens Coach Simone McKinnis spoke highly of the 100-gamer despite finishing the match on the losing side.
“MJ’s been phenomenal for us since she’s arrived. She’s such a unique player, brilliant with the ball and we’re just so happy and fortunate to have her play her 100th with the Vixens and to share that with her.
“It’s that energy, that passion that she brings to training, to everything we do. She’s a pretty special person and pretty special competitor,” McKinnis said.
According to supernetball.com.au, Vixens only challenged Fever in patches and now run the risk of falling from premiers in 2020 to the wooden spoon in 2021 after their ninth loss from 11 games.
The 14-goal margin in the rescheduled round eight fixture failed to reflect the dominance of the West Australians who rested captain Bruce and goal attack Alice Teague-Neeld for the closing minutes of the final term.
It was a numbers game for Fever who tightened their grip on a top-four spot and remain genuine top two contenders despite being docked 12 points for salary cap breaches in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Jhaniele Fowler sank 58 goals while the slick attacking duo of Verity Charles and Teague-Neeld had a combined 57 feeds.