IT'S music to the ears of the Melbourne Vixens and their followers, but an obviously scary proposition for their rivals.
Bendigo's Suncorp Super Netball star Caitlin Thwaites concedes she is still coming to grips with her new role at goal attack, suggesting there are great things to come as a season like no other winds its way towards finals.
The long-time Diamonds star has made a virtually seamless transition to goal attack this season as part of the top of the ladder Vixens much-vaunted three-pronged shooting attack, alongside Tegan Philip and Mwai Kumwenda.
A brilliant 2020 season for Thwaites - her 18th in the national netball league - continued against West Coast Fever on Saturday when she was named player of the match in a 63-63 draw at Nissan Arena.
Thwaites shot all 18 of her attempted one-point shots, and four of six Super Shots, as the Vixens fought their way back from a 14-goal deficit during the third quarter to share the points and retain top spot, after nearest rivals the New South Wales Swifts fell to Queensland Firebirds on Saturday.
She had fire in her belly and a will to win! 🔥 Congratulations to the impressive @CaitlinThwaites who is @Nissan_Aus's Player of the Match! 🤩— Melbourne Vixens (@MelbourneVixens) September 5, 2020
An absolutely electrifying game Caity and with no fear!💥
🏐 91.7% accuracy rate
🏃🏼♀️ 11 centre pass receives
👏🏼 6 goal assists pic.twitter.com/Aiyf45osct
Thwaites, who has alternated at times between goal attack and goal shooter this season, shot at 91.7 per cent, above her season average.
After the Vixens hit the front with five minutes to play, the lead continued to see-saw until the end.
A Super Shot from Thwaites with about 10 seconds remaining gave Melbourne a one goal lead, before Fever powerhouse Jhaniele Fowler nailed an after-the-buzzer one-pointer to secure the draw, denying the Vixens a ninth win of the season from just 10 games.
It was mixed emotions for the Vixens and Thwaites post-game after they had overcome not only the absence of star goal keeper Emily Mannix, but a huge deficit.
"It wasn't the ideal result for us being a draw, but I'm definitely proud of the fightback that we showed because we definitely looked a bit down and out there for a little bit," she said.
Those sentiments were shared by Vixens coach Simone McKinnis.
"I'm proud of the way they came back. We got ourselves into a big mess in the first half," she said.
"It's a great quality to have as a team - that fight and that heart."
Whilst it wasn't the result we were after yesterday, a comeback like that means there are plenty of good energy highlights thanks to @originenergy that are worth re-living! 💪— Melbourne Vixens (@MelbourneVixens) September 6, 2020
You can watch the replay on @9Now and the Netball Live App. #WitnessFearless#Vixens4Lifepic.twitter.com/kgUSwHkimZ
Clearly relishing her new role, Thwaites insists if there was any pressure on her, she wasn't feeling it.
"I'm just trying to play it on instinct because I don't know ... I'm still learning out there at goal attack, learning the patterns and the lines that I need to be running and things like that," she said.
"So I guess to a certain extent I feel like a little bit of the pressure's off because I haven't played there much before, so nobody probably expects me to be very good at it.
"We did so much running in the pre-season, so I have been working really hard at the fitness component of it, but still obviously a lot to learn ... all of the patterns and things that we're doing out there.
"For me, I think it's great that we've got the versatility of rotating through all of the three shooters that we've got, and I think it adds something different for our attacking end."
An even-spread of contributions highlights just how effectively the Vixens have shared the shooting load this season.
Kumwenda leads the individual tallies with 225 goals at 89 per cent and 17 Super Shots.
Thwaites has contributed 192 goals at 85 per cent and 23 super shots at 50 percent, while Philip has chimed in with 152 goals at 78 per cent and 22 Super Shots.
Only second-placed Swifts (638) and fourth-placed Fever (678) have scored more than the Vixens this season, while no defence has been more frugal.
Attention for the Vixens has quickly turned to Tuesday night's top-of-the-ladder clash against Swifts, which will be the second and deciding match in the 2020 battle for the Sargeant-McKinnis Cup.
The first instalment less than two weeks ago produced an epic, with the Vixens prevailing in a gripping encounter by three goals, led by goal shooter Kumwenda (46).
It was their first win over the defending Super Netball champions in two years, with Thwaites confident the Vixens can repeat the dose.
"It feels like only a week ago we played them, so those things are still very fresh in our minds, about the way that we did play against them," she said.
"We'll still watch some of the footage and look at them and what they have done in the last couple of games.
"For us, the style of game we play - really fast ball movement, good speed and the full-court defensive pressure - I think it's really paying dividends for us to get a lot of ball.
"And hopefully we can keep that attack end running smoothly and get that really good timing."
So I guess to a certain extent I feel like a little bit of the pressure's off because I haven't played there much before, so nobody probably expects me to be very good at it.Caitlin Thwaites
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.