Vixens poised for Super Netball defence

Melbourne Vixens captain Kate Moloney says the challenges of last year's condensed Super Netball season have boosted their self belief.

KATE MOLONEY.
KATE MOLONEY. Picture: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Melbourne Vixens skipper Kate Moloney admits the loss of star midcourter Liz Watson will leave a massive hole but still thinks they can successfully defend their Super Netball title.

Australian regular Watson had to undergo surgery on a deteriorating foot problem and is expected to be sidelined for the entire Super Netball season.

Watson was included in last year's Super Netball team of the year along with Moloney at centre and her absence will be felt in their dynamic attack.

But she was on Monday still named a Vixens vice-captain and has been doing her best to contribute from the sidelines, according to Moloney.

"Lizzie is one of the best players in the world so she's always going to be a loss to any team, and that's both on and off the court," Moloney told AAP.

"But she's still one of the leaders in our club and while she won't be running around, we still have really strong squad of 15 girls and she will be there to support them."

Taylah Honey, Hannah Mundy and Jordan Cransberg are in the running to replace Watson in their opening round clash against last year's grand finals West Coast on Saturday at John Cain Arena.

In further major line-up changes, the Vixens have also lost veteran shooting duo Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip to retirement.

But Moloney said their self belief had been buoyed by the way they were able to handle the uncertainty and challenges of playing all of last season in a Queensland hub.

"It will be so nice to be able to play in Melbourne in front of our home crowd, which we haven't been able to do for such a long time," Moloney said.

"One of the biggest things last year was that we had so many different things thrown at us and we had to be really adaptable to take on those challenges.

"We did learn that we can be really adaptable and whatever comes our way, if we go into it with the right mindset than we can achieve what we need to."