All sides remain in hunt for finals spot

THERE were plenty of happy crowds this week in the ANZ Premiership with all home sides taking away the premiership points, making some moves on the ladder.

Auckland Derby goes down to the wire

Northern Mystics (51) defeated Northern Stars (49)

There was no predicting which team would win this Auckland Derby with the lead alternating between each side each quarter. There was really nothing in this game with very equal stat lines, just the obvious differences being the quarter time scores.

An even shooting load by the Mystics shooters made it difficult for the Stars defenders to predict who would get the ball and shoot. All Mystics players were very costly with the ball though as Carys Stythe (seven deflections, two intercepts, and one rebound) was the only Mystics player from the starting seven not to cough up a turnover.

The Mystics led by as much as nine near the end of the third quarter, but the Stars quickly responded and fought their way back in the next term. It wasn’t enough though as a 17-9 third quarter performance by the Mystics got them over the edge by two goals.

Top of the table clash goes into extra time

Mainland Tactix (58) defeated Central Pulse (53)

It’s hard to look past these two teams as the grand final match in just a couple of months. This result reverses the result from back in Round 5 which saw the Tactix handed their only loss for the season.

This time around though the match went to extra time, but once the Tactix felt the momentum shift even slightly in their favour in extra time, they just ran with it taking it out 7-2, exposing some of the inexperience in the Pulse attack line.

Martina Salmon had a big task of shooting the goals and she did that with no problem adding 50 goals to the scoreboard alongside two rebounds. The connection between her and Whitney Souness (26 feeds and 20 goal assists) is near unstoppable, but Karin Burger (four gains, five deflections, and three intercepts) made sure to stop that from happening.

Magic make further push into the top three

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (48) defeated Southern Steel (41)

After a close first half, the game quickly swung into the Magic’s favour with a five goal turnaround heading into the last break. The home side won the second half by nine goals with their accuracy at the post being a main contributor shooting at 90 percent compared to the Steel’s 67 percent.

The combination of Georgia Takarangi (nine gains, 13 deflections, and three pickups) and Erena Mikaere (four deflections) is Silver Ferns material with the defenders gelling seamlessly throughout the season. Both Takarangi and Mikaere had four rebounds and two intercepts each in their standout 60 minute performances.

Ivana Rowland’s (16 goals) introduction to the game shifted the Magic’s whole shooting end. She stuck to the basics and executed them well. Rowland was great on the hold, moved out and around the circle well, and knew when to give others space to run into.

It was another game where Kate Heffernan (38 feeds, 16 goal assists, and one intercept) played with her heart on her sleeve, but she wasn’t doing it on her own. Renee Savai’inaea (four intercepts and two gains) stepped up to the plate and won back plenty of clean ball to shave up the Magic’s midcourt.

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