ANZ Premiership Review: Round 8

THE finals are quickly approaching with each side vying for a spot in the top three. The Central Pulse continued their dominance while the Northern Stars and Southern Steel put on a blockbuster with a two-goal decider pushing the Steel ahead.

Northern Stars (58) defeated by Southern Steel (60)

It was a close encounter with both sides going toe-for-toe throughout the match with the Stars falling by two goals to the Steel after a hard-fought performance. Both sides applied plenty of pressure across the court unable to completely break free of one another.

The Stars were without the experience of Temepara Bailey and Ellen Halpenny due to granted leave forcing the side to make some changes, but they looked crisp early on. Charlee Hodges worked wonders once again in goal attack winning player of the match honours for the Stars credit to her accuracy to post and drive across the court. Hodges finished the game with 19 goals from 24 attempts at 79 per cent while her feeds into shooter Maia Wilson were second to none. Wing attack Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was a real general down in the attack end, commanding space and using the angles to open up the court. She finished the game with a whopping 53 feeds and 27 goal assists showcasing the wealth of work she does across the court. Kayla Cullen was also impressive down in defence with three gains and one intercept, while her drive through the midcourt helped to break the zone set by Steel. Captain Leana De Bruin was also prominent racking up four gains and five deflections.

After half time the Southern Steel brought on goal shooter Lenize Potgieter who starred under the post. The introduction of the South African proved dividends with feeders able to find her easier in the goal circle credit to her strong hold and clever body positioning. Potgieter finished the game with 22 from 24 sitting at an impressive 92 percent, while goal attack Te Paea Selby Rickit played her role chipping in with 21 goals for the match. It was the work of Gina Crampton and Shannon Saunders that helped to push them over the line with both working hard in transition to hustle for circle edge. Crampton racked up 43 feeds and 25 goal assists, while Saunders amassed 39 feeds and 17 goal assists. Defensively Te Huinga Selby-Rickit showcased her pressure with five gains and four rebounds ensuring that the Stars had to work in attack to get ball to post.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (57) defeated Mainland Tactix (50)

The Magic put out a full four quarter effort to claim their fourth victory of the season, keeping them in contention for a finals spot if they continue their hot form. On the other hand the Tactix have slumped to the bottom of the ladder after failing to fire.

Kelsey McPhee was a revelation in the goal circle for the Magic, really lifting her workload shooting 40 from 46 attempts at an impressive 87 percent. Through the midcourt Sam Sinclair dazzled with both her offensive and defensive work on show with some timely touches and clever feeds into the goal circle a real asset for the Magic. She led the way with 24 feeds and racked up a whopping five intercepts for the game highlighting her ability to read the play. She was closely followed by goal attack Monica Falkner who did a wealth of work outside and inside the ring with 22 feeds and 17 goals. Casey Kopua and Kelly Jury combined for a solid 12 gains and seven rebounds displaying their defensive prowess.

The Tactix put up a fight but it was not enough to topple the Magic who were too strong in the end. But Ellie Bird was once again a shining light with an impressive 93 percent shooting accuracy slotting 43 from her 46 attempts. They struggled in the goal attack position with both Kate Beveridge and Brooke Leaver unable to find their range or rhythm in attack. Defensively Jane Watson stood up with her clever tips, ability to read the play and quick feet to get into good position to prevent the ball coming into the circle. Watson finished the game with six gains, one intercept, two rebounds and three deflections.

Central Pulse (59) defeated Northern Mystics (49)

The Central Pulse showed why they are at the top of the ladder with an impressive 10 goal win over their Northern Mystics who were coming off a two game winning streak. The Pulse shooters proved to be too much for the Mystics defenders while there slick ball movement across the court highlighted their clever game play and netball smarts. The mystics started hot but were unable to maintain their solid start with the Pulse powering over them in the next three quarters.

The Pulse were led in attack by star goal shooter Aliyah Dunn who once again impressed under the goal post with her accuracy and volume. Dunn slotted a whopping 43 goals from 47 attempts while the goal attack position was rotated between Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Tiana Metuarau. Wing attack Whitney Souness was prevalent in attack with her timely feeds and quick feet on display showcasing her ability to own the centre third. Karin Burger starred for the Pulse in defence collecting four intercepts credit to her ability to read the play and long reach.

For the Mystics their attack end seemed to fire but unfortunately it was not enough the get them over the line. Grace Nweke stood her ground after coming on in the second quarter finishing the game with 24 goals from 30 attempts. Meanwhile Bailey Mes seemed to have found some form working hard in attack to feed the ball into her counterparts and chip in on the scoreboard with 20 goals from 25 attempts. Defenders Erena Mikaere and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson worked tirelessly in defence applying pressure on their opponents. Mikaere’s long reach helped her rack up three gains and two intercepts while, Sokolich-Beatson ended the game with four gains and one intercept.

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