ANZ Premiership Round 4 preview: Covid postponements trim fixtures from five to two

ROUND 4 of the 2022 ANZ Premiership season has been trimmed from five games to just two, after a third Covid-related postponement was made. With one game each on Saturday and Sunday, we take a different look in the preview this week to cast out eye across the four sides in play and who is standing out.

Leading all-comers this year thus far are the reigning premiers, the Northern Mystics. They have won three on the trot since going down in their opening game, to sit four points clear – albeit having played an extra game – of the Southern Steel. It is no surprise to see the Mystics so high up, with powerful post shooter Grace Nweke piling on 153 goals from 162 attempts at 94 per cent accuracy. She has teamed up well with Filda Vui (48 from 58 at 83 per cent).

They take on the Steel in a top-of-the-table clash, with Kate Burley in great form to tackle Nweke in a head-to-head to watch. Likewise, Renee Savai’inaea showcased her importantces for the Steel last game, and will be looking to break up the attack to get it to the number one feeder in the competition, Steel captain Shannon Saunders. With George Fisher and Sulu Fitzpatrick going at it in the goal circle, it promises to be a must-watch clash.

Meanwhile in the standalone Sunday game, both sides have won just one match from three encounters, with the Magic dropping both their past two, whilst the Pulse have a healthier percentage, but have not quite found the consistency. In saying that, they only fell to Northern Mystics by one goal in Round 3, so will be determined to make this one count.

The Magic shooting combination of Bailey Mes and Ameliaranne Ekenasio was trialled for the first half in Round 3, but ultimately with Ekenasio having limited minutes, Ivana Rowland has stepped up to fill the void. When they get that shooting circle to click, they will be dangerous, with the Pulse’s duo of Aliyah Dunn and Tiana Metuarau as solid as they come for a pairing. Whitney Souness and Erikana Pedersen have been crucial feeders into the circle for the Pulse, whilst Samantha Winders creates some Magic. In defence, Kelly Jury will have a big test up against Mes, with Kristiana Manu’a potentially locking horns with Ekenasio, whilst Erena Mikaere has been important for the Magic.

Saturday, April 2:

  • Team
  • Northern Mystics
  • Southern Steel

Sunday, April 3:

  • Team
  • Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
  • Central Pulse

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