ANZ Premiership Sunday wrap: Stars sweep Tactix to remain undefeated as Pulse upset new-look Magic

SUNDAY’S ANZ Premiership matches saw plenty of action in a huge second round of the season, seeing Northern Stars take out top spot with a victory over Mainland Tactix to be the only side left undefeated, as the Tactix unfortunately hold the mantle of being the team in the opposite position with zero wins from their opening two matches. Meanwhile, Central Pulse flew out of the blocks to down the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

Northern Stars (57) defeated Mainland Tactix (43)

The Tactix’s shaky start to the season has continued, as the Stars proved they are a formidable force this season. Where the Tactix showed plenty of hunt early, trailing by just three goals at half time, the Stars ran away with it in the second half piling on 34 goals to 23 to retain top spot on the ladder and remain undefeated. Overall, it took a full four quarter effort from the Stars as they raced away with the lead, but also remained relatively clean with ball in hand. Five of the six starters came away with pickups credit to their full-court vision and read of the play, whilst the Tactix failed to bring the offensive pressure required to combat the side.

With Monica Falkner out, it was up to Jamie Hume to hold down the fort out the front of Maia Wilson, and that she did piling on 17 goals to hurt the Tactix and ably assist Wilson who continued her great Round 1 form with 40 goals from 45 attempts. Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan ran riot on the outskirts of the circle, piling on 19 and 22 goal assists, respectively, while the latter also came away with three gains. Anna Harrison put on a show down back once more as Elle Temu came away with five gains, while it was Tactix’s Karin Burger who topped the gains tally with six. Burger’s partner in crime Jane Watson also created five gains but the duo could not compete with the barrage of turnover ball that headed their way, with developing goaler Jess Prosser (11 goals from 14 attempts) assisting Ellie Bird (31 from 34) fairly well on the scoreboard but relinquishing nine general player turnovers to go with Bird’s five, credit to the Stars’ defensive prowess.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (47) defeated by Central Pulse (59)

It was a huge start from the Pulse that blew the Magic out of the water, with the two sides flipping the switch compared to last week as an 11-goal victory emerged the way of the Pulse. It was a 20-12 Pulse start that got the ball rolling, with an accurate Magic front-end not quite doing the job as Aliyah Dunn got silver service under the post. Where the Pulse appeared to lack cohesion and punch across the court during Round 1, they were an entirely different side as they opened proceedings with a bang to run away with the win. Whilst the Magic did manage to claw back the eventual margin by winning the final quarter, it was not enough with the lacklustre performance seeing the side sit fifth on the table.

Dunn’s huge opening quarter shooting 17 goals from as many attempts proved the Pulse are here to fight this season, as the Magic defence in Erena Mikaere and Temalisi Fakahokotau struggled to contain her clean movement. It was not only that though, as wing attack Whitney Souness piled on 11 of her 16 goal assists in the first quarter alone, finding Dunn with ease before Claire Kersten took over the feeding effort as Souness took her chances in goal attack, adding two goals to the side’s tally alongside Dunn’s 41 from 46 and Te Amo Amaru-Tibble‘s 16 from 19. Kelera Nawai and Kelly Jury showcased their improving defensive combination, combining for nine gains throughout. For the Magic, while Chiara Semple started the match with six goals, the change was quickly made as Khiarna Williams took the goal attack bib for the remainder of the game to finish with an impressive 18-goal haul to go with Caitlin Bassett‘s 23 from 26. Sam Winders was potent in attack with 24 assists where Grace Kara struggled to maintain intensity, as the Magic gave away pickups across the court registering six to the Pulse’s 15.

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