ANZ Premiership wrap: Round 1

ROUND 1 started off with a bang with the premiers, Southern Steel, falling short and the Pulse nominating themselves as front runners in the competition dominating across the court. This round saw a five game roster with the Magic, Northern Stars, Tactix and Steel all playing two games each while the Pulse and Mystics faced off.

Southern Steel (64) defeated by Northern Stars (66)

It was a close encounter between the reigning premiers and the Stars, with Northern claiming bragging rights early. With some star recruits on both sides it was the Stars that settled first credit to their hard work, clever play and ability to hit the scoreboard in the dying minutes.

Ferns shooter, Maia Wilson dominated under the post slotting an impressive 51 goals out of 57, going at 89 per cent shooting accuracy. Her impressive timing, strong holds and ability to open up space in the goal circle proved too much to handle for the Steel defenders. Up the defensive end veteran defender, Leana De Bruin impressed with her timely deflections along with her attacking play, with 22 centre pass receives proving her importance across the court. Wing attack, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan lead the side’s centre pass receives with 22, and 47 feeds hitting the goal circle hard.

South African recruit, Lenize Potgeiter proved to be a pillar down in the shooting circle for the Steel, scoring 27 goals out of 30. Potgeiter only featured for three quarters but her presence under the ring was solid, pairing well with experienced goal attack, Te Paea Selby-Rickit who managed 23 goals. Midcourters, Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton were a formidable duo in the attacking third providing plenty of ball to the shooters with a whopping 51 goal assists and 75 feeds between them.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (42) defeated by Mainland Tactix (48)

All eyes turned to the Magic with the return of veteran Ferns defender, Casey Kopua but it was not meant to be with the Mainland Tactix claiming a six-goal victory. It was neck and neck up until half-time when the Tactix pulled away with a seven to 12 final quarter in their favour.

Former Adelaide Thunderbirds shooter, Abigail Latu-Meafou impressed on the big stage, owning the goal circle with 20 goals from 25 going at 80 per cent. Latu-Meafou rotated between goal attack and goal shooter with youngster, Monica Falkner slotting 22 goals out of 30. Kelly Jury and captain Kopua paired well down in defence picking up plenty of loose ball, but it was not enough to disrupt the attacking flow of the Tactix.

Tactix shooter, Ellie Bird starred going at 98 per cent, slotting 40 from 41 and proving her dominance in the goal circle, with an ability to hold space and command of the ball. Veteran shooter, Kate Beveridge also played a pivotal role, feeding the ball into the scoring machine. Speedster, Kimmiora Poi was also important in the Tactix’ win, working hard both in attack and defence, while Ferns goal keeper, Jane Watson cleaned up with three intercepts and three rebounds, staking her claim as one of the leagues dominant defenders.

Northern Mystics (39) defeated by Central Pulse (62)

The Central Pulse dominated from the get go, keeping the Mystics to a mere nine goals in the first term, compared to their 19 goals. Things did not get much better for the Mystics who seemed to struggle in both the attack and defence ends, credit to the pressure applied by the Pulse across the court. The Pulse were relentless with their attack working hard in transition and were clean picking up plenty of loose ball, proving they are a real force to be reckoned with in season 2019.

Australian and former GIANT, Kristina Brice made her debut slotting 18 from 21. The towering goal shooter provided a good presence in the goal circle, credit to her height and general netball smarts, but it was not enough to get the Mystics over the line. Silver Ferns goal attack, Bailey Mes also shared the workload with 15 goals. Upon return to the New Zealand league, Erena Mikaere was imperative down back, with her long reach and defensive pressure both key elements of her game, racking up three intercepts.

For the Pulse, it was the shooting combination of Silver Ferns, Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Aliyah Dunn that set them apart from the Mystics. The two worked well together, rotating effortlessly through the circle along with clever offloads to one another. The midcourt also impressed, with the likes of Whitney Souness leading the charge in wing attack, amassing 21 goal assists and 30 feeds. Defensively, captain, Katrina Rore, Karin Burger and Sulu Fitzpatrick formed a formidable trio, getting plenty of deflections and intercepts.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (57) defeated Northern Stars (51)

After nudging out the reigning premiers in their first match of the round, the Northern Stars were unable to match that intensity against the Magic. Waikato Bay pulled out all the stops to claim their first victory of the season, with their big name players standing up throughout the game.

Young gun, Abigail Latu-Meafou once again starred for her side, nailing 34 goals from 37 attempts and sitting at 92 per cent, while her partner in crime Monica Falkner also played an important role slotting 23 goals. The defensive end seemed to flow a lot better with the Ferns trio Casey Kopua, Kelly Jury and Sam Sinclair all proving why they are a force to be reckoned with on the court. They applied plenty of hands over ball pressure and forced errors, picking up eight gains between them. Centre, Ariana Cable-Dixon lead the way for her side, hitting the circle edge hard and racking up 20 goal assists.

For the Stars, former Adelaide Thunderbirds goaler, Charlee Hodges made her presence felt in the half she was on, scoring 10 goals. Maia Wilson was the top scorer for both sides with 35 goals proving her dominance, but it was not enough to get her side over the line. The versatility of Temepara Bailey and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan to rotate through wing attack and centre was important in helping to provide that extra bit of attacking flair. The duo of Kayla Cullen in at goal defence and Leana De Bruin in at goal keeper was also solid but was unable to trouble their opponents’ scoring frequency.

Mainland Tactix (46) defeated by Southern Steel (66)

After a shock loss in their first game of the season, the reigning premiers, Southern Steel, regained their winning edge claiming a 20 goal victory over the Mainland Tactix. Steel hit their straps in the second half, scoring 31 goals to the Tactix’ 18.

Shooters, Lenize Potgieter and Te Paea Shelby-Rickit lead the way with Potgieter slotting 39 goals. Every member on the Steel bench featured throughout the game, credit to the team’s depth and skill to apply plenty of pressure across the court. Gina Crampton once again impressed with her clever and timely feeds into the circle. Meanwhile, young goal keeper Taneisha Fifita dominated in defence, picking up plenty of loose balls and taking a good intercept to stake her claim in the side.

Experienced shooter Kate Beveridge was important for the Tactix, with goal shooter, Ellie Bird standing tall in the goal circle with 29 goals from her 33 attempts. The Tactix struggled to move the ball down the court at times, registering 34 general play turnovers with youngster Brooke Leaver leading the way with six turnovers. Defensively, the likes of Jane Watson showcased class and skill under pressure while goal defence, Kate Lloyd was essential in trying to limit the impact of the Steel shooters, but unfortunately their efforts were not enough to stop the attacking onslaught.

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