New Zealand Super Club wrap: Semi-finals

COLLINGWOOD Magpies will attempt to bring the New Zealand Super Club trophy back across the ditch after winning through to the final following a 14-goal win over Central Pulse. Their opponents will be Northern Mystics, who also picked up an impressive win, downing Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic by seven goals.

Collingwood Magpies (54) defeated Central Pulse (40)

Collingwood became the first team to move through to the New Zealand Super Club final after a pulsating win in the semi-finals. The Magpies defeated ANZ Premiership reigning premiers Central Pulse by 14 goals, winning three of the four quarters and pushing on from a brave stand by the Pulse to outscore their New Zealand opponents by 11 goals in the third term to be the key difference in the game. Collingwood started the game strongly with Shimona Nelson putting up 13 goals from 15 attempts, pairing well with Nat Medhurst (two goals from three attempts and six goal assists) who grabbed a combined three rebounds. They had a fascinating battle with defensive duo, Katrina Rore and Karin Burger, while up the other end, Geva Mentor won a crucial rebound when going head-to-head with Aliyah Dunn (six goals from seven attempts). Ameliaranne Ekenasio scored four goals from five attempts and had three goal assists, playing a creator role to set up her teammate. The second term saw Maggie Lind come onto court in the wing attack role and she immediately had an impact picking up three goal assists from her three feeds, with Nelson and Medhurst not missing from their nine attempts. General play turnovers were hurting the Magpies in the term however, recording eight to four, and Dunn (nine goals from 10 attempts) and Ekenasio (three from four, and five goal assists) took advantage. The Pulse certainly stepped up in the second term, with Renee Savai’inaea picking up two intercepts, while Burger and Maddy Gordon (four goal assists) both had an intercept each.

As if the disappointing second quarter had awoken the sleeping giant, Collingwood roared into action in the second term, showing off clinical ball use to record just the one turnover, whilst heaping on the pressure to the Pulse who had eight in comparison. Nelson’s remarkable tournament under the post continued, netting 15 goals from 16 attempts, while Medhurst’s experience in the goal circle was telling, picking up an equal team-high eight goal assists from as many feeds – while shooting three goals herself. Ash Brazill also had eight goal assists, playing a consistent role through the midcourt and taking control of that battle. When the Magpies lifted a gear, the Pulse could not quite go with them, scoring seven goals with Dunn (four) and Tiana Metuarau (three) shooting at 100 per cent efficiency. Their scoring flow was made more difficult by a Mentor-sized problem with the English international intercepting the ball twice in the third quarter. The fourth term saw a much tighter quarter once again, but the Magpies still got the spoils, shooting 12 goals to 11 to win, 54-40. Nelson finished the game with eight goals from eight attempts in the term, while Dunn had nine from 10 herself up the opposite end. Collingwood brought on its host of young stars for most of the last term, allowing Medhurst, Brazill, Mentor and Nelson to all finish the game on the bench. The Pulse did the same with Rore and Ekenasio finish on the pine, as Claire Kersten (four goal assists from six feeds) had a good final term to round out the game. Overall, Nelson shot 41 goals from 44 attempts at 93.2 per cent efficiency, while Medhurst finished with 10 from 11, as well as 16 goal assists from 19 feeds. Brazill got better as the game went on, recording 16 goal assists from 17 feeds, while Mentor had three intercepts and one intercept for the game. Dunn was the central target under the post for the Pulse, shooting 28 goals from 31 attempts, while Ekenasio had nine from 12, as well as 11 goal assists from 17 feeds. Kersten finished with a strong 12 goal assists from 18 feeds.

Northern Mystics (49) defeated Waikaito Bay of Plenty Magic (42)

A strong first half in the other semi-final resulted in an impressive seven-goal win to Northern Mystics, thanks to another clinical performance from teenage shooting sensation, Grace Nweke. The Mystics took control in the first term to go four goals up at quarter time, as Nweke sank 11 goals from 13 assists and picked up a rebound in the term. Silver Ferns goaler Bailey Mes did not miss a shot from her three attempts, while Elisapeta Toeava‘s great work at wing attack during the tournament continued with six goal assists from 10 feeds. Up the other end, Phoenix Karaka took a crucial intercept for the Mystics, while the goal circle combination of Georgia Marshall (six goals from six attempts) and Abigail Latu-Meafou (four from five) was keeping the Magic in it. Ariana Cable-Dixon (five goal assists from five feeds) and Whitney Souness (four from five) were also impressing to help with the flow in transition. Nweke picked up where she left off in the first term once returning from the break, adding 13 goals from 15 attempts, while Toeava was sizzling thanks to eight goal assists from 12 feeds. Karaka was an ongoing problem for the Magic, as the Mystics were starting to have some problems in the goal circle. Latu-Meafou had three turnovers and two penalties in the term, forcing the coaching staff to make a change with Kelsey McPhee coming on. She managed one goal from two attempts, while Marshall shot seven from nine, as the flow through the midcourt was interrupted and the defensive errors were starting to occur. The Magic had 17 penalties to 10 in the term, with the Mystics holding a comfortable 10-goal lead at the main break.

That lead did not change by the final break, with both teams adding 11 goals to their totals in the third quarter. Nweke put in a 10 out of 10 performance for the term – when talking goals and attempts – while Saviour Tui came into the goal circle and helped with two assists and a goal from three attempts. The Mystics mixed up the line-up in that term, with Michaela Sokolich-Beatson picking up an intercept at wing defence, while Emma Iversen and Danielle Gray came into the midcourt and had three goal assists apiece. For the Magic, McPhee got into her rhythm and took control close to the post shooting eight goals from 11 attempts, while Marshall posted up all three of her attempts and had a couple of goal assists for good measure. Souness was the key through the midcourt with six goal assists from 13 feeds, while Samantha Sinclair had three assists of her own in the centre. The final term saw the Magic finally take control, but it was too little, too late, scoring 12 goals to nine and cutting the final deficit down to seven. McPhee (nine goals from 12 attempts) and Marshall (three from five) were working well together, while Souness (four assists from six feeds) and Sinclair (three from eight, and one intercept) continued their good work. The defensive half was much more switched on in the final term for the Magic, picking up five intercepts to two in the term which was a key reason in the turnaround. Karaka was her usual reliable self with an intercept and two rebounds for the Mystics, while Nweke had a rebound to accompany her eight goals from 10 attempts. Overall, Nweke finished with 42 goals from 48 attempts at 87.5 per cent efficiency, and also recorded an equal game-high three rebounds. Karaka was the other to pick up three rebounds, also having a goal assists and three intercepts in the match. Toeava was the standout midcourter for the Mystics thanks to 14 goal assists from 22 feeds, while Souness (17 goal assists from 30 feeds) was crucial in that role for the Magic. Other impressive players were McPhee (18 goals from 25 attempts) and Marshall (19 from 23), while Georgia Tong picked up an equal game-high three intercepts.


Mainland Tactix (41) defeated Wasps Netball (37)

Mainland Tactix got the job done in a tight one over Vitality Netball Superleague invitational side, Wasps Netball with a strong second half performance. The Tactix lead by three goals at quarter time, before the Wasps hit back to cut the deficit to just one by the main break. It spurred on the New Zealand side upon return from half-time, increasing the lead to two at the final break, then winning the last quarter 12-10, to win 41-37. Te Paea Selby-Rickit was impressive in the goal circle with 16 goals from 21 attempts, as well as 13 goal assists from 15 feeds, two rebounds and one intercept. She worked well with Ellie Bird (15 goals at 100 per cent efficiency), while Kimiora Poi (12 goal assists) was strong through midcourt. In defence, Sophia Fenwick helped herself to two rebounds and two intercepts, while Kate Lloyd was reliable in the goal keeper bib with one rebounds and two intercepts, as well as just one penalty for the game. It was not surprising to see veteran English Roses’ shooter Rachel Dunn score 24 goals from 25 attempts, as well as six goal assists from seven feeds, while Katie Harris assisted eight times, and scored 13 goals from 17 attempts. Jade Clarke had a game-high three intercepts in wing defence, while Alexia Baker and Amy Flanagan both picked up 10 goal assists.

Southern Steel (38) defeated Northern Stars (37)

The Southern Steel held on against a determined Northern Stars outfit to record a narrow one-goal win. Neither team could be split in the first half breaks, until the Steel managed to dominate defensively in the third term to move three goals clear with a 9-6 quarter. The Stars then applied some of that defensive pressure in the final term to score 9-7, but fell a goal short in the 37-38 loss. Kalifa McCollin had 14 goals from 20 attempts for the Steel, while Jennifer O’Connell managed 13 from 20, in a combined inaccurate display of just 67.5 per cent. Georgia Heffernan was more clinical at the post with seven goals from eight attempts, while Shannon Saunders‘ midcourt display was superb, picking up a standout 13 goal assists from 23 feeds. For the Stars, Maia Wilson was enormous in attack, posting up 26 goals from 32 attempts at 81.3 per cent efficiency, having a great battle with opponent, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit (three rebounds and one intercept). Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was also important in midcourt with 16 goal assists, while Jamie Hume sunk eight goals from 11 attempts, and had a perfect strike rate of eight goal assists from eight feeds. Kate Burley was the rock in defence for the Stars, recording three rebounds and two intercepts in the game.

Final day fixturing:

Final: Collingwood Magpies vs. Northern Mystics
3rd v 4th: Central Pulse vs. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
5th v 6th: Mainland Tactix vs. Southern Steel
7th v 8th: Wasps Netball vs. Northern Stars

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