RECAP | 2024 ANZ Premiership: Round 1

THE Northern Mystics got their ANZ Premiership title defence off to the perfect start with a 64 goals to 52 win over the WBOP Magic. The Magic were actually the better team for much of the match, but fell apart late and the Mystics swooped.

It was the defending champions who got the early lead, thanks to a strong intercept from Catherine Hall that was converted up the other end. However it was not long before the Magic picked up a crucial turnover in defence and converted up the other end to eliminate the lead.

But that was not the end of the lead changes, with the lead changing hands a couple more times.

The Magic had a late surge and it looked like they were going to go into the first break with the lead, but the Mystics picked up a crucial intercept to eliminate the deficit before the Magic then surged ahead again in the final two minutes of the quarter to take a two goal lead into the first change.

After the teams initially traded blows to start the second term, the Mystics made pretty quick work of eliminating the quarter time deficit. The game took a turn took a turn for the worse for the Magic when Oceane Maihi was sent off after a particularly rough collision with Grace Nweke. However, the suspension period was not ultimately disastrous for the Magic, with the home side able to keep pace with the reigning champions.

The Magic pulled ahead late, and ultimately were the holders of a single goal lead at the main break.

It was the Magic who quickly jumped out to a bit of a lead in the third quarter, picking up crucial intercepts to hold the buffer that was at times as much as five goals. Not only did the Magic reel in the deficit, but they stormed away from the Magic to take a six goal lead into the final change.

The Mystics’ impressive run of unanswered goals continued into the last quarter, ultimately ending at 12 straight goals before the Magic finally put one on the board. It was not long before the Mystics were back on the board though, with the next five goals all scored by those in blue.

By this stage the margin was out at 13 goals, and this really was the point of no return for the Magic, who were unable to reel in much of the deficit.

Elisapeta Toeava (48 feeds, 27 assists) and Tayla Earle (26 feeds, 16 assists, two deflections, one gains) were again workhorses through midcourt for the Mystics, while for the Magic the new shooting combination Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Saviour Tui impressed with how strong their connection was so early in the season.

In other results:

  • The Pulse exacted got some revenge for the 2023 Preliminary Final after they defeated the Stars by seven goals.

The visitors held an eight-goal lead at the main break before the Stars kicked into gear and brought the margin back down to four, but the Pulse held firm to win the final quarter and the match.

For the Pulse Kelly Jackson (nee Jury) (six gains, five deflections, three rebounds, one intercept) was exceptional again in defence, as was Maddy Gordon (46 feeds, 29 assists, three gains, three deflections, two intercepts) in midcourt.

Meanwhile Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (40 feeds, 22 assists, one fain, one deflection) and Gina Crampton (30 feeds, 14 assists, one deflection) were making the most of being reunited and creating a lot of drive through midcourt for the Stars.

  • The Tactix also got their season off to the perfect start, downing the Steel by 17 goals.

An 11 goal to four first quarter in the Tactix favour set the tone for the match, and although the subsequent quarters were a lot closer than that, they were not close enough as the tactix held firm.

For the victors Kimiora Poi (30 feeds, 18 assists, two gains, two intercepts, one deflection) racked up plenty of the stats through midcourt, while Karin Burger (seven deflections, six gains, four intercepts) was solid in defence.

Meanwhile for the Steel Taneisha Fifita (six gains, five rebounds, one intercept, one deflection) and Jeante Strydom (four gains, one deflection, one rebound, one intercept, one feed) were impressive in defence.

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