Tactix overcome Magic’s fast start for vital win

MAINLAND Tactix were able to come back from a first quarter deficit to find the consistency they were craving and defeat Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic by three goals, 49-46.

No Greer Sinclair for the Tactix for the remainder of the season meant promising young talent Paris Lokotui returned to elite netball after an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Part of the Silver Ferns development squad prior to her ACL rupture, Lokotui made a name for herself shutting down her player while staying away from the whistle.

Bailey Mes (25 goals) was the go to for the Magic in the shooting circle, slotting 11 goals at 100 per cent in the first term. A five-goal run by Mes and the Magic put the Tactix defenders on hold as she was able to hold well, drive out the top, dodge along the baseline, and pop out at the last second.

The Magic opened their account by taking the first term 15 goals to 10. 

The powerhouse defensive duo of Jane Watson (two intercepts, five deflections, and four gains) and Karin Burger (six deflections, two gains, and one intercept) caused havoc for the Magic, being able to get a hand on any ball on the ground and in the air.

Player of the match Burger was a pest in defence, trying to win the ball back for her team anywhere around the court. A block on a pass sent everyone’s heads turning as she made the midcourters hesitate on their feeds. 

A goal for goal third quarter showed off how balanced both sides were in smarts and skill, but an offensive contact from Ameliaranne Ekenasio (21) led the Tactix to go on a four-goal run and lead by one.

The boost in energy for the Tactix helped them peg back the deficit as the shooters balanced the load, making it harder for the defenders to know who to cover. 

Georgia Takarangi took a screaming intercept under the goal post as the Magic defence held up the Tactix around the transverse line. Pressure mounted for the Magic as the Tactix turned the scoreline around, leading by one at the final break.

The constant movement by both Magic shooters allowed for easy shooter to shooter passes. If one was holding the backspace, one would pop out the front and slot a goal majority of the time.

The Tactix pulled out to a five-goal lead off of the defensive pressure they were placing all throughout the court.

The final five minutes proved costly for the Magic as the Tactix were flying for every ball and were able to convert their turnovers down the other end. Again going goal for goal, the Magic could not break away as the Tactix took the win and denied the opposition a bonus point.

Northern Mystics (53) defeated by Central Pulse (55)

A blistering start for the Pulse helped them post a two-goal win over the Mystics in a nail-biter. Taking the first term by nine goals, Tiana Metuarau (18) shot seven from seven. An injury prior to the game for Tayla Earle saw former premiership winning Mystic Claire O’Brien introduced at quarter time into centre, ending the game with zero turnovers, 20 feeds and 14 goal assists. Player of the match Maddy Gordon brought the energy into the attack end with 35 feeds, 20 goal assists and four deflections. A late surge from the Mystics in the final minutes proved to be too little too late as the Pulse were declared victors.

Northern Stars (49) defeated Southern Steel (47)

A nail-biting final few minutes saw the Stars come out victorious over the winless Steel. A late four-goal run for the Stars solidified their victory as player of the match Kelera Nawai-Caucau (two intercepts, five deflections and one rebound) won the battle in the circle, keeping Saviour Tui (28) on her toes. Standout player for the Steel this season in Kate Burley made it difficult for Maia Wilson (32) earning four deflections, two intercepts and two rebounds. A spectacular second half performance by the Steel showed they are capable of winning a game this season, but the Stars second quarter performance made the Steel work hard for the bonus point.

Central Pulse (62) defeated Southern Steel (38)

A convincing win by the Pulse over the Steel continues their fine form after their win over the ladder leading Mystics. A standout performance by player of the match Maddy Gordon truly raises her hand for World Cup selection as she gathered 27 feeds, 17 goal assists and three gains. Teammate Tiana Metuarau celebrated her 100th ANZ Premiership match shooting 10 goals with plenty of say in attack (24 feeds and 21 goal assists). Steel defender Kate Burley tried to keep her team in the contest by getting plenty of hand to ball with eight deflections, but it was the Pulse’s work in attack and Kelly Jury’s nine gains that really solidified their presence in the competition, closing the gap between second and fifth.

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