2021 ANZ Premiership: Season review – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

NOW that the ANZ Premiership season is done and dusted Draft Central casts an eye over each team and how they fared throughout their 2021 campaign. Kickstarting things from the bottom of the ladder for a second year running is Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

Season overview:

It was another disappointing season for Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, who despite going on a huge recruiting spree over the off-season simply could not string together a consistent four quarter effort. They looked to get their run off to a good start notching up a win however that was the only win they registered all season, as teams around them built as the season went on. The Magic had moments of brilliance throughout the 2021 season and showcased their impressive depth both in attack and defence however they lacked that level of composure and connectivity needed to win games. With another unsuccessful season under their belt, they farewelled head coach, Amigene Metcalfe and the side will be looking to season 2022 with hope of retaining some of their key cogs.

Shining light:

There is no denying that there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Magic with goal attack Khiarna Williams an exciting prospect. Able to effectively ply her trade in both goal attack and goal shooter the 19-year-old showcased her smarts and composure as the season built to generate some nice momentum towards the back-end of the season. Working with the likes of Bassett under the post, Williams proved she is more than capable of backing herself in from distance and has an arsenal of tricks up her sleeve that makes her hard to stop when on song.


“I think her (Williams’) athleticism is just incredible. And the fact that when I come out of the circle I can put a highball into her is a huge benefit. I think also she’s very smart defensively and she’s got a little bit of that mongrel, that makes it hard to get the ball off her when she does have it,” Bassett said.

Prior to the start of the 2021 season, Caitlin Bassett highlighted the skillset of Williams and what fans could expect from the exciting goal attack. It is fair to say that the youngster well and truly lived up to the hype finishing with 197 goals to her name while shooting at 83 per cent, building well while working alongside Bassett.

Team breakdown:

The addition of Bassett was an exciting one to say the least and while she was strong to the post the hesitancy to pass the ball into her often cost the Magic. Bassett provided a calming presence up front joined by the likes of ANZ returnee, Chiara Semple and Williams with their accuracy to post a key factor but lack of volume coming back to bite them on a number of occasions. Captain Sam Winders led from the front through the midcourt with her commanding style of play often providing that link from defence to offence, while Grace Kara was a real barometer for the side. Unfortunately though, Kara was riddled with injury throughout the season, impacting on the attacking momentum of the Magic with Tori Kolose forced to shoulder more of the load than intended.

Defensively, the Magic also welcomed back Temalisi Fakahokotau with the goal keeper adding a bit of pizzazz down back accompanied by the long-limbed Erena Mikaere. Waikato Bay of Plenty were spoilt for choice in defence with Georgia Tong and the return of Holly Fowler but the main issue was their inability to convert and tendency to throw away ball which ultimately relegated them to the bottom of the ladder.

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