2019 Season Preview: Tactix have point to prove
With an impressive return from several of their rookies last year, The Good Oil Tactix will once again be looking to their younger brigade for similar contributions in 2019.
Tactix posted the most successful season in their 11-year history when making the Finals Series last year for the first time and are keen to take another step up in the new season to cement their credentials.
“We’d like to prove that it wasn’t just a one-off,” Tactix coach Marianne Hoshek-Delaney said.
“Everyone wants to be five percent better than they were last year, so if that can happen, then we can only get better. It’s a real bonus having quite a settled look. Apart from the defence end, the rest of team we’ve had here before, so we can just build on what we started last year.”
Rookie midcourters Kimiora Poi and Charlotte Elley featured prominently in the Tactix resurgent form and this year will be joined by lofty Ashburton defender Kate Lloyd, who is back after a year with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. All three were part of the NZU21 team’s gold medal win in the 2017 World Youth Cup.
Despite retaining their attacking core from last year, including their shooting trio of Australian import Kate Beveridge, the towering Ellie Bird and Brooke Leaver, the Tactix have been struck hard by the loss of key defenders to long-term injury, three frontline choices being ruled out of action well ahead of the start of the season.
Former captain Jess Maclennan and Zoe Walker were never in contention due to their on-going rehabilitation while the effervescent Temalisi Fakahokotau was consigned to a long spell on the sidelines after suffering a major knee injury during a Silver Ferns camp in September.
That has resulted in a return to elite level netball for training partner Sophia Fenwick although this time around it will be in a different guise.
Fenwick played for the Tactix in 2012-14 as a shooter but returns as a defender after making the switch in 2016, thriving in her new home with prominent outings at Beko Netball League level.
“We have been hit quite hard at that end of the court but it is what it is,” Hoshek-Delany said.
“Injuries happen and that’s just part of the game. Jane Watson will be our anchor at the defence end where her experience and leadership will be key for those around her.”
Being able to retain a relatively stable team means key learnings from last season have remained with the group, the coach keen to make progress this season in learning to close out tight games.
“Last year the whole competition was really, really close and you never knew who was going to win. Every team stepped up and what we learned was that it’s about being able to bring that intensity day-in day-out, knowing that every game is going to be at the highest level,” she said.
“We were involved in quite a few close games and some of them we came out on the good side and some of them we didn’t, so there’s all those little learnings you build up from those types of experiences that we’d like to improve on.”
Kate Beveridge, Ellie Bird, Charlotte Elley, Sophia Fenwick, Brooke Leaver, Kate Lloyd, Lily Marshall, Erikana Pedersen, Kimiora Poi, Jane Watson.