2020 Season Preview: Splice Construction Magic
Not all of their changes were anticipated but five new faces have added experience and flair to the 2020 ANZ Premiership campaign of Splice Construction Waikato BOP Magic.
Defenders Holly Fowler and Erena Mikaere, midcourter Whitney Souness and Australian shooting import Georgia Marshall all add up to a talented and potent mix while rookie defender Georgia Tong makes the leap to elite level after being a standout at Beko Netball League level.
“It’s not ideal having so many changes and certainly before the season started it felt like the progress and steps we had taken last year might take a bit longer to gel again,” Magic coach Amigene Metcalfe said.
“The good thing is the people that we’ve bought in have got some experience either in winning cultures or playing at a high level, so they pick things up so much faster and the ones we’ve got left are a year on and are all taking steps forward, so it’s actually coming together really well.”
Long-limbed 1.92m netball nomad Mikaere has had winning stints with the Magic and Sunshine Coast Lightning and is now back where it all began while Souness helped Pulse secure a maiden title last year.
Fowler, while still only 22, has had a lot of playing experience and time in the national system. She will play in the defence line this year after roving between midcourt and defence with her former team, the Northern Stars.
With shooter Monica Falkner out of action after suffering a ruptured ACL last June, the Magic have found a handy replacement in Marshall, a former Australian U17 and U19 squad member and more recently a training partner with the Sydney-based Giants club.
“She’s an accurate shooter and has that typical Aussie mindset of just getting on with it and not giving an inch,” Metcalfe said of the 1.89m Marshall.
“She’s done a bit of time in Australia as a training partner and hasn’t quite cracked it, so coming here, she’s just making the most of her opportunities and is really clear about wanting to improve and be better. She’s a pretty easy-going person and has slotted in really well.”
Metcalfe has no doubts about the talent in her side, the real challenge comes with the format where the teams play each other three times and trying to create new ways of doing things.
“This group’s pretty competitive and pretty driven about what they want to achieve,” she said.
“While Super Club (in December) was early days, they proved to themselves that even after a short time together they could be really competitive against the best teams in the competition and now we’ve just got to work hard for that end goal.”
Whether Falkner will be involved at any stage is still too early to tell.
“We would like her to be back training fully with us before the end of the season but what that looks like in terms of game time is up in the air,” Metcalfe said.
“She is still contracted, so she comes to work like everybody else. It’s really good, she has jobs to do and mentally it is helping her, she’s enjoying being involved and is learning a lot from the sides.”
Splice Construction Magic 2020:
Ariana Cable-Dixon, Monica Falkner, Holly Fowler, Georgia Marshall, Abigail Latu-Meafou, Kelsey McPhee, Erena Mikaere, Jenna O’Sullivan, Samantha Winders (nee Sinclair), Whitney Souness, Georgia Tong.