2021 ANZ Premiership Round 11 Preview
We take a look at all three match-ups in Round 11 of the ANZ Premiership.
Sunday, 27 June
Stars v Mystics at 6.15pm at Pulman Arena in Papakura
Robinhood Stars captain Maia Wilson wants to see all seven players in purple firing at the same time on court when they return home for the second match in the Barfoot & Thompson Northern Challenge.
“We haven’t found that balance just yet,” she said.
The Stars’ conversion rate was low against the Steel last week with the defensive pairing of Anna Harrison and Elle Temu picking up a wealth of ball for the side. Wilson said it was an area they would need to address if they are to turn around the three-goal loss they suffered when they met the Mystics two weeks ago.
“That was probably something we felt really guilty the last time we played the Mystics, with a team like that you can’t afford to not score the balls you turn over.”
There is still just the one point between the two teams on the ANZ Premiership ladder and the next two weeks could provide plenty of movement in the top three Finals Series positions.
Mystics captain Sulu Fitzpatrick continues to lead by example and her combination with Kate Burley has produced a tough blue defensive wall for any attack to penetrate. Fitzpatrick said it had taken time for the connection between the two defenders to grow, but they were now reaping the benefits of a “good D unit”.
Monday, 28 June
Steel v Magic at 7.15pm at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill
All eyes will be on the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel shooting circle this week and just how the southerners will manage without English international George Fisher.
The sharp shooter suffered a concussion after knocking her head on the court following a collision with Stars defender Elle Temu in the Round 10 match in Dunedin. She has not taken part in team trainings this week and will be reassessed next week as the Steel prepare for back-to-back Monday-night matches against the Splice Construction Magic.
It is a big blow for the Steel are who tied on points with the Tactix in third spot and pushing hard to reach the Finals Series. On the up-side they are playing in front of the Invercargill faithful and their “eighth player” could not have come at a better time.
It will be a significant week for goal attack Tiana Metuarau with much of the shooting responsibilities now falling on her shoulders. But the 20-year-old has already shown a maturity beyond her years since making her ANZ Premiership debut in 2017.
The Steel will have targeted the Magic heading into the next two rounds where maximum points would make a statement on the congested league ladder. But don’t count out a wounded Magic side which has injury woes of its own and will no doubt be hoping to have Grace Kara and Temalisi Fakahokotau back in action this week.
Tuesday, 29 June (rescheduled due to COVID-19 restrictions)
Pulse v Tactix at 7.15pm at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua
Are The Good Oil Tactix making their move at the right time of the season – they made all the right noises in Nelson in Round 10 with a big win over the Magic.
They have leap frogged their southern neighbours back into third spot on the ladder but the Mainlanders face a big two weeks against a Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse side also within reach of the all-important Finals Series position.
Both teams will have had to tinker with their build-up following the need to reschedule the match due to raised COVID-19 Alert Levels in Wellington – just the third time an ANZ Premiership match has been played on a Tuesday.
The Tactix come into the game having produced a record-breaking result against the Magic last week, their biggest ever win in ANZ Premiership history and the 17-goal victory doing wonders for their goal difference in what is building to a thrilling competition finish.
Tactix captain Jane Watson was pleased her team could finish the game strongly and coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek also had the opportunity to use her full bench in a match that saw the return of shooter Ellie Bird and wing Erikana Pedersen.
The Tactix come up against a Pulse side desperate to stay in touch after a 13-goal loss to the Mystics.