2022 ANZ Premiership Round 8 Preview
Take a look at the matches coming up in Round 8 of the ANZ Premiership.
Sunday, 1 May
Pulse v Stars, 4.10pm at Fly Palmy Arena in Palmerston North
The Robinhood Stars will look to rectify a slow start when they face Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse for the second time in five days. There was 10 goals difference between the two teams when they met on Wednesday and another win in Palmerston North would help the Pulse maintain their top spot on the ANZ Premiership ladder.
Co-captain Tiana Metuarau said recovery would be key for the Pulse ahead of Sunday’s game, but believed her team was improving with each outing.
“I think it was said in our last game that our potential hasn’t really been reached yet and I think that’s true. We’re still building slowly but need to work on that consistency,” she said.
The Stars will also look for more consistency after a slow start on Wednesday night and a third quarter which they lost by five goals. Captain Maia Wilson said it had however been an improvement from the big loss they had suffered to the Mystics and now they just needed to keep building.
“It was a way better product so that’s a positive, but I guess there’s too many unforced errors, some miss shots and a first quarter where we can’t start like that.”
Shutting down Pulse’s Aliyah Dunn will also be key with the shooting calmly slotting 37 goals from 39 when they last met.
Monday, 2 May
Mystics v Magic, 7.15pm at Eventfinda Stadium in Auckland
MG Mystics captain Sulu Fitzpatrick believes her team is still building – concerning news for everyone else in the league following their 24-goal dismantling of the Stars last week. The Splice Construction Magic have proven a bit of a stumbling block for the Mystics however, losing to the Waikato-based side in the opening round.
Fitzpatrick said she had had a restless sleep following their extra-time loss to the Steel earlier this month and the Mystics had focussed on their discipline heading into last week’s clash with the Stars.
“We’re building – we want to be better, but we need to make sure that we’re disciplined and that we balance our flair with our discipline. Discipline comes first,” she said.
The Silver Ferns defender was also pleased with the seamless changes the Mystics could make, particularly in their defensive end, adding to their strengths.
“I’m really proud that everyone who took the court did their job. Everyone offers something different.”
The Magic’s stop-go start to their campaign will hit the green light again for Monday’s match having not played since the 13-goal loss to the Pulse in Round 6. They will be hoping to have shooter Bailey Mes back in action and the opportunity to play both Mes and Ameliaranne Ekenasio for a full 60 minutes would be a mouth-watering prospect for not just Magic fans.
Wednesday, 4 May (Rescheduled)
Steel v Tactix, 7.10pm at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill
There was 17 goals between these two teams when they last met back in the opening round of the ANZ Premiership, but this time it will be the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel working their way back onto court after being hit by Covid, with this match postponed three days.
The lay-off could prove untimely for the Steel having showed strong form with wins over the Pulse and Mystics before being side-lined. They are however playing in front of their home crowd for this southern derby and are up against a Tactix side desperate to add to its Premiership points tally. Tactix captain Kimiora Poi said her side needed to get both ends of the court working together to ensure the remain in the hunt over all four quarters.
“Some weeks we’re good on defence and some weeks we’re good on attack. It’s putting it all together for the whole 60 minutes,” she said.
Treasuring what ball they win was also vital as Poi praised the efforts of her defensive unit. “Even if it takes 50 million passes, we just need to get the ball to our shooters.”
Goal keeper Kelera Nawai-Caucau continues to impress in recent weeks, picking up eight gains for the Tactix in the previous round and the visitors will need her at her best to limit the ball going to Steel sharp shooter George Fisher.