ANZ Premiership Preview – Round 13
The Good Oil Tactix v Splice Construction Magic
Sunday, May 19 in Christchurch
It’s a quick turnaround for the Tactix who is preparing to wrap up their 2019 campaign in front of a home crowd. They produced their best opening quarter of the season last week, but failed to maintain that intensity over the full 60 minutes to suffer their 10th loss. Skipper Jane Watson asked her side to look after the ball and play for each other when they suit up for the final time this season. “We want to get up there and have a win,” she said. “We want to play good netball and really enjoy it.” They are a team with nothing to lose but are up against a Magic side which will have plenty of emotion riding on this performance. The game marks the last time captain Casey Kopua will wear Magic colours, and the Tactix can expect a Magic side looking to send their leader out on a high. The two teams are evenly matched with the Tactix claiming the first clash by six goals and the Magic the second meeting by seven goals. The Magic come in on the back of a strong performance against the Northern Mystics where Kopua was pleased with their ability to cherish possession and convert.
WHO TO WATCH:
Temalisi Fakahokotau (Tactix) – will the defender suit up for the Tactix or is it too soon in her road to recovery? There has been plenty of interest in the progress of the dynamic defender who ruptured her ACL in her right knee last year.
Kimiora Poi (Tactix) versus Sam Sinclair (Magic) – both players are fighting hard for a place at July’s World Cup and this will be one last opportunity to impress in what is a congested midcourt area.
Casey Kopua (Magic) – it will be hard not to follow the performance of the Magic skipper who is making her last ANZ Premiership appearance – the next dress she pulls on is likely to have the Silver Fern emblazoned on it.
Northern Mystics v Te Wānangao Raukawa Pulse
Monday, May 20 in Auckland
The Grand Final has been booked and Pulse has one more match to play in their regular season before turning full focus to the ANZ Premiership title decider. They bounced back from defeat to put the Northern Stars to task in the penultimate round, and with a two-week break coming up, may want a strong workout before returning to the training courts. Captain Katrina Rore was pleased with their latest win over the Stars and led by example with five rebounds, five deflections and two intercepts in a formidable defensive display. The Mystics’ topsy-turvy season comes to a close on their home court and captain Phoenix Karaka admits she is extremely keen to cause an upset in their last outing. “I guess being from the Pulse three years ago, I’d love to take a win off them,” she said. “Just to be that underdog team that gets a win off them.” Karaka said her side had the goods to beat the minor premiers but would need to rely on more than the strong second halves which the Mystics have been known for during the latter stages of the season. “We just need that continued belief in what we’re doing,” she said. “We just need to back each other up.”
WHO TO WATCH:
Aliyah Dunn (Pulse) – has been a stand-out in recent weeks. She is the most accurate shooter in the league having landed 92 percent of her 478 attempts at goal.
Whitney Souness (Pulse) versus Michaela Sokolich-Beatson (Mystics) – the Pulse wing is second only to Gina Crampton when it comes to centre pass receives but will have to be quick off the line against the explosive speed of Sokolich-Beatson.
Bailey Mes (Mystics) – the Mystics goal attack has rallied in the second half of the season and taken on that senior role in the shooting circle, combining well with teenager Grace Nweke.
Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel v Northern Stars
Wednesday, May 22 in Invercargill
Sloppy, terrible and lazy is how Southern Steel captain Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit summed up their first quarter performance last week, and it is something she doesn’t want to see repeated with an Elimination Final only a week away. “I was happy that we showed we could flip it around but we can’t do that ever again,” she said having trailed by 11 goals after 15 minutes of play against the Tactix. This match against the Northern Stars however brings plenty of interest in what is a dress rehearsal for the ANZ Premiership Elimination Final and all eyes will be on the coaches and how much they are willing to reveal ahead of the Finals Series. Stars coach Kiri Wills opted to rest captain Leana de Bruin last week, the defender struggling with a niggling injury, and may look to do the same with little riding on the last game of the regular season. Stand-in captain Temepara Bailey said her side was still searching for consistency. “When we get turnovers we need to cherish them,” she said. “If we don’t have that consistency in all four quarters we don’t deserve to be in that semi.”
WHO TO WATCH:
Kendall McMinn (Steel) – has been an impact player for the Steel often replacing Kate Heffernan at wing defence. A seamless addition to the Steel’s defensive unit.
Te Paea Selby-Rickit (Steel) versus Leana de Bruin (Stars) – will the Stars captain be back in action having been rested last week or will she take more time out ahead of the Elimination Final. Selby-Rickit has been pushing her claim on a World Cup spot with some stand-out performances.
Kate Burley (Stars) – another player who has made the most of her opportunities when given court time. Got her hand to plenty of ball last week and may have done enough to warrant a start against Lenize Potgieter.