ANZ Premiership Round 4 Preview
Friday, 3 July
Mystics v Tactix, 7pm at Auckland Netball Centre
A classic north versus south derby when the Northern Mystics aim to hold onto second spot on the ladder against third-placed The Good Oil Tactix.
The Mystics will have been disappointed in their finish in pushing the defending champion Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse for 40 minutes in Round 3. They fell away before the final whistle but signalled their intent and their threats across the court.
Confidence grows on attack and the young frontline kept an international defensive trio in check for much of the match. But the Mystics are facing a Tactix side also building in belief and captain Jane Watson was pleased with their second win of the season.
“There are still little things that we need to tone back on a little bit. Hopefully we’ll keep building and be stronger every game.”
The midcourt match-up between Charlotte Elley and Peta Toeava is one to watch with both players wasting little time to stamp their mark on their return to court. Elley was dogged on defence in Round 3 but will need to use all of her speed and guile to combat the tricks that Toeava holds up her sleeve. The Mystics wing has a direct link into shooter Grace Nweke and shows no fear with her delivery
Saturday, 4 July
Pulse v Steel, 5pm at Auckland Netball Centre
The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel got one monkey off their back last week - ending their three-game losing streak - but also suffered a casualty in goal attack Georgia Heffernan. The southern twin was assisted from the court in the third quarter and is waiting for scans to reveal the seriousness of her knee injury.
Co-captain Te Huinga Selby-Rickit wanted to see them push on in the win against the Robinhood Stars but was happy to take maximum points for the first time this season. The Steel’s links up front worked well last week as they were able to find shooter Jen O’Connell with both Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton looking more comfortable with their delivery to her.
“We’ve been working really hard and looking at a lot of tape to see where we can open up Jen more, she’s such a big target,” Selby-Rickit said.
“We need to get better in every game but not try to fix everything at once. It’s just little things at a time and hopefully we’ll start building our way up.”
Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse captain Katrina Rore is also pleased with her team’s progress after grinding out a hard-fought win over the Northern Mystics
Sunday, 5 July
Pulse v Magic, 5pm at Auckland Netball Centre
Eight points separate these two teams - Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse sit atop the ANZ Premiership ladder while the Splice Construction Magic hold up the bottom of the ladder with just the one win.
This will be the second match in as many days for the Pulse but coach Yvette McCausland-Durie will have no issues in sharing the workload with the full use of her bench. She injected Tiana Metuarau into a tense match against the Northern Mystics last week with the youngster proving a timely spark for the defending champions.
It would be no surprise to see Elle Temu team up with Katrina Rore in the circle at some stage while Renee Savai’inaea could also be called into the defensive line. It will be a tough ask for the Magic against a Pulse side with few chinks in its armour.
Magic captain Sam Winders said there had been too many lapses in recent weeks which had proved costly.
“If we want to win we have to put together a performance for 48 minutes. Bits of bad stuff here and there ain’t gonna cut it.”
Winders felt they were guilty of “rushing” the ball into the shooting circle and they will need to use patience against a formidable Pulse wall.
Monday, 6 July
Magic v Stars, 7pm at Auckland Netball Centre
It’s a double-header weekend for the Splice Construction Magic as they back up against the Robinhood Stars, just 24 hours after taking on the ANZ Premiership defending champions. And they are coming up against a well-rested Stars unit which has had nearly a week to recover from Round 3.
Both teams suffered losses last week and Stars captain Grace Kara says with the 12-minute quarters it was important not to “chase” other teams.
“We don’t have time to chase and play catch-up netball,” she said.
The Stars stumbled in the last quarter against the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel having gone toe-to-toe for much of the match. Kara said they would take lots of positives from the bonus-point defeat.
“Our defence was taking some great ball. “I think in that first quarter our turnover score was 100 percent, so it’s just making sure we have more than that… building from the positives.”
The defensive combination of Storm Purvis and Kate Burley was strong in every area in the circle – picking up two intercepts, eight deflections and two rebounds between them. The match-up of captains in the middle promises plenty with experience oozing from both Kara and Magic captain Sam Winders.
Putting four quarters together has been the catch-cry from both leaders and the team to do so will walk away with the Round 4 points.