Commentator's Call: A bit of everything so far
Not quite halfway through the 2019 ANZ Premiership season, there’s been a bit of everything.
Wide margins, close margins, veterans showing the way, debutantes putting their hands up and a cracker of a Grand Final rematch.
A quintet of 19-year-olds and a seemingly unshakeable 17-year-old are turning heads. The latter is Grace Nweke who more than once now has almost steered the Mystics home. The Avondale College GS has been brought on when situations have been dire and delivered every time. Standing 1.93m, Nweke puts up a prodigious volume of shots – in her debut against the Stars in Round 3, she shot 27/33 in her 30 minutes on court.
The challenge for the Mystics is how to use her, while at the same time give her some degree of protection.
The other five have been on the radar for a while - Aliyah Dunn, Kate Heffernan, Maddy Gordon, Lisa Mather and Tayla Earle. Gordon in particular was electrifying when she came on for the Pulse in the Round 5 showdown with the Steel. And mention must be made of Dunn who came back on for the Pulse in the second half, after a shoulder injury late in the first quarter.
Round 6 brings another Super Sunday, this time at The Trusts Arena in Auckland. The Tactix will be pleased to have got that win over the Mystics last week, but find themselves with the daunting prospect of taking on the unbeaten Pulse. It was 52-40 when these sides met three weeks ago, and it’s hard to see things being much different this time round.
The second game sees another Auckland derby and perhaps this time, the Mystics might get their elusive win. Young Grace Nweke led them on a fast run home last time they met in Round 3, just falling short by 6 goals. But if the Stars are in the sort of mood they were in during the third quarter in particular against the Magic on Wednesday night, they won’t have a chance.
The final game of the day pits the Magic against the Steel. Both sides were beaten in Round 5, but it’s fair to say the wounds of the Waikato Bay of Plenty side are far deeper than those of the southerners. The Steel thrashed the Magic by 20 goals last time, and unless the Magic find some answers it could a similar story on Sunday.