Commentator’s Call: Big match-ups and a little adventure
A fresh look to Round 8 of the ANZ Premiership as two of the three games are between teams which haven’t yet met this year.
The round starts in Dunedin on Sunday afternoon when the Steel host the Tactix. These two have already played once and it was a doozy. The Tactix led for most of the match two weeks ago, before the Steel stormed home in the final quarter to take the game 53-52.
Both sides will be licking their wounds. The Tactix have now lost five games in a row, yet hang on to third spot on the ladder courtesy of no fewer than four bonus points. The Steel too picked up what could turn out to be a critical bonus point in their five goal loss to the Mystics on Wednesday night.
Monday night sees the Stars head to Porirua to take on the Pulse. They’ll be riding high after their first win of the season in Round 7. They hung on against the Tactix, but will have to do a lot more if they’re to take down the Pulse. That’s not to say they can’t do it. The Stars are using replacement player Anna Thompson to good effect, offering respite in the middle of the game for defender-turned-centre Holly Fowler. It will be a fascinating shoot out between the country’s world champion Under-21 goalers. Maia Wilson shot 90% for the Stars on Monday night, while no one has been able to stop Aliyah Dunn who eclipsed that with a 92% performance for the Pulse – at even higher volume – against the Magic.
The Pulse dismantled the Magic 63-48 in a scoreline very similar to their 61-46 win in Round 3. A particularly dominant third quarter was the key to that margin for the Pulse, and it was a similar exercise that got the Mystics home against the Steel.
How the Magic responds could be critical to their playoff chances. They didn’t beat the Mystics once last season, but need to rectify that situation at Claudelands Arena on Wednesday night to enhance their chances of playing finals netball. They’re in fifth spot on the ladder and with still two games to come against the Steel as well as one more each against the Tactix and Stars, winning form would be helpful.
But perhaps “the power of the ring” will help. The Magic will be playing in their one-off Hobbiton-themed dresses as part of the Hobbiton Movie Set’s match day sponsorship and promotional partnership with the team. Precious!