Commentator’s Call: Excitement continues in Round 3
The ANZ Premiership burst back into life in Round 2 with four games at the Auckland Netball Centre which each having something.
Just what that something was, no doubt depends on where your allegiances lie.
Perhaps most impressive was the fitness of the players and their excitement at being back after the unexpected three month break.
There was also a great sense of camaraderie between teams, players and officials with all sorts of people popping up where they weren’t necessarily expected.
It was something of a visual illusion but during the Stars vs Pulse game it did really appear Noeline Taurua was sitting on Kiri Wills’ shoulder. The Silver Ferns’ coach could be seen helping out the Tactix the following night.
The team appearing to need the most help is the Steel. Going into Round 3 they’re at the foot of the ladder with not a point to their name after losses to the Magic and the Tactix.
Import Kalifa McCollin was a standout for the southerners in Round 2, but is going to need more support if the Steel are to get past the Mystics on Saturday. Add to that, the defenders must win more ball.
Things won’t get any easier for the southerners when they try to shut down the towering Grace Nweke. She put away 41 from 45 in the Auckland side’s impressive win over the Magic in the opening game on Friday night.
The round opens with the Magic against Tactix on Friday night. The Tactix put in Jekyll and Hyde performances last weekend, but when it was revealed most of the team had been ill the night before, much was explained. If the Tactix return to Auckland fully fit, the Magic will have their work cut out for them.
Sunday’s game between the Stars and the Steel is make or break for the southerners. Drop this one, and their task of featuring in the big dance when the finals are held in Invercargill on August 23, look slim. Remember it’s not a top three this year, it’s a top two.
The game of the round is undoubtedly Monday night’s clash between the Pulse and the Mystics.
The Pulse looked imperious as they disposed of the Stars in Round 2, but there’s something about this Mystics side. It will be their 50th match of the ANZ Premiership and what a scalp it would be if they could tip over the defending champions.
Tickets for all matches at Auckland Netball Centre are available through www.aucklandnetball.co.nz