Commentator’s Call: Keep your eyes on Round 2
There was something for everyone in the opening round of the 2019 ANZ Premiership – everyone that is, except the Northern Mystics.
Their 62-39 hammering at the hands of the Central Pulse was the stuff of nightmares, and just as big a challenge looms in Round 2 in the form of the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel.
While Helene Wilson will be pondering who to put on court at The Trusts Arena on Saturday afternoon, and where - Reinga Bloxham will be wondering who to leave out. This will be the Steel’s third game in six days and aside from goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit, who looked a little out of sorts against the Tactix on Tuesday night, all played well. The defending champions have defensive riches, particularly with the exciting 18-year-old Taneisha Fifita.
Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse travel to Rotorua on Monday night, possibly wondering which Magic side they’ll come up against at the Energy Events Centre. The Splice Construction Waikato Bay of Plenty team that beat the Stars last Monday was a very different looking beast to that which went down to the Tactix on Super Sunday. The shooting circle of Monica Falkner and Abigail Latu-Meafou lifted their percentage from 76% in the loss to the Tactix to 89% against the Magic and reaped the rewards.
They’ll have to lift again, to stop this Pulse side which is the only team to emerge from Round 1 without scars. It’s hard to tell however if the 23 goal scoreline against the Mystics was due to the Pulse supremacy or the poor showing of the northerners. This could be the game of the round and throws up the prospect of two in-form Silver Ferns Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Casey Kopua up against each other.
The round comes to a close at Pulman Arena in Takanini on Wednesday night. The Stars host The Good Oil Tactix with both teams carrying a win and a loss from Round 1. The Stars will have taken huge confidence from their victory over the Steel on Sunday, but disappointed they let the Magic past them the following night.
The loss of Erikana Pedersen is a real blow for the Tactix, and she was badly missed in the loss to the Steel. Lily Fletcher filled her spot on the bench for that match, and given she’s a defender, it left Marianne Delaney-Hoshek with few options on attack. How the Tactix remedy that situation could dictate their fortunes.