Commentator’s Call: Salter Trophy adds meaning
The spirit of Georgie Salter will spread a glow over Round 11 of the ANZ Premiership.
All six ANZ Premiership teams will be in Invercargill this weekend for the third and final Super Sunday. The middle game will see the Steel and Mystics contest the inaugural Georgie Salter Memorial Trophy. Similar to rugby’s Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy, it reflects the contribution Salter made to netball at both ends of the country.
Such is the dominance of two teams this year, there are some scenarios that are virtually beyond doubt. Barring some kind of cataclysmic event, the Steel will host the Elimination Final, and the Pulse will lie in wait for the Grand Final a few days later. The Steel will almost certainly face the Stars in the preliminary match.
First up in Invercargill on Sunday, the Magic play the Pulse, followed by the feature Steel Mystics encounter and then the Tactix take on the Stars. The Magic has – again – had a pretty torrid season and it’s hard to see them upsetting the red-hot Pulse.
The next two games are harder to pick. The Steel will go in as favourites in their clash with the Mystics, but how things play out could depend on the two coaches. Reinga Bloxham and Helene Wilson are very different with the first generally only making changes when absolutely necessary, and the latter throwing a little more caution to the wind. There are arguments for both styles. Their last meeting resulted in a win by just six goals to the Steel and the fact the Georgie Salter Memorial Trophy is on the line, will add piquancy to the contest.
The final match of the day pits the Stars against the Tactix. These two are one-all for the season. There’s some pressure on the Stars to show their third place on the table is no fluke.
The two best teams in the country have the job of backing up Super Sunday by meeting the following night. The Pulse won by just four in their first clash of the season in Round 5, and then turned that into a 66-50 pasting in Round 7. The Steel are too good a side to allow a repeat of that margin.
A very busy Round 11 concludes in Auckland on Wednesday night when the Mystics host the Tactix. This is another decider. Both these teams are very much better than they were early in the season so entertainment is guaranteed.