Magic pip Pulse in thrilling Super Sunday opener
WBOP Magic opened Super Sunday in exhilarating fashion after posting a thrilling 50-49 win over Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in Invercargill on Sunday.
Looking for redemption after losing by two goals in the first clash between the pair in Round 2, the Pulse could not turn the tables in an intense and torrid match which had a bit of everything.
The intent between the two closely-matched teams never waivered from start to finish, the lead changing hands on several occasions in an enthralling contest.
The Magic provided the composure when it counted after both teams provided a spectacle of close quarter netball which contained a bounty of intercepts, quality shooting and plenty of bumps and bruises.
The Pulse got away to the best of starts, taking a five-goal lead after the early exchanges. The tight opening meant a flurry of turnover ball at each end, Magic wing defence Samantha Sinclair a busy presence in creating extra opportunities for her team as the intensity levels continued to rise.
Magic eventually evened up the possession stakes to get proceedings back on an even keel. Young opposing goal attacks., Monica Falkner (Magic) and Tiana Metuarau (Pulse) produced impressive shooting returns, the Magic hitting the first break with a narrow 12-11 lead courtesy of five intercepts.
The Magic held the upper hand through a combative second stanza with neither team taking a backward step.
With stylish shooter Lenize Potgieter providing more movement under the Magic hoop, feeders Grace Rasmussen and Ariana Cable-Dixon found their target with greater regularity.
At the other end, the Pulse were hesitant on attack, Magic captain Casey Kopua at her menacing best as Metuarau and Cathrine Tuvaiti came under intense pressure, resulting in too many lost opportunities.
A late rally helped the Pulse chip into a five-goal deficit before the Magic closed the first half with a 26-23 lead.
With wing attack Whitney Souness and centre Sara Bayman showing greater unity through the middle and making better use of the ball, the Pulse ensured there was another momentum swing on the resumption.
Captain Katrina Grant came to the party with a couple of timely intercepts to level up the scores early on in an enthralling third stanza as both teams threw everything into the contest.
Showing more consistency in converting their turnovers, the Pulse edged to a four-goal lead but the Magic once again refused to lie down.
Keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats with the promise of an exciting finish, the Magic retained a slim 39-38 lead at the final change.