Match Preview (R13): Magic v Stars
The WBOP Magic have the golden opportunity to keep their enviable finals record intact when they face the Northern Stars in the final match of the regular season tonight.
The scenario is simple, they need to win and win well. Anything less than a 15 goal margin and the Magic will find themselves missing out on finals Netball for the first time in the Club’s history.
Our official stats provider Champion Data has crunched the numbers – if the Magic keep the Stars to 47 goals or less the winning margin needs to be 15. If the Stars score 48 goals or more, the Magic need to win by 16. BUT (yes there’s always a but), if the full-time score is 63-48 the goal percentage between the Magic and SKYCITY Mystics will be equal, which means the Mystics will progress to the Elimination Final having beaten the Magic on all three occasions during the regular season.
Captain Casey Kopua was pleased to see her charges rise to the occasion in a thriller against the Mystics last week, but the one goal loss left them in a perilous position – fourth place with one round remaining.
“It’s not an ideal situation but it is what it is,” she said.“I think we can take confidence from this game (against the Mystics) that we do know how to play Netball and when we stick to the game plan it works.
“It’s just those crucial moments again, just that decision making and we can only learn from that.”
The Northern Stars have been ruing a lack of consistency in key games but will take some belief into their last game of the season having upset the Magic by five goals in Round 9.The ledger stands at one each after the Magic beat the Stars by 20 goals back in the opening round.
WHO TO WATCH:
Leana de Bruin (Stars) – injury has plagued the Stars captain in recent weeks but even during her restricted time on court against Te Wananga o Raukawa Pulse, the goal defence still got her hand to five deflections and pulled in one intercept.Her experience has been a vital cog in shaping the new team in the ANZ Premiership.
Lenize Potgieter (Magic) versus Sulu Fitzpatrick (Stars) – the South African shooter has netted the second most goals in the premiership this season and remains one of the most accurate.Fitzpatrick has improved with every outing and was one of the Stars best last week with five deflections and two intercepts.
Grace Rasmussen (Magic) – could face a tough workout against Kayla Cullen if her Silver Ferns team-mate is not called into the Stars defensive circle.Consistently shows a high workload and is second on the ladder for centre pass receives.
HOW TO WATCH:
NZ-based fans can catch all the action live on SKY Sport 3 from 7.30pm. International fans (outside NZ) can watch via the ANZ Premiership Facebook page.