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The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel added another twist to the ANZ Premiership tale of 2018 by turning a 31-goal loss to Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse into an impressive four-goal win over the league leaders last week.

Now the defending champions need to back up against a Waikato-BOP Magic side reeling from a five-goal loss to the Northern Stars. The Magic will be sweating on the fitness of captain Casey Kopua who was a last minute scratching against the Stars, suffering an injury in the warm-up. But it was up front where the Magic will need to lift most when they meet the Steel – too many turnovers on attack proved costly. Stand-in Magic captain Sam Sinclair said it was time they looked after possession.

“We need to look after every ball that we get,” she said.

“When we do have it, it has to be pin-point every time. It wasn’t when it counted.”

Sinclair said the loss of Kopua had been a blow but she had confidence in their bench to do the job.

A happy Steel captain Wendy Frew said her team had the “belief” to down the Pulse and paid tribute to her team’s full court efforts on defence and attack.


Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit (Steel) – played perhaps her best game of the season last week with four intercepts, five deflections and two rebounds. Pulled in some key turnover ball for her side when it was needed and could again be pivotal against Magic’s goal attack.

Ariana Cable-Dixon (Magic) versus Wendy Frew (Steel) – consistency is crucial for Magic’s front line and getting the ball safely into the hands of Lenize Potgieter. Cable-Dixon’s connection with the star shooter is growing but Magic’s attack was guilty of too many turnovers last week.

Kate Lloyd (Magic) – another big game for the youngster who has now taken on a senior role in the defensive circle thanks to injuries to Kelly Jury and Casey Kopua. Picked up plenty of ball against the Stars and is growing in confidence.