Super Sunday (Round 1) Preview 2019
ASCOT PARK HOTEL SOUTHERN STEEL v NORTHERN STARS
It’s a super start to the first ANZ Premiership Super Sunday with the two-time champion Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel team suiting up against the Northern Stars. Plenty of question marks swirl around the new-look Stars side but with experienced heads Temepara Bailey and Leana de Bruin in the mix, it is guaranteed no team, not even the defending champions, can take them lightly. The Stars were guilty of dropping a clutch of tight games last season but the inclusion of both Bailey and de Bruin could swing those results when the pressure goes on. New faces in all areas of the court look to have strengthened their depth in both the starting seven and on the bench for coach Kiri Wills. The Steel however also goes from strength to strength and the addition of South African shooting star Lenize Potgieter ensures that any ball that gets by the arms of de Bruin and new Stars recruit Storm Purvis, is likely to be converted to points. Watch the mid-court where the Steel will be without former captain Wendy Frew, who has hung up her playing bib, and may call on exciting youngster Kate Heffernan to blunt the impact of Bailey in a daunting first-up assignment.
WHO TO WATCH:
Lenize Potgieter (Steel) – there was some surprise to see the South African head to the Deep South and bolster an already strong shooting circle. Potgieter was the most accurate shooter in the ANZ Premiership last season and in a World Cup year will be looking to add to her already impressive skill set.
Leana de Bruin (Stars) versus Te Paea Selby-Rickit (Steel) – former Silver Fern Leana de Bruin is welcomed back to the Stars after a season in Australia. And she will have to hit the ground running as she takes on Silver Fern Te Paea Selby-Rickit first up.
Temepara Bailey (Stars) – netball fans around the country are excited to see one of New Zealand’s most dynamic mid-courters back in action. It may be four years since she played elite level netball but few would discount the veteran from slotting straight back in amongst the League’s best.
SPLICE CONSTRUCTION MAGIC v THE GOOD OIL TACTIX
The Good Oil Tactix lost a key player in Temalisi Fakahokotau who last season was the ANZ Premiership’s leader in rebounds, deflections and intercepts. Just how they bounce back from that loss, without the services of other defenders Jess MacLennan and Zoe Walker who are also recovering from injury, will be significant for their campaign. The Tactix may count themselves fortunate to come up against a Magic unit which is bedding in a new-look shooting combination as they ease in their own new defensive blend. Monica Falkner, at just 22-years-old, will take on a senior Magic role with both Kelsey McPhee (promoted from the Beko Netball League) and Abigail Latu-Meafou (returning to her birth country from Australia) stepping into the Premiership for the first time. Mid-courter Ariana Cable-Dixon may take some time to find that magic link into her shooters. It’s hard to imagine it will take much time for the Magic defenders to find their groove with both Kelly Jury and Casey Kopua teaming up again after both being felled by injury in 2018. Their experience is invaluable but Jenna O’Sullivan will be another to watch in the defensive end after an impressive Beko season last year.
WHO TO WATCH:
Kelsey McPhee (Magic) – the new Magic recruit made an impact in the shooting circle in the Beko Netball League last year and is part of a new-look shooting circle in her move to the Premiership.
Kimiora Poi (Tactix) versus Sam Sinclair (Magic) – the young Tactix mid-courter is up against her Silver Ferns team-mate and out to make the next step after a stand-out rookie season in the ANZ Premiership last year. Sinclair is back for her sixth season in Magic colours.
Jane Watson (Tactix) – it was a huge season for Watson last year as she moved home, stepped into the goal defence bib and then picked up the captaincy reins. She now needs to ease into another new defensive combination and help guide her team towards a second straight Finals Series.
NORTHERN MYSTICS v TE WĀNANGA o RAUKAWA PULSE
Four new faces in the Mystics will be a test of the unknown for a settled looking Pulse. The Helene Wilson-coached Mystics have lost iconic club member Maria Folau who has moved to Australia and boast a new-look shooting circle for the 2019 season. They face a stern opening test against an impressive Pulse defensive wall of Katrina Rore, Sulu Fitzpatrick and Karin Burger which intimidated even the best goal scorers last year. There are few holes to pick in the Pulse line and with exciting youngster Maddy Gordon and Elle Temu joining the mix, coach Yvette McCausland-Durie is seeking consistency from her troops. For the Mystics, it may be more about combinations and Wilson turning to her senior heads to steady the ship early on. Former Silver Fern Bailey Mes has plenty to prove as she guides Jamie Hume and welcomes towering shooter Kristina Brice into the shooting circle. How Mes stands up to the added responsibility and seniority is important for the Mystics early on. Creating key links through court is another crucial area for the Mystics with both Michaela Sokolich-Beatson and Elisapeta Toeava renown for bringing the ball to the frontline.
WHO TO WATCH:
Katrina Rore (Pulse) – all eyes will be on the Pulse captain and how she bounces back from a tough year. Rore inspired her troops all the way to the 2018 Grand Final and no-one is making it a secret that the Pulse wants to go one step further this season.
Aliyah Dunn (Pulse) versus Erena Mikaere (Mystics) – the Pulse shooter was one of the stand-out rookies last season and after a taste of international netball, will no doubt want to put her best foot forward in a World Cup year. She could find herself against new Silver Fern and new Mystics recruit Mikaere who returns from Australia.
Kristina Brice (Mystics) – standing at 1.96m it will be hard to miss Australian import, Brice, on court. The former Giants shooter adds a different dimension to the Mystics circle alongside the aerial Bailey Mes and mobile Jamie Hume.