2022 ANZ Premiership Rescheduled Matches Preview
With all rounds now complete, we take a look at the final four rescheduled matches to end the regular season.
Wednesday, 1 June
Stars vs Magic, 7.10pm at Pulman Arena in Auckland (rescheduled from Round 5)
The Robinhood Stars have cemented their place in the ANZ Premiership Finals Series but the jostle for hosting rights of the Elimination Final and Grand Final are still to be determined. The Splice Construction Magic have two games left in their season and their role of spoiler will still count for a lot as they look to win back-to-back games for the first time this year, having defeated the Tactix in the previous round.
The Stars will be wearing a special edition heritage dress inspired by the Counties Manukau Cometz – the first South Auckland franchise to play in the national competition between 1998 and 2003. Captain Maia Wilson said the Cometz were “trailblazers” for netball in the area and it would be a privilege to wear the dress. The heritage dress may be a different colour for Stars defender Elle Temu who has looked strong in the purple strip this year and must be shortening her odds of slipping into a black dress after a stand-out season.
The Stars have had the better of the Magic on both of their meetings this year, their last encounter resulting in a 67-53 score-line. A third quarter blitzing proved the difference, but the visitors will take some confidence they can go the distance having lasted extra time against the Tactix for their third win of the season.
Thursday, 2 June
Stars vs Steel, 7.10pm at Pulman Arena in Auckland (rescheduled from Round 4)
The Robinhood Stars have flipped their fortunes this year, coming into form at the business end of the season and stand-out attacker Gina Crampton believes a “massive review” and holding onto the same group for their 2022 campaign played their parts in their recent success. “We’ve definitely spoken a lot about last year and what happened to us – we just completely fell away and lost confidence,” she said.
“We spoke about the mental skills side of things, so we’ve done some work on that.”
Crampton said the ability to retain the same players meant connections were much stronger going forward. Only two goals separated the teams when they met last week, and it took extra time to determine the winner.
Watch either end of the court for the accuracy in the shooting circles with Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel’s George Fisher missing just one attempt at goal under immense pressure from Anna Harrison and Elle Temu while Star’s Maia Wilson netted 44 of her 48 attempts.
The battle in the middle also promises plenty with Silver Ferns’ hopefuls Kate Heffernan and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan set to go head-to-head. What also impressed from the Stars last week was their ability to score from turnover ball – the 17 times they earned snaffled ball from the Steel; they were able to add to their tally on the board.
Friday, 3 June
Mystics vs Pulse, 7.10pm at The Trusts Arena in Auckland (rescheduled from Round 12)
Hosting rights for the ANZ Premiership Grand Final are on the line and the MG Mystics look likely to be without key shooter Grace Nweke for another week – the Silver Fern could be side-lined until the Elimination Final.
Two losses in the previous round has put the brakes on the Mystics points gathering on the league ladder and they lost their spot at the top of the table to Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in the last round of the regular season. But captain Sulu Fitzpatrick believes they have the players there to get the results with Nweke still out of action.
“We just take it week by week with Grace but to be honest I think what we have out there is good enough, we just need to do our own jobs,” she said.
The Mystics will need to dig deep against a Pulse side hitting form at the right time of the season. The Pulse ground out a tough win over the Tactix last week and co-captain Kelly Jury said the chance to host the Grand Final on 12 June was now a possibility.
“It hasn’t been spoken about, but it is in the back of our mind, and we do know we have the opportunity to grab that if we win our next two games.”
Saturday, 4 June
Magic vs Steel, 4.10pm at Globox Arena in Hamilton (rescheduled from Round 7)
Both teams will be aiming to end their season in style as the curtain comes down on another campaign for the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel and Splice Construction Magic. Individual players may be looking further ahead with ANZ Premiership contracts for next season at the back of the mind or continuing to push for a spot at next month’s Commonwealth Games.
Steel captain Shannon Saunders said it was important that her team went out to “enjoy” their last game of the year having narrowly missed out on a place in the Finals Series.
“I think it’s about just enjoying it now – trying to push on and make sure we’re really proud of our performance and have that full 60-minute game.”
She said her side had been guilty of moving away from their structures in critical moments against the Stars last week which they needed rectify in their last outing of the season.
The Steel have had the better of their Magic opponents on both occasions so far this year although the hosts will be hoping to garner enough points in their last two games to avoid picking up the Premiership wooden spoon for the third consecutive year.