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2022 ANZ Premiership Round 10 Preview

2022 ANZ Premiership Round 10 Preview

We take a look at the upcoming Round 10 matches, along with two rescheduled matches from Round 5.

Saturday, May 14

Magic v Stars, 2.10pm at Globox Arena in Hamilton

It’s another big week of ANZ Premiership netball and while the Splice Construction Magic continue to hold up the bottom of the points table the Robinhood Stars cannot afford to take their hosts lightly.

The Magic have threatened to topple every team in this league but have just fallen short on all but one occasion. They lost by eight goals when they met the Stars in the previous round and will need to address their horror third quarter where, for nine minutes, they didn’t add to their tally.

Captain Sam Winders said they would continue to create pressured moments at training to help prepare for the grind when games got tight.

“When it’s critical moments we just let it slip and that’s really disappointing, really frustrating,” she said.

The Magic will need their shooting unit to stand up to the long reach of Stars defenders Anna Harrison and Elle Temu who got the better of their opponents particularly through the middle stages of last week’s game.

And the midcourt battle is again an area to watch with the Magic combination of Claire Kersten and Winders likely tasked with shutting down Gina Crampton – who is leading the league in circle feeds (353) – and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan who have both made their presence felt through their performances in recent weeks.

Tactix v Mystics, 4.10pm at Christchurch Arena in Christchurch
(Rescheduled from Round 5)

Trident Homes Tactix captain Kimiora Poi felt plenty of pride for her charges after they lifted themselves up from a hefty loss to the MG Mystics to bounce back against the Magic for a hard-fought win.

Now she is asking the team to lift again in a re-match with the Mystics in Christchurch in the first game of yet another double-header weekend for the Mainlanders. Poi was pleased with her team’s “grind” against the Magic and their improved discipline.

“I don’t think we threw away as many balls – we just have to keep that grind on attack and in defence bring that pressure. We need to push on.”

It will take a mammoth effort against a Mystics team which has depth to burn on the bench. The Mystics switched gear late in the second quarter when they met the Tactix in the previous round and showed their class in the third spell – winning it 23-14.

Captain Sulu Fitzpatrick and fellow defender Phoenix Karaka picked up nine gains between them against the Tactix, closing down the quick shooter-to-shooter play between Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Ellie Bird – a real strength of the Tactix’ attackers play. Expect another big battle in the middle between Poi and Mystics’ centre Tayla Earle as the race for a midcourt spot to Birmingham heats up.

Sunday, May 15

Tactix v Steel, 2.10pm at Christchurch Arena in Christchurch

The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel will be licking their wounds after a torrid Round 9 loss to the Pulse and their schedule over the next week means it gets no easier for the side from the Deep South. Their match up with the Trident Homes Tactix in Christchurch marks the first of four games within the space of seven days and pushing for a place in the Elimination Final really heats up from here in.

Wing attack Shannon Saunders said they would need to be on top of their “recovery processes” heading into a crucial week of netball but they would also need to address some areas after the disappointments against the Pulse.

“We got caught up in the fight. We were good at the start in getting off the body and playing with a bit of ball speed, but we just went away from that.”

There would also be “some good learnings” for their attacking end which got flustered when the heat went on in a physical encounter, but Saunders said their sights remained on a top three spot.

“We need to look at that full 60-minute performance and if we’ve got a lead, we’ve got to be able to push on.”

The southern derby stands at one game apiece and the Tactix return home after a real grind against the Magic for their third win of the season.

Pulse v Stars, 4.10pm at TSB Bank Arena in Wellington

With just three rounds left to determine the ANZ Premiership finals series this match-up between Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse and the Robinhood Stars will be one to watch – the latter needing victory to push clear of the fourth-placed Steel.

The Pulse have closed the gap on the Mystics and co-captain Tiana Metuarau said they weren’t playing “to stay second”. But they had plenty to address after a disjointed three quarters against the Steel last week almost proved costly.

“We made it really difficult for ourselves and threw away quite a bit of ball – there’s a few things to polish up on.”

Changes in their defensive unit is likely following injury to Paris Lokotui and midcourter Maddy Gordon should get the nod after playing her first full 60 minutes of the season, moving into wing defence when Lokotui was forced to leave the court. The Stars showed against the Mystics last week they remain title contenders, but coach Kiri Wills has plenty to ponder leading into this crunch match with all eyes on the shooting circle.

Captain Maia Wilson struggled with her radar against the Mystics and eventually made way for Amorangi Malesala who teamed up with Jamie Hume. With Silver Ferns selectors taking plenty of interest in coming weeks, the time is right for Commonwealth Games hopefuls to step up.

Monday, May 16

Mystics v Magic, 7.10pm at The Trusts Arena in Auckland

The ledger stands at one apiece this season after the Splice Construction Magic surprised many when they beat the MG Mystics back in the season opener before the defending champions bounced back for a 12-goal win in Round 8.

Sitting at the bottom of the table, the Magic have remained competitive with all Premiership teams – despite struggling with injuries and the pandemic implications – but will need to be at their best to replicate their Round 1 efforts against a Mystics unit which continues to impress.

The celebrations could start early however with midcourter Claire Kersten poised to mark her 100th national league match against the Auckland-based side. Both teams will be backing up in a double-header weekend and the strength of their full squads could be put to the test.

Mystics defender Michaela Sokolich-Beatson said the depth within the side had helped them through a busy schedule and ensured competition for starting spots remained fierce.

“It means we train very well every week and I think that’s why our side is doing well this year – everyone’s fighting week in and week out for that bib.”

Sokolich-Beatson is returning from injury this season and is pleased to be fighting for a starting spot in a highly competitive defensive unit.

“I can’t put into words how good it feels – this is my happy place so to get to do that week in and week out is awesome,” she said.

Wednesday, May 18

Magic v Steel, 7.10pm at Energy Events Centre in Rotorua
(Rescheduled from Round 5)

This will be the first meeting between the Splice Construction Magic and Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel this season – tonight’s game a rescheduled match from Round 5.

The Steel hold the edge over the Magic in league history having had 20 wins in the 36 matches they have played so far – the Magic last beating the southerners in Round 8 in 2020. This will be the Magic’s third game in five days and a real test of their character in what has been a challenging season.

Steel will be eager to add to their points tally to stay in touch of the top three and keep their semi-final hopes alive.

Captain Shannon Saunders continues to lead from the front and remains in the top three in the league for centre pass receives and circle feeds – pressing her claims for a ticket to Birmingham and the Commonwealth Games. But she is likely to be up against Ferns team-mates in Claire Kersten and Sam Winders in what promises to be an enticing midcourt clash.