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2023 ANZ Premiership Round 10 Preview

2023 ANZ Premiership Round 10 Preview

Take a look at the match-ups coming in Round 10 of the ANZ Premiership.

Saturday, 6 May

Mystics v Steel, 7.15pm at The Trusts Arena in Auckland

The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel are here to keep teams honest in the race for the Finals Series as they showed in a heartbreaking one-goal loss to the Pulse. But captain Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit wants her side to show it wasn’t a ‘one-off’ and to build on their performance against the MG Mystics. 

“The most pleasing thing to see is that we were actually doing what we trained,” she said despite the disappointment of the loss to the Pulse. 

“To put in a fight like that, I’m super proud.” 

Selby-Rickit said they delivered an “almost 60-minute” performance. 

“This can’t be a one-off though, we have to keep building from here and actually get that win.” 

The Steel captain was again pleased with the progress of her attacking end which will need to take yet another step up against a Mystics defensive unit which pulled the Tactix frontline to pieces last week. They welcomed back skipper Sulu Fitzpatrick in Round 9 and the unit, including Carys Stythe and Phoenix Karaka, picked up 11 gains between them. 

It was a performance which will have put the rest of the league on notice with just three rounds of the regular season remaining, with all of their big guns back on court.

Sunday, 7 May

Magic v Pulse, 2.10pm at Globox Arena in Hamilton

It’s all about composure from Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse as they consolidate their place in the top three and eye up their last shot at the Avis Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. The defending champions needed the last four seconds of their game against the Steel to snatch victory and needed a strong finish to overcome the Tactix. 

Captain Kelly Jury said the one-goal victory over the Steel was timely and would ensure they continued to work hard at training to iron out any faults. 

“We know there are a few cracks…which isn’t a bad thing. We know we’ve got stuff to work on and it's kind of a good wake up call.” 

Coming from behind for recent wins over the Steel and Stars however did give her side confidence in knowing they could get themselves back into a match. 

“We’re never down and out, we’ve got the fight.  We know that it’s a 60-minute game and we’ll just push it to the end and not panic when we’re down because the gaps can close within a few minutes.” 

It may be needed with only one goal separating these two teams in their previous encounters – the Pulse getting the better of the Magic in their season opener but the latter returning the favour in Round 5. The Magic now have nothing to lose and that will ensure they are a threat to the Pulse.

Tactix v Stars, 4.10pm at Christchurch Arena in Christchurch

It doesn’t get any bigger than this for the Trident Homes Tactix with their 2023 ANZ Premiership campaign precariously placed.

Two losses last weekend have left the red-and-blacks in a must-win and all eyes will be on whether defender Jane Watson is able to return to the court after sitting out last weekend with a foot injury.  She was sorely missed last weekend although it may be the links through court that need the most attention after the Tactix struggled to work ball into their shooting circle. 

Defender Kate Lloyd, who played her 50th national league game last weekend, stepped up against the Pulse but it will be a different ball game against Robinhood Stars captain and Silver Fern Maia Wilson who is the most accurate shooter in the league to date. The ledger stands at one game apiece this season, but the Stars controlled the match the last time they met, winning the Round 5 clash by nine goals. Coach Kiri Wills said they wanted to build on their six-goal win over the Magic. 

“We are a team that if we don’t keep our momentum going, we can fall into little holes,” she said. 

They allowed the Magic to get back into the game, but Wills believed it was “simple fixes” ahead of Round 10. 

“We’ve got to straighten up, hold our timing and drive through the ball and we’ll be okay.”

Monday, 8 May

Magic v Steel, 7.35pm at Globox Arena in Hamilton

Pride is on the line for both the Avis Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel when they head to Hamilton for what is just their second meeting of the season. Only five goals separated them when they met in Round 4 and with both teams desperate to finish their campaigns strongly, a tight tussle is expected. 

The fifth-placed Magic have all but run out of opportunities to make the Finals Series, but captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio said there was still plenty to play for when they host the Steel. 

“For us there is still a lot of mana we can give to the dress. It is really important to us how we continue to carry ourselves.” 

The Magic finished strongly against the Stars last week, but Ekenasio said they were still searching for a way to string their good phases together. 

“Sometimes we take the foot off a little bit. Being able to keep the foot on the whole time and being able to take on the body is something we’ve got to continue to find.” 

There is also the bigger picture of World Cup selection still in the back of the minds of a number of players on court. Magic shooter Bailey Mes has given national selectors plenty to ponder with her form this season while Claire Kersten has been driving the Magic’s midcourt which could be enough to put her in the mix for the World Cup.