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2023 ANZ Premiership Round 5 Preview

2023 ANZ Premiership Round 5 Preview

Take a look at the four match-ups coming up in Round 5 of the ANZ Premiership.

Saturday, 1 April

Steel v Mystics, 7.15pm at Edgar Centre in Dunedin

Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel captain Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit is seeing improvements from her side but admits they’d like to get a win on the board. 

“I think we’re at the stage where we need to take the small wins, obviously we want to actually win, but getting a bonus point is great,” she said after the narrow loss to the Magic last week. 

The defender was pleased to see her side lift in their attempts at goal and said they needed to continue that climb. Their biggest climb will however be needed in the defensive circle as they attempt to shut down MG Mystics shooter Grace Nweke who sunk all her 46 attempts at goal against the Stars last week. 

The Steel defenders give away 10cm plus in height difference and not even the impressive hops from Kate Burley slowed Nweke down when the two teams met in the season opener. That match was one-way traffic with the Mystics netting a 26-goal victory. 

Since then, the Steel have welcomed back young shooter Saviour Tui who has been building up her minutes on court after recovering from a knee injury.  She played three quarters last week and may get the full 60 minutes with Selby-Rickit impressed with how “strong” Tui stood up in the circle and with her accuracy.

Sunday, 2 April

Pulse v Magic, 2.10pm at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua

Avis Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio has talked about her team’s need to build on momentum – something they lost in the second half of their double-header in Round 4 with a hefty loss to the Tactix. 

“We need to grasp any little momentum that we can get. We’re not expecting quantum leaps, we just have to get those little one per centers better every week. And we have to win when it doesn’t feel good as well.” 

They will be up against a Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse side hurting from a one-goal loss, also to the Tactix.

The Magic and Pulse last met in the season opener when it was just one goal between them with the latter holding on for the victory. They have pillars at either end of the court in captain Kelly Jury who snaffled six gains for her team against the Tactix and teenage shooter Amelia Walmsley who made a telling statement with her composure against a world class defensive combination. 

Jury must have her name inked in for July’s World Cup squad as she continues to menace any shooting circle she enters with her long reach and rebounding ability. She will be relying on team-mate Kristiana Manu’a to step up against a Magic shooting duo who share the load when it comes to sinking goals.

Stars v Tactix, 4.10pm at Pulman Arena in Auckland

Robinhood Stars captain Maia Wilson left the court in Round 4 with an Achilles and calf niggle and all eyes will be on whether the Silver Fern will be back on court in what is a top-of-the-table clash with the Trident Homes Tactix. Despite the injury concern, Wilson was pleased with the Stars latest outing – a narrow loss to the Mystics – and believes they are building nicely. 

“In the past we haven’t been good at getting bonus points, so I think that’s a really good step forward in the right direction. I think we’re building momentum and I hope there are aspects in this game (against the Mystics) where we really looked on fire.” 

Wilson, before leaving the court, was sitting at 94 per cent accuracy, while team-mate Amorangi Malesala again pushed her case for more court time as she sparked the attacking end. Wilson has asked for “one less turnover from everyone” to make a difference against the Tactix – a team they lost to by six in the opening round. 

Tactix’ Kimiora Poi was a happy captain after her team grabbed maximum points in their double-header last week and the midcourter had possibly her best two games in the new wing attack bib.  Poi said the new attacking combinations were improving with each outing.

“They’re slowly building and getting better with each game, but as with anything, there’s things to work on.”

Monday, 3 April

Pulse v Mystics, 7.35pm at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua

Another team with an injury cloud hanging over their captain, the MG Mystics will be hoping to have inspirational leader Sulu Fitzpatrick back in action when they travel to Porirua to take on Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse. 

Fitzpatrick’s early departure in their match against the Stars last week was more precautionary and her netball nous will be needed to halt rising star Pulse shooter Amelia Walmsley. The teenager has made massive strides for the defending champions early into their campaign and will again be key in what will be the first meeting of these two teams this season. 

Pulse captain Kelly Jury was “gutted” they let opportunities slip against the Tactix last week in a one-goal thriller but pleased they could “stay in the fight” when their opponents threatened to break away. She said her side had made a “huge step up” since a disappointing defeat in Round 3 and they were looking forward to taking on the Mystics. 

“We know our game plan works, it’s just those finishing touches and final little connections when the pressure’s on.  It’s been good but there’s always a next level we can go to,” she said. 

Her battle with Mystics shooter Grace Nweke promises plenty as does the midcourt foot race between Tayla Earle and Maddy Gordon at centre as well as the match-up between Mystics defender Phoenix Karaka and Pulse playmaker Tiana Metuarau.