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2023 ANZ Premiership Round 7 Preview

2023 ANZ Premiership Round 7 Preview

Take a look at all the match-ups coming up in Round 7 of the ANZ Premiership.

Saturday, 15 April

Mystics v Pulse, 4.10pm at The Trusts Arena in Henderson

The MG Mystics are still awaiting the return of their captain Sulu Fitzpatrick who has missed the last two weeks of action. They sit atop the standings of the ANZ Premiership but needed to come from behind to earn maximum points in another thriller against the Magic and are now up against a Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse side which would have taken plenty of heart after its win over the Stars last week. 

Pulse captain Kelly Jury was delighted to see her team hold their composure and produce the goods over 60 minutes of play. 

“We’ve been putting some great netball out all season, it’s just those last five minutes or so, or little patches in the game – when the pressure came on, we’d fold. But we were cool, calm and composed right from the start, which was awesome to see, and we were able to build on our lead after halftime.” 

Jury said she knew her team had the fitness to back-up this weekend in another doubleheader and she wanted to see another 60-minute performance from them against the Mystics. The Pulse led for much of the match, when they met in Round 5, falling off the pace early in the deciding spell when a string of six goals to Grace Nweke gave the Mystics the edge they needed to run out winners by seven goals.

Stars v Steel, 7.15pm at Pulman Arena in Papakura

The injury toll on the defensive end of the Robinhood Stars will be of concern for coach Kiri Wills as her team suffered a second straight loss last weekend to slip to fourth on the Premiership ladder.  There will also be worries about the disconnect up front as they struggled to get their shooters enough ball and captain Maia Wilson is calling on individuals to do their job ahead of their match-up with the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel. 

“We’re not getting as much ball as we did earlier in the rounds and on attack, we’re just not being clinical – I think it’s just a bit of pass placement and sometimes we’re overcooking things. But we can’t afford to have two games like that back-to-back.  We said we were going to stick to our game plan, and we weren’t ablet to commit to that.” 

Wilson said they needed to perform in high pressure situations and wouldn’t be able to take the Steel lightly. The last time the two teams met the Stars outclassed the Steel in every aspect for a commanding 34-goal victory.  The Steel will be hoping to have shooter Saviour Tui back in action after she missed their Round 6 outing in Christchurch. They again finished on a high but need to ensure they start strongly if they are to extend the Stars recent run of defeats.

Sunday, 16 April

Magic v Tactix, 4.10pm at Trustpower Baypark Arena in Tauranga

Plenty of high-stakes ANZ Premiership matches this weekend and none more so than when the Avis Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic host the Trident Homes Tactix. There were 17 goals between the two teams when they met in Round 4, with the Tactix coming out on top, but much has changed since then, particularly in the Magic camp who are now sitting in third place on the ladder. 

Captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio said it was “really cool” to see what they were producing on the training court translating into actions in game play. She said the belief in themselves was strong despite coming into the Premiership as underdogs. 

“We believe in us because nobody else does – we’re just enjoying what we do and just taking it one game at a time.  If we can continue to build, that’s what we’re aiming for.” 

Ekenasio’s combination with Bailey Mes will have caught the eye of Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua and their match-up against the international duo of Jane Watson and Karin Burger could double as a national trial with July’s World Cup in mind. The Tactix are sitting in second place on the points table and will be looking for maximum points while on the road for the next two weeks but know complacency will be costly against the high-flying Magic. 

Monday, 17 April

Pulse v Steel, 7.35pm at TSB Arena in Wellington

The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel have nothing to lose at the mid-way point of the ANZ Premiership – they are still searching for their first win in their 2023 campaign, but coach Reinga Bloxham believes they are still building, and they would take the “small wins” from each outing.

The Steel again won their last quarter against the Tactix and Bloxham was pleased with how they performed in the opening half, only to let things slip in a telling third spell, before finishing strongly. 

“We’ve got to take those little wins away with us and try and build on it for next week,” she said after the match. 

“We have to think about the things we’re doing well rather than the things we’re not doing well.” 

Defender Kate Burley has been a stand-out for the Steel this season and is featuring in the top six for both rebounds and intercepts – picking up four intercepts against the Tactix last week and seven deflections. They need to carry over their fourth-quarter form against the Tactix into a strong start against Te Wānanga Pulse, a team they lost to by 20 goals when they last met in just the second round of the season. 

The Pulse showed plenty of fight last week to take down the Stars and despite sitting in fifth place on the ladder, are just three points shy of moving into a play-off position.