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2024 ANZ Premiership Round 6 Preview

2024 ANZ Premiership Round 6 Preview

Take a look at the three match-ups coming in Round 6 of the 2024 ANZ Premiership.

4pm, Saturday 18 May
Pulse v Stars at TSB Arena in Wellington
Live on Sky Sport and free to air on TVNZ 2 and TVNZ+
International streaming on www.netballpass.com

Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse may be missing a couple of their key campaigners, but you would never know it as they hold onto their unbeaten status heading towards the midway mark of the regular season. 

On the back of a huge defensive effort in last week’s win over the Tactix, captain Kelly Jackson took time to pay credit to her attacking unit which was without Tiana Metuarau and Maddy Gordon. 

“I think our attackers are doing an incredible job. It’s been unsettling with injuries and illnesses, but Whitney’s (Souness) doing an awesome job leading that end and keeping it calm and controlled.” 

She also talked about young shooter Amelia Walmsley who has had to spend time in the unfamiliar goal attack role. 

“We’re asking a lot of them but they’re doing an awesome job standing up.” 

With five straight wins, pundits would be loath to give the winless Stars a chance against the Pulse. But captain Maia Wilson believes her team is not far from victory and their five bonus points suggest they can run close to any team in the league.

“I think that realisation that bonus points are actually a thing to determine the top three. It’s good that we’re getting the bonus points, but we have to win now.” 

The shooter said the Stars had been in a position previously where they had lost to each team once and still made the Finals Series, but, after five defeats, they had to find a way to get across the line. 

“I think in general I’m happy with the shifts – but we still need a win.”

4pm, Sunday 19 May
Tactix v Steel at MainPower Stadium in Rangiora
Live on Sky Sport
International streaming on 

Redemption is on the mind of Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel captain Kate Heffernan in the second southern derby of the season. The Trident Homes Tactix had the better of their netball neighbours when they met in the opening round, but Heffernan feels they have made great strides since then. 

“We want to redeem ourselves after a pretty average first game against them. We have grown a lot since that first game - I think it’s going to be a good game.” 

Heffernan said she was pleased to see young wing attack Ivari Christie make the most of her opportunities on court and her game was also growing. 

“When she does her strengths, that’s when she’s at her best, and she’s learning them and learning how to nail them. I’m excited to see what else she can give.” 

Meanwhile, the Tactix will be ruing the lost opportunity against the Pulse last week, missing out on a bonus point in the dying seconds in a thrilling match. They showed they have the goods to challenge for the Premiership, but captain Kimiora Poi said they suffered from some “silly errors on attack” which they would need to address moving forward. 

“We were a little bit soft and not taking our bodies to the ball,” she said.  “Our D (defence) also did an awesome job, we got lots of ball, but we just didn’t score from it.”

7.30pm, Monday 20 May
Mystics v Magic at The Trusts Arena in Auckland

The MG Mystics returned to the winners’ circle last week and captain Michaela Sokolich-Beatson believes her side is still only running at 50 per cent with plenty of room to “grow”. 

She was happy with her team’s ability to hold onto possession when things got tight in the win over the Stars and how combinations, without the presence of Grace Nweke, were improving. 

“We were able to play the ball and keep possession - if you’ve got possession, you can keep scoring,” she said. 

She has been impressed with how Hannah Glen and Filda Vui have combined in the shooting circle and stepped up under pressure. 

“They’ve been working so hard those two, so to see them put it together for nearly 60 minutes was awesome.” 

Both Glen and Vui face another pressure cooker against in-form AVIS Magic defensive duo Erena Mikaere and Georgia Takarangi. Mikaere was at her best against the Steel last week with seven gains for her side and her long reach will test the Mystics’ shooters. Magic captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio said the defender was the “heart of our team”. 

“She carries that really well and she’s got so much mana. Erena’s got a real good way to connect the team.” 

The two teams met in the opening round when the Mystics won 64-52 but not before the Magic gave them an early fright, leading at the first quarter. 

“I think the first time we met them potentially we surprised ourselves with how we started. We’ve come such a long way since that first game - I’m looking forward to playing them again.”