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Tactix burst Steel bubble with strong final quarter

Tactix burst Steel bubble with strong final quarter

The Trident Homes Tactix would have been happy to pocket the points after grinding out a hard-fought 50-31 win over the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel in Dunedin on Sunday.

In a low-scoring spectacle, the high-flying Tactix were kept honest by a dogged Steel team, inflating the score with a flurry of goals in the latter stages of the final quarter against a tiring home side.

The Tactix never quite found their attacking groove but a 17-7 finishing run, in the end, sealed a comfortable win after absorbing a tenacious first half from the Steel. The home side ultimately ran out of puff against the firepower provided by the Tactix.

In the third instalment of the clash of the south, Renee Savai’inaea, once again got the nod at wing attack while talented young shooter Saviour Tui got the start at goal shoot.

For the Tactix, permanent replacement player Paris Lokotui slotted into wing defence, and up-and-coming youngster Parris Petera was given a rare start at wing attack.

It was an unsettled start by both teams, with each being guilty of multiple soft turnovers. But sniffing opportunities, it was the winless home side who found themselves well in the contest.

The Steel did a fine job of disrupting the flow with Kate Burley, Sam Winders and Georgia Heffernan picking up a run of intercept turnovers. Four goals in a row pushed the home side out to a 9-5 advantage before the Tactix responded, the Steel hanging on to win their first opening quarter of the season 10-9.

Courtney Elliott was injected at goal defence for the Steel on the resumption but with the visitors scoring the first three, the Tactix edged into a narrow lead.

Goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit was an influential presence for the Tactix through her general play and accurate finishing. However, an increasingly confident Steel left no margin for error from the Tactix.

With the lead changing hands six times, the Steel showed plenty of intent, the interplay between shooters Tui and Georgia Heffernan being a feature.

With the Tactix unable to make inroads, changes were made with import Laura Malcolm coming off the bench into centre and Kimiora Poi moving to wing attack.

Finding their flow, the Tactix burst out to a six-goal lead but couldn’t completely shake the dogged Steel who snared nine intercepts to their opponents’ five, the visitors edging to a 22-18 lead at the main break.

Scoring the first three goals of the third stanza put the Tactix in the box seat to take a grip on proceedings. Still not at their best, the growing presence of defensive duo Jane Watson and Karin Burger and the impetus of Poi on attack helped the Tactix increase their lead.

Youngster Ivari Christie (wing attack) and Jess Allan (goal attack) were injected midway through to help resurrect the home side’s fortunes but the Steel could not get enough ball into their shooters’ hands.

With Lokotui suffering a heavy fall, the Tactix were forced to rejig their defensive line, prompting Kate Lloyd to come off the bench to goalkeeper and Watson and Burger moving up to goal and wing defence respectively.

Restricting the Steel to just six goals during the 15-minute term, it was the Tactix who headed into the last turn handily placed when leading 33-24.