THE home crowd seemed to be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Mainland Tactix as they registered their first win of the season defeating Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic by four goals (63-59). It was a heart in your mouth finish to the game as the Tactix pulled out all the stops in the final term to sneak home.
The Tactix got off to an absolute flyer as they nailed three goals in the opening minute. With speed to burn the Tactix sliced through the Magic defence with Ellie Bird standing steadfast inside the circle as Karin Burger plied her defensive trade to win the ball off Waikato Bay of Plenty’s centre pass. Despite bursting out of the gates, the Tactix lead dwindled away with Caitlin Bassett commanding the ball under the post and taking advantage of the backspace against the aerial Jane Watson. It went goal for goal throughout the middle stage of the term before Watson pounced on a loose ball in defence to send her side into attack. momentum started to lean towards the home side as their quick transition down court caught the Magic defenders off guard.
Nailing five goals in a row enabled the Tactix to claim the ascendancy with the presence of Te Paea Selby-Rickit undeniable. Her workrate out the front was impressive as she helped to dictate the flow in attack with her deft passes causing all sorts of havoc for Temalisi Fakahokotau and Erena Mikaere. The attacking unit as a whole was humming for the Tactix with Georgia Tong injected into the game for the Magic in hope to get some hands to ball and cause the chance for a turnover – and that she did. Her energy filtered down the court as the Magic went on a goal scoring spree of their own to cull the margin back to four goals at quarter time.
Looking for a change of pace in attack, youngster Khiarna Williams came on in goal attack and had an immediate impact with her drive at the centre pass and smooth movement inside the circle helping to reduce the deficit. The Magic came out with a real pep in their step in the second quarter with their defensive connections solidifying as Tong got plenty of hands to ball. After a fast start from Erikana Pedersen the wing attack headed to the bench as Samon Nathan entered the match. Sam Winders started to come into the game for the Magic with the centre using her turn of speed to hit the top of the goal circle while her perfectly weighted passes into Bassett kept Burger and Watson on their toes.
The Tactix were forced to throw the ball around in attack as the Magic defence upped the ante as Georgie Edgecombe covered Nathan’s every move. But the composure of Selby-Rickit in the attacking third was exactly what the home side needed as she used her peripheral vision to set-up plays. Only one goal separated the two sides for majority of the term as accuracy from all four shooters out on court did not falter. The Tactix converted off a Magic turnover and that gifted them the opportunity to skip ahead as Bird steadied the ship and got her side out to a four goal lead. With the clock ticking down the Magic mounted another comeback with Tong and Mikaere winning ball back. The swing in momentum saw the Tactix ring in the defensive changes as Burger pushed out to wing defence and Sophia Fenwick pulled on the goal defence bib as the Magic piled on five goals straight to steal the lead.
Kimiora Poi looked to get things underway in the second half, but the Magic quashed that thought, immediately scoring off the Tactix centre pass and then delivering off their own as they established a handy two goal buffer. Still without Grace Kara, youngster Tori Kolose imposed herself around circle edge with her nifty footwork and ball placement encouraging signs for the Magic attacking unit. The vision into the circle for the Tactix was key as they bombed it long to bypass the defensive mess. Things really started to tighten up for both sides while a bit of scrappiness also entered the game as the quarter wound down.
The term was well and truly dictated by the Magic with their connections in attack tracking along nicely. Up the other end it was incredibly laboured for the Tactix as they had to work double as hard as their opponents to weave the ball into the circle and build any form of scoring momentum. But all of a sudden a flick switched for the home side as they piled on five goals straight and subsequently stole the lead.
A big defensive win to start the term played into the hands of the Tactix but their inability to capitalise gifted the Magic with a chance to stay in the hunt. The ball flew up and down the court in the first few minutes of the quarter as both sides continued this blow for blow style of netball. The Tactix skipped out to a three goal lead with a tick over six minutes to play and while Selby-Rickit left the court and Jess Prosser entered the fray the Tactix had their tails up and could sense a win and that they did, largely in part to some strong defensive plays from Watson and Burger.
Bird had a game to remember for the Tactix only missing the one shot to nail 54 of her 55 attempts. Selby-Rickit was influential with her nine goals, 25 goal assists and 23 centre pass receives as Poi found her groove around circle edge with 18 goal assists. Burger picked up two crucial intercepts as Watson recorded eight gains and two pickups. Bassett had arguably her best game for the Magic posting 45 goals from 48 attempts while the injection of Williams paid dividends as the 18-year-old finished with nine goal and 20 goal assists. Tong starred collecting five intercepts and four deflections as Mikaere also got busy with her four gains.