Tag: charlotte elley

Mainland Tactix put out a record-breaking performance

A RECORD-breaking performance from the Mainland Tactix gifted them a commanding 17-goal win over Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (68-51). It was the largest winning margin the club has secured in its 14 years, in what was a comprehensive display of netball across the four quarters.

It was goal for goal to start the term with Ellie Bird back in the side after missing last round with a concussion, while Chiara Semple got busy down in the goal circle for the Magic. The Tactix started to open up a handy lead with the Magic producing three turnovers in the first five minutes of play. Kimiora Poi was finding good space through the midcourt using her speed and drive to hit circle edge to dish the ball off to Bird under the post. Te Paea Selby-Rickit was showcasing her impressive ball skills to release the ball with great speed and set-up the attacking forays for the home side. the Magic refused to lie down though with Erena Mikaere coming up for a huge block but they simply could not capitalise. The defensive pressure from the Tactix was immense as Karin Burger snatched a huge intercept up against Caitlin Bassett and within a blink of an eye the Tactix were out to six goals.

A three goal spree to the Tactix was ended by Bassett as the confidence to release into the circle started to grow. The speed of play from the Tactix was catching the Magic defenders off guard as Samon Nathan was having free reign at the top of the circle to feed into Bird and Selby-Rickit. There was simply no stopping the Tactix as they exploited the space with Selby-Rickit running riot against Georgia Tong and blowing out to a whopping 11-goal lead.

Mikaere came out with a point to prove in the first minute of the game with a well-timed intercept. The goal keeper was rewarded for her efforts with Bassett landing the goal and then answering the call moments later to reduce the margin to nine. The tussle under the post between Jane Watson and Bassett was intensifying with the former swatting ball away with ease and using her aerial ability to wreak havoc. She was proving to be a real menace not only against Bassett but so too Semple while up the other end Bird was finding plenty of space against Mikaere. It was a clinical performance from the Tactix with only two turnovers to their name five minutes into the second while the Magic were proving to be costly with eight.

Tori Kolose steadily worked her way into the game with the wing attack not afraid to dish off a long bomb into the circle. tong was throwing herself at everything down in defence while Burger proved anything you do, I can do better reeling in consecutive intercepts. Looking for a spark in attack Khiarna Williams entered the game in goal attack but a sloppy pass from the youngster handed ball straight back to the opposition. Charlotte Elley was a real driving force in wing defence bursting through the midcourt to spear the ball into attack while Burger continued to put on a show in goal defence with her aerial ability. The Taxtic made a couple of changes inside the circle with Kate Grant pulling on the goal attack bib and Selby-Rickit pushing back into goal shooter to close out the term ahead by 13 goals.

Georgie Edgecombe got the nod at wing defence replacing Holly Fowler but that did not seem to slow the Tactix down as Nathan utilised her fancy footwork to dance around her opponent. There was a little bit more fight in the Magic line-up, nailing three goals in a row to get back to 12 but the Tactix had a steadiness about them to maintain their buffer. Sam Winders upped the ante through the centre holding strong around circle edge to try and shoulder the load given Kolose was being worn like a glove by Elley.

Every time Waikato Bay of Plenty got back into contention the Tactix managed to find a way to forge ahead with their midcourt craft a real standout. The lead blew out to 15 goals with a tick under seven minutes to play with the Magic defence really suffering from the absence of Temalisi Fakahokotau who sustained an ankle injury last round. Wholesale changes were made by the Tactix as Sophia Fenwick pulled on the wing defence bib and Erikana Pedersen swung into wing attack to provide some fresh legs for the home side.

A turnover off the centre pass gifted the Tactix with a chance to propel the ball forward and score as they extended the three quarter time buffer to 12 goals and followed it up with another goal immediately after. Momentum once again started to favour the Tactix before Bassett steadied the ship with a much needed goal. Some Watson magic stunned the Magic attack end as she rocketed the ball down the court with Poi helping to lead the charge before once more the lead ballooned out to 15 goals. Bassett sent a huge injury scare through the Magic camp with the goal shooter forced from the court after landing awkwardly on her heavily strapped knee forcing a re-shuffle in the circle. Incredible defensive work from the Tactix kept them ticking along as they flew home with a scintillating win.

Bird was in fine form in her return game slotting 47 goals from 58 attempts while Selby-Rickit showcased her class sinking 19 goals at 83 per cent along with 24 goal assists. Nathan had a hot hand on the feed racking up 14 goal assists while defensively Burger had a night out amassing a whopping six intercepts and nine gains with Watson also finishing with five gains to her name. Prior to her injury Bassett was a pillar of consistency shooting 32 goals from 33 attempts while Williams also showcased her accuracy nailing 12 goals from 13. Winders was a real driving force thanks to her 21 goal assists as Mikaere and Tong combined for 11 gains.

Fisher steers Steel to hard-fought two goal win

IT was always going to be a tough task without Ellie Bird and although the Mainland Tactix put up a good fight the Southern Steel showcased their grit and determination to steal a two goal win in a low-scoring affair (47-45). The Steel have gotten good at coming from behind to snatch victory, replicating their heroics from last week once again.

Missing a lynchpin in attack did not seem to worry the Tactix early as Kate Grant opened the account for the home side with a crafty goal. It did not take long for George Fisher to answer the call up the other end of the court for the Steel. Grant was making her presence felt nice and early with the goal shooter using her smarts to position cleverly inside the circle as the Tactix pushed out to a handy two goal buffer. But Fisher proved anything you can do, I can do better nailing consecutive goals to make it level pegging. Every time the Steel had a surge the Tactix found a way to skip one step ahead as Grant was having the better of Taneisha Fifita early to do the heavy lifting under the post. The tussle between sisters Te Paea and Te Huinga Selby-Rickit was as exciting as ever to watch as they competed hard for every single pass and every inch of space out on court.

A mid-quarter rally from the Tactix pushed them further ahead as they established a five-goal lead doubling their opponents’ score 10-5. But just as soon as the game looked like it was getting away from them the Steel found a way to weasel their way back into the contest. The combination of goal attack Tiana Metuarau and centre Kate Heffernan came to life and worked wonders in attack with the duo spearing passes into Fisher with great ease. A newfound energy in attack forced the likes of Jane Watson and Karin Burger onto the back foot with Watson really struggling to combat the front hold of Fisher as the lead dwindled down to a mere goal at quarter time.

Holding the slimmest of leads at quarter time the Tactix looked to extend their margin but an errant shot off the hand of Grant gifted the Steel a chance to capitalise. It took a while for both sides to settle in the second with Te Paea Selby-Rickit landing the first goal with a tick under two minutes played in the term. Metuarau put up her first goal of the game moments later but the Tactix hung onto this one goal buffer. The tables slowly started to turn as Te Huinga Selby-Rickit sprung to life getting hands to ball and chasing down any loose ball that came her way to send the ball rocketing down the other end of the court. A four goal run to the Steel gifted them the lead with just over six minutes to play.

After being well held in the opening term Shannon Saunders upped the ante with her craft around circle edge and turn of speed to keep Charlotte Elley guessing. Changes came hard and fast for both the Tactix and Steel as Grant went to the bench and 17-year-old Amelia Walmsley made her way on in goal shooter. For the Steel, Fifita went to the bench allowing Sarahpheinna Woulf to be injected into the game. Walmlsey found her groove straight away against Woulf while she combined well with Te Paea Selby-Rickit to steadily eat into the margin. Up the other end, accuracy was proving no issue for the Steel as Fisher and Metuarau did not miss a single shot pushing their side out to a three goal lead.

The Tactix came out of half time with a real spring in their step as Te Paea Selby-Rickit slotted two goals in under a minute to draw back within a goal. Fifita was back on the court to start the term bodying up on Walmsley but that did not seem to bother the youngster who simply dug in and got the job done. Both Samon Nathan and Kimiora Poi increased their workload throughout the third term to spur the attacking unit on but this goal for goal rhythm remained. Neither side was able to break the shackles of each other as the defensive pressure intensified and scoreboard continued to tick over.

Fisher was doing all the heavy lifting inside the circle for the Steel with the England international using her footwork to avoid the long limbs of Watson. But the efforts of Burger is what stood out as the goal defence got hands to ball time and time again. Any way she could disrupt a passage of play she was there making life hard for the Steel and nullifying the influence of her former teammate in Metuarau. The Tactix managed to muster another layer of energy and drive sinking three goals straight to level the playing field but a late rally from the visitors saw all the hard work come unstuck.

It all came down to the last quarter and with only two goals separating them teenage shooter, Walmsley had a point to prove. Scoring the first goal of the term she made her intentions clear with the Tactix relishing a purple patch putting up seven goals straight. The momentum was and truly favouring the home side as they turned the deficit into a five goal margin. but that is where it stopped, as the Tactix did not put up a single shot from the eight and a half minute mark while the Steel went on a rampage. Fisher singlehandedly won the game nailing seven goals straight to rip the win away from the Tactix.

Fisher walked away with 40 goals at 91 per cent as Metuarau sat at 100 per cent with seven goals straight. Saunders was strong on the feed with 14 goal assists as Fifita amassed three gains and six deflections as Te Huinga Selby-Rickit picked up four gains and an intercept. Te Paea Selby-Rickit was the most prolific shooter for the Tactix with 18 from 20 while Walmsley impressed with her 16 from 19. Poi collected 15 goal assists as Burger had a day out in defence registering four intercepts and eight gains.

2021 ANZ Premiership preview: Round 9

ROUND 9 of the ANZ Premiership rolls around with the ladder continuing to chop and change given the unpredictable season so far. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic will be eager to get another win on the board after falling agonisingly short last round.

Northern Stars vs. Central Pulse
Sunday, June 13 @6:15pm

The Northern Stars will be hoping to reverse their fortunes against Central Pulse and get one back here. Last time these two sides met the Pulse handed the Stars their first loss for the season and it was a hefty one at that going down by 13 goals. But it has not been smooth sailings for the Pulse who have struggled to find a level of consistency, so this is sure to be an enthralling match-up with the Stars and Pulse both coming in off narrow losses.

Maia Wilson was well held last round but the goal shooter never has two down games meaning she will be looking to punish in this clash. Wilson has added more strings to her bow this season, backing herself from range and getting on the move more often making her a prominent threat. But if she is not firing Amorangi Malesala has proven to be the Stars’ secret weapon with her ability to explode out of the blocks and play either goal shooter or goal attack. Jamie Hume is also highly dynamic and will be hoping to bounce back from a quiet performance last week. But the Stars shooters will have their work cut out for them with Kelera Nawai and Kelly Jury developing a really sturdy relationship. Nawai is a strong physical competitor but will need the long arms of Jury to really get in the head of Wilson and reduce the amount of ball that comes flying into the circle, while the key for the Pulse will also lie with stopping Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan with the wing attack and centre wreaking havoc in attack thanks to their deft passes and impressive vision.

The Pulse will be hoping that Te Amo Amaru-Tibble is back in the fold this round with the goal attack severely missed under the post last week. Although Whitney Souness worked in overdrive to be an option with her scintillating speed, her lack of confidence to go to post mounted unnecessary pressure on Aliyah Dunn – and if double teamed by the Stars defence consisting of Anna Harrison, Elle Temu and Oceane Maihi, could spark trouble. The Stars defenders are in ripping form with their ability to compete especially when it comes to the aerial ball meaning Claire Kersten, Maddy Gordon, depending where she plays through the midcourt, and Souness will have to get crafty with their ball delivery.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic vs. Northern Mystics
Monday, June 14 @6:15pm

It was heartbreak for Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic while it was triumph for the Mystics who knocked off the top of the table Stars last round. Looking ahead to this game and expect it to be a good-old fashion arm wrestle. The Magic have proven they have the players and structures to compete with the best and just need to do so over a full four quarters while the Mystics will be riding a wave of success.

The Magic have no shortage of defensive options with Temalisi Fakahokotau, Georgia Tong, Erena Mikaere at their disposal plus the return of Holly Fowler only adding to their stocks. All four are capable of playing circle defence with their leap and long arms a couple of key characteristics. Fakahokotau will be hoping to redeem herself after receiving some unwanted attention from the umpire last round and will have to be on her A-game to combat Grace Nweke who continues to dominate at the post. Although Bailey Mes does not have a huge influence on the scoreboard the Magic defence will need to put some time into her out the front to reduce her impact on the feed. The Mystics also have the options of Filda Vui and Saviour Tui, with the latter yet to receive any court time this season. All eyes will turn to the midcourt with questions remaining about whether or not Tayla Earle will return to the mix of if Claire O’Brien will continue her run in at centre combining nicely with powerhouse wing attack Peta Toeava.

Caitlin Bassett was at her damaging best last round and the goal shooter will be hoping to keep that trajectory going as her partnership continues to blossom with Chiara Semple. The two proved they can shoot at an incredibly high accuracy with Grace Kara and Sam Winders real driving forces in the attacking third with their well-executed passes taking centre stage. With this in mind the Mystics combination of Sulu Fitzpatrick and Kate Burley will need to be in full-flight to shut down the easy passage into the circle.

Mainland Tactix vs. Southern Steel
Monday, June 14 @8:15pm

The final game of the round sees the Mainland Tactix play host to the Southern Steel who just notched up their first consecutive wins for the 2021 season. It took a while for the Tactix to find their groove but have played some good netball in the past couple of rounds while the Steel have been the underdogs this season and frequently stepped up to the plate. Both teams head into this clash coming off a win so expect a high-octane match.

Boasting two dominant goal shooters in Ellie Bird for the Tactix and George Fisher for the Steel it will be up to the workload of the goal attack as to who gets their respective side over the line. Te Paea Selby-Rickit is yet to hit her straps this season while Tiana Metuarau has proven to be a real playmaker but is at her best when she can balance that role with her shooting load. Through the midcourt there is speed to burn with Kimiora Poi and Samon Nathan leading the charge for the Tactix and the highly versatile and interchangeable Kate Heffernan and Renee Savai’inaea able to assert control for the Steel. The real contest will come down to whether or not Charlotte Elley can keep tabs on Shannon Saunders with the wing attack a real pillar of consistency and composure for the Steel in attack.

It is a contrast of youth and experience when looking at the two sides in particular down in defence with Jane Watson and Karin Burger a formidable unit with Silver Ferns experience. If the two defenders are able to replicate their form from last week it will go a long way in shutting down Fisher to post given both Watson and Burger are renowned for their ball-winning abilities. Conversely, the Steel defence consisting of Taneisha Fifita, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit and Sarahpheinna Woulf is quite young with Selby-Rickit the exception. Fifita is a physical competitor that does not take a backwards step which will be interesting to see how Bird shapes up against her with the Tactix goaler not a fan of the body-on-body style of defence.

2021 Stats Wrap: SSN Round 6 and ANZ Premiership Round 8

IT was a big week in both the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) and ANZ Premiership with a couple of unexpected results and nail-biters dictating the round. Round 6 of the SSN saw Queensland Firebirds get back on the winners list while Mainland Tactix upped the ante over in New Zealand to topple an undermanned Central Pulse outfit. Let’s check out some of the top performers in each respective league.

GOALS:

Grace Nweke continues to be a thorn in opposition sides with the goal shooter topscoring in the ANZ Premiership thanks to her jaw dropping 60-goal performance from 64 attempts in Round 8. She was a lynchpin in attack for the Mystics, dragging her side over the line with her cool, calm collected manner to post. Next best was George Fisher with the Steel goaler nailing not only 50 goals but so too the winning shot, scoring at 93 per cent accuracy. Aliyah Dunn was a commanding force for the Pulse sinking 47 goals from 54 attempts, while Ellie Bird also made her presence felt on the scoreboard thanks to her 46 goals but at a lower 81 per cent. It was a strong and accurate showing from Caitlin Bassett with the Magic goal shooter only missing two goals while out on court to sit at 95 per cent. Tiana Metuarau, Chiara Semple and Amorangi Malesala upped the ante out in goal attack with each goaler only missing one goal. Semple was the highest scorer with 19 goals from 20 attempts.

It is no surprised that Jhaniele Fowler was one of the top goalers for Round 6 of the SSN with the West Coast Fever representative nailing 59 goals from 60 attempts at an impressive 98 per cent. Hot on her heels was Sam Wallace with the NSW Swifts goal shooter starring under the post going at 100 per cent credit to her 58 goals straight as Shimona Nelson showcased her scoring prowess with 39 goals at 95 per cent. Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer shared the load for the GIANTS with 23 and 22 goals respectively and a combined six super shots with four coming off the hand of Dwyer. Speaking of shared shooting loads look no further than Romelda Aiken and Gretel Bueta with the two recapturing their signature form with the Jamaican leading the way with three super shots at 100 per cent and 34 regular goals. Cara Koenen was the go-to-girl for the Lightning posting 36 goals from 42 attempts while Lenize Potgieter did the heavy lifting for the Thunderbirds with her 29 goals at 91 per cent.

MIDCOURT:

Gina Crampton was electric through the midcourt racking up 32 goal assists and an intercept while Peta Toeava was not far off the pace with 29 goal assists and an intercept of her own. Grace Kara impressed with her pinpoint feeds into the circle to finish with 25 goal assists to her name with a late move into the goal circle assisting with this number. Teammate Sam Winders was also a commanding force with her 15 goal assists, one intercept and five pickups as Shannon Saunders picked up 14 goal assists for the Steel. Samon Nathan was the driving force for the Tactix in attack amassing 21 goal assists as Charlotte Elley impressed in wing defence with her three gains and two intercepts. Maddy Gordon and Claire Kersten shared the load in attack for the Pulse with 13 and 12 goal assists respectively.

Collingwood speedster Kelsey Browne had the ball on a string racking up 26 goal assists while former teammate and current Queensland Firebirds centre Kim Ravaillion was equally as impressive with ball in hand registering 20 goal assists and an intercept. Verity Charles and Jess Anstiss were crucial for the Fever managing 20 and 19 goal assists apiece with the latter also reeling in an intercept. Stacey Francis-Bayman made her presence felt in wing defence thanks to her three deflections and two intercepts with Ash Brazill also impressing with her three intercepts. Jamie-Lee Price was exciting through the midcourt racking up 18 goal assists and four intercepts as teammate Maddie Hay also found her groove with 15 goal assists of her own. Maddy Proud and Nat Haythornthwaite were influential for the Swifts with 18 and 14 goal assists while Maisie Nankivell showed some real attacking nous for Adelaide with her 15 goal assists.

DEFENCE:

It is hard to go past the performance of Oceane Maihi, who despite taking a while to warm into the game found her hops to really disrupt the play picking up six gains, four intercepts and only received six penalties showcasing her cleanliness. Another goal keeper that had a standout performance was Jane Watson with the Tactix captain registering five deflections, two intercepts and two rebounds. Partner in crime, Karin Burger was also amongst the thick of things with three gains and an intercept. Kelera Nawai and Kelly Jury combined for eight gains as Taneisha Fifita was also a commanding force down back for the Steel thanks to her three intercepts and six deflections. Erena Mikaere was the other top performer in defence collecting six deflections in her 60 minutes out on court.

Shamera Sterling was a nuisance down back for the Thunderbirds picking up six gains and four intercepts for her efforts. Partner in crime Matilda Garrett also had a day out with her four deflections and three gains as Queensland Firebirds goal keeper Tara Hinchliffe impressed with her ball winning capabilities to finish with six gains and four intercepts. Lightning goal keeper Phumza Maweni was in the thick of things with her four gains and three intercepts as the combination between Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner was at its damaging best with a combined nine gains. Courtney Bruce had a field day for the Fever with a staggering 11 gains five of which were intercepts along with 10 deflections as Melbourne Vixens goal keeper Kadie-Ann Dehaney relished her time out on court registering seven gains and three  intercepts.

Photo credit: Bradley Kanaris

2021 ANZ Premiership – Team of the Week: Round 8

THERE was no Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) action this week meanwhile Round 8 of the ANZ Premiership rolled around. There were plenty of close shaves in the ANZ Premiership and with that a couple of impressive performances as the Mystics toppled the top of the table Stars and Tactix reigned supreme over the Pulse.

GS: Grace Nweke (Northern Mystics)
GA: Chiara Semple (Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic)
WA: Gina Crampton (Northern Stars)
C: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (Northern Stars)
WD: Charlotte Elley (Mainland Tactix)
GD: Kelly Jury (Central Pulse)
GK: Jane Watson (Mainland Tactix)

BENCH: George Fisher (Southern Steel), Peta Toeava (Northern Mystics), Taneisha Fifita (Southern Steel)

Grace Nweke finds herself named in our Team of the Week once again with the talented goal shooter plying her trade for the Northern Mystics. A force to be reckoned with inside the circle, Nweke was able to position cleverly and use her strength to dictate the flow inside the circle putting up a whopping 60 goals from 64 attempts at 94 per cent. Joining her inside the circle for the first time this season is Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic goal attack, Chiara Semple. The smooth-moving shooter might have only played three quarters this round but impressed with her classy movement, accuracy to post and confidence to back herself from range. Semple only missed one goal nailing 19 of her 20 attempts while also racking up 10 goal assists in a strong and consistent showing.

It is no surprise to see Gina Crampton once again getting the nod in at wing attack with the fancy-footed midcourter controlling the tempo for the Stars. With impressive vision into the circle, composure and cleanliness, Crampton was a real staple for the Stars and while they did not get the win she was a driving force in attack. Speedster, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan earned the start for another week with her clever drives, pinpoint passes and timing enabling her to control proceedings for the Stars. She balanced the circle alongside teammate Crampton to give the shooters the best chance to score while her vision into the circle was also impressive. Looking at the wing defence position and it is hard to go past Charlotte Elley. Somewhat of an unsung hero in the defensive third for the Tactix, Elley was on top of her game using her speed and long arms to wreak havoc. With deceptive closing speed and an undeniable tenacity the wing defence picked up three gains and two intercepts for her efforts.

Still finding her feet out in goal defence, Kelly Jury had a strong performance for the Pulse with her hands over pressure and lean over the shot. Although she did not feature highly on the stats sheet with three gains and two intercepts it was the work off the ball from Jury that set her apart, putting in the hard yards to shut down her opponent and double back into the goal circle to get hands to ball. Mainland Tactix goal keeper Jane Watson had a point to prove in her Round 8 clash, striking in the opening minutes of play to win ball back for her side. Her long arms, lean over the shot and read of the play enabled her to get hands to ball and cause plenty of disruptions down back while her cleanliness was another key element.

Unlucky not to get the nod in the starting goal shooter role, George Fisher takes out the bench position credit to her composure to landing the winning goal and all-round class throughout the match. Alongside her on the bench is Northern Mystics wing attack, Peta Toeava who continued her dominant form with ball in hand racking up 29 goal assists and an intercept. The final spot goes to Taneisha Fifita, with the goal keeper plying her trade up against a classy opposition to get hands to ball and keep her side ahead, stepping up at crucial moments.

Tactix hold off reigning premiers to secure their fourth win of the season

MAINLAND Tactix held onto victory against Central Pulse securing a three goal win (55-52). The Pulse were heavily undermanned heading into the clash with Te Amo Amaru-Tibble sidelined with illness, forcing the side to shuffle some players around. It was a game of two halves as the Tactix held sway for the first two terms before the visitors found their groove in the second half.

It did not take long for the Tactix to get their first goal on the board with the home side ruing their misfortunes from last week. Moments later, captain Jane Watson injected herself into the play with a nicely timed intercept across the top of the goal circle, propelling the Tactix forward once again. Within a blink of an eye, the Tactix were out to a three-goal lead. Whitney Souness opened the account for the Pulse, getting the start in goal attack as opposed to wing attack and she made her presence felt early. The game was being played at a speed of knots with the ball ping ponging up and down the court but the Tactix defence were running rampant. Watson was in just about everything with the goal keeper racking up two deflections and two intercepts in the first six minutes of the game. but up the other end, Kelly Jury was proving anything you can do, I can do better with the goal defence using her long limbs and quick footwork to win ball back and keep her side in the hunt.

The Pulse started to find their rhythm in attack, nailing four goals in a row midway through the term to level the scores. Maddy Gordon was electric around circle edge while Aliyah Dunn worked her way into the game with the two connecting seamlessly. Ellie Bird was a real workhorse for the Tactix under the post, constantly riding the bumps and physicality to hold up under the pressure. With Watson firing, Karin Burger decided it was her time to shine with an intercept of her own along the baseline with the Tactix rewarding her for her efforts to sneak out to two goal buffer. Sloppy passes in attack cost the Pulse with Charlotte Elley impressing with her lightning quick footwork to snatch an intercept as the Tactix snuck out to a four goal lead at quarter time.

It was goal for goal to start the second quarter with neither side making a change and sticking to their starting sevens. Claire Kersten was a driving force for the Pulse through the midcourt while youngster Paris Lokotui was making life hard for Samon Nathan around circle edge for the Tactix. Bird was starting to find some more freedom inside the circle against Kelera Nawai with the goal keeper often caught on the back foot. The lead extended out to five goals before the Pulse reeled it back in with some big defensive moments falling their way. But Burger was proving to be a thorn in her former teams’ side streaming through the midcourt for an intercept.

Silly errors from the Tactix were keeping the Pulse in the game with Kimiora Poi turning herself inside out but unable to keep the ball in play. each time the Tactix snuck out to a five goal lead the Pulse found a way to dwindle it down to three with Dunn proving to be a lynchpin in the goal circle. Souness was carving up the court with her speed and decision making keeping Burger and Watson guessing while up the other end Te Paea Selby-Rickit was steadily going about her business. Although Souness was struggling to convert on her opportunities she was calling the shots but it did not seem to faze the Tactix who pushed out to an eight goal buffer, the highest lead of the game.

Kersten came to life sprinting through the midcourt to reel in an intercept with Dunn capitalising on the opportunity before moments later Abby Erwood reaped the rewards with an intercept of her own. The increased defensive pressure from the Pulse was providing them with chances to go forward and score as Jury came up with a classy intercept of her own. The wheels started to fall off for the Tactix as Nathan bombed the ball over the sideline with the lead reduced to six goals midway through the third term. The shooter to shooter interplay between Dunn and Souness was causing headaches for Watson and Burger who were kept on the backfoot. The Pulse were releasing the ball with confidence and speed as they continued to peg the margin back stringing together three consecutive goals.

The intensity was up for both sides with both attacking ends firing on all cylinders. Poi was using her speed to control the flow for the Tactix while Kersten was using her steady head to weave her magic for the Pulse. It was turning into a goal for goal slog before once again the Tactix found a way to pull ahead and put a top to the Pulse’s good work.

It was a hot start to the final term with the Tactix landing the first blow off the hands of Bird with the home side more than happy to play the ball around. The ball speed from the Tactix was catching the Pulse off-guard while Souness’ inaccuracy was starting to take a toll as the home side blew back out to a 10 goal lead. The Tactix piled on the first five goals of the game with Dunn scoring the first goal of the quarter at the 11 minute mark. The Pulse rung in the changes with Jury pushing back to goal keeper and Parris Mason pulling on the goal defence bib as thing started to swing their way. The Pulse nailed seven goals in a row to round out the game but it was too little, too late as the Tactix got the job done.

It was a battle of the goal shooters with Bird sinking 46 goals at 81 per cent while Dunn was impressive with her 47 goals from 54 attempts. Although Souness was not accurate with five goals her quick hands enabled her to rack up 18 goal assists as Gordon also chimed in with a handy a 13 goal assists of her own. Samon was a key cog with her 21 goal assists for the Tactix. Jury was influential in defence with her three gains and two intercepts as Watson, Burger and Elley combined for 13 gains and five intercepts in a strong defensive showing.

2021 ANZ Premiership preview: Round 8

ANOTHER round of ANZ Premiership action rolls around with Round 8 set to be an exciting one with the Northern Stars looking to maintain their spot on top of the ladder and Central Pulse hoping to extend their winning streak to three games.

Mainland Tactix vs. Central Pulse

The Tactix will be ruing their missed opportunities from last round and will be hoping to come out with a real pep in their step when they take on the reigning premiers who are just starting to find their groove having strung together consecutive wins. The Pulse have leapfrogged the Tactix on the ladder and will be eager to maintain that position with a potential third straight win here.

The combination between Karin Burger and Jane Watson is finally starting to gel and the duo are becoming incredibly damaging with their ability to go out and hunt the cross court ball and apply hands over pressure on the shot meaning Aliyah Dunn and Te Amo Amaru-Tibble will have to be weary. The Pulse are at their best when Amaru-Tibble is able to find the post and use her quick hands to create plays in attack while Dunn is most damaging when able to hold strong under the post. Whitney Souness has been in hot form with her speed and pinpoint passes into the circle while Claire Kersten has also been a driving force for the Pulse meaning Charlotte Elley will have to up the ante if she is to keep Souness busy and reduce her impact.

Kelera Nawai has well and truly found her feet in goal keeper using her long arms and read of the play to force turnovers aplenty. Nawai will have to use all of her aerial skill against Ellie Bird with the Mainland Tactix goal shooter using her height to full advantage to command the ball and put up a high volume of shots. Her confidence has grown since Te Paea Selby-Rickit came back into the fold with the goal attack not only shouldering the load in the goal circle but so too in attack. Selby-Rickit brings both Samon Nathan and Kimiora Poi into the game something the Pulse and in particular Kelly Jury will need to be aware of if they are any chance to secure the win. Expect Jury to implement some strong hands over pressure and fancy footwork to keep Selby-Rickit from finding Bird under the post while Maddy Gordon will be hoping to use her closing speed to shut down Nathan.

Southern Steel vs. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

The Southern Steel have been in damaging form throughout 2021 and while they have lacked consistency at times to win back-to-back games they definitely have the calibre to do so. Conversely the Magic have only registered the one win this season and will be hoping to put out a dominant performance and really ruffle some feathers.

Many fans were left confused when Grace Kara got the nod in at goal attack as opposed to shooting dynamo Khiarna Williams or Chiara Semple last round. Although Kara is a great playmaker it is fair to say that the accuracy and volume needed to put up a competitive total was lacking thus it will be interesting to see whether or not the Magic opt for this same dynamic against the Steel who are renowned for their physical and ball winning defence. Speaking of the Steel defence, goal keeper Taneisha Fifita has been in ripping form but will have work cut out for against the highly-experienced and classy Caitlin Bassett who had her best game to date last round. Fifita will need support from Te Huinga Selby-Rickit while Sarahpheinna Woulf has also proven to be an explosive option in defence for the Steel with her tenacity and  hunt for the ball key.

The Magic welcomed back defensive midcourter Holly Fowler adding another string to their bow through the centre third to compliment the likes of Sam Winders, Erena Mikaere, Georgia Tong and Temalisi Fakahokotua. In fact, Waikato Bay of Plenty are brimming with defensive talent and will be hoping that their aerial ability and pressure is enough to offset the fast growing connection between George Fisher and Tiana Metuarau. The Steel shooting duo are slick, able to rotate the circle with ease and are not afraid to back themselves range making them a handful for the Magic defence. The other interesting contest will be through the midcourt with Kate Heffernan showcasing her versatility to effectively ply her trade in centre or wing defence much like Winders while Shannon Saunders is a real driving force in attack and someone the Magic will need to shut down if they are to secure their second win of the season.

Northern Mystics vs. Northern Stars

A top two battle is set to round out the action as the Northern Mystics host the Northern Stars. The Stars have been unstoppable despite their blip against the Pulse while the Mystics have also strung together some convincing performances and will be hoping to put out a strong performance in this clash.

It will be a battle of the dominant goal shooters with Grace Nweke up one end and Maia Wilson down the other end. Nweke is a lynchpin for the Mystics and has proven time and time again to be an aerial threat but will have to take the ball strongly up against Elle Temu and Anna Harrison. The Stars defensive duo have developed at a rate of knots able to seamlessly switch between goal keeper and goal defence with their ball winning capabilities and read of the play second to none to swat ball away. Nweke will need the likes of Bailey Mes, Filda Vui and even Savior Tui who has seen little court time so far in season 2021 to draw some attention off her if the Mystics are to put up a competitive score. Jamie Hume has really come into her own for the Stars, partnering with Wilson to drain the long bombs and use her silky movement to keep defenders busy and will have to be on her a-game against Kate Burley and Sulu Fitzpatrick with the latter a great physical matchup for Wilson.

Missing Tayla Earle last week the Mystics will be hoping to have the dynamic midcourter back to allow Peta Toeava to get down to business around circle edge. But the Stars have key cogs of their own through the midcourt with Lisa Mather able to grind out the game in wing defence and a real unsung hero for the defensive unit while Mila Reuelu-Buchanan is a livewire through the midcourt with her run and gun style. Speaking of midcourters all eyes will turn to the influence in which Gina Crampton can have for the stars with her connection between Wilson steadily growing. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Stars are able to weave their magic against a slick defensive combination.

Stars break Tactix hearts in overtime nail-biter

IT was heartbreak for the Mainland Tactix and glee for Northern Stars as they prevailed in an overtime thriller (57-56). The Tactix led for majority of the game, but let the win slip through their fingers in the dying minutes as the Stars showcased their class to outplay their opponents and claim bragging rights.

The Tactix did not take long to hit the scoreboard as Te Paea Selby-Rickit opened their account nice and early to set the tone for the visitors. Up the other end, Maia Wilson was handed a warning in the opening two minutes of play with the goal shooter put on high alert. The defensive pressure was well and truly up for both sides with Karin Burger streaming through for a crafty intercept and Ellie Bird rewarding her for her efforts sneaking out to a two-goal lead. It was not easy by any means for either term to penetrate the defensive wall but the strength of both Bird and Wilson up opposing ends was providing some relief for the midcourters to release long looping passes into the circle. Burger came out with a point to prove for the Tactix with the goal defence getting hands to ball to disrupt the flow.

It was a stark contrast on transition between the two sides with the Stars flying down the court and the Tactix more laboured in attack. But that patient approach was paying dividends for the Tactix as they crept out to a four goal lead, happy to play the ball around and work their magic into the circle. Kimiora Poi was a focal point both in defence and attack for the Tactix using her speed around circle edge to drive the Tactix and extend their lead. The game started to slip away from the Stars as the deficit snuck out to six goals with their ability to find Wilson under the post really hindered. Things were not going the Stars’ way receiving a wealth of attention from the umpires as they doubled the Tactix’s penalty count. It turned into the walking wounded for the Tactix as Selby-Rickit joined Jane Watson on the bench in the dying seconds of the term.

Watson returned to the court after being patched up while Hannah Glen continued her way out in goal attack for the Tactix. It started to pick up in attack for the Stars with Jamie Hume shouldering the load and lending a hand in defence to win ball back. Gina Crampton also came to life with the wing attack using her speed to dart down the court. It was a show of the wing attacks as Samon Nathan led the troops in attack for the Tactix with her drive to the top of the circle and vision enabling her to sight Bird with great ease under the post. it was turning into a goal for goal rhythm with the four goal buffer unable to be disturbed.

Greer Sinclair got the start in wing defence but Lisa Mather was soon injected into the thick of things for the Stars with her experience coming to the fore. The long arms of Anna Harrison and presence of Elle Temu was starting to get in the heads of both Bird and Selby-Rickit as the Tactix goalers looked to swing the ball around to find better positioning. The pendulum once again swung back in favour of the Tactix with a couple of errant and forced passes landing in the lap of Watson as the visitors re-established their six-goal lead. The Stars were putting themselves in a world of pain while the Tactix motored on to a game-high eight-goal lead with a tick over five minutes to play. A late rally from the Stars enabled them to get themselves back in the game as they went on a three goal run only to only face a four goal deficit heading into half-time.

The second half continued with the same level of intensity with neither side willing to give an inch. The Stars made a couple of positional changes as Temu pushed out to goal defence and Harrison dropped back into goal keeper. Direct passages of play from both attacking units dictated the term but the Tactix landed the first blow sinking two consecutive goals to extend the lead to seven goals. But just as things started to fall the way of the Tactix the Stars pulled rank inching their way back into the contest. Wilson started to come to life and the home side were back within three goals for the first time since the opening term. It did not stop there as the top of the table side upped the ante with only one goal separating the two sides.

Mila Reuelu-Buchanan worked her way into the match with her punchy drives in attack allowing her to steer the ship for the Stars. Her partnership with Crampton was coming to the fore as the Stars started to really hum in attack. It was a game of inches as both sides capitalised on their centre pass but the Stars looked more dangerous in defence with the trio in Harrison, Temu and Mather all out hunting and causing disruption. Selby-Rickit landed a shot after the whistle but it did not count as the Tactix held a skinny three-goal lead.

With it all to play for in the final term, players and fans alike sat with bated breath. The intensity was high as the tensions rose with every single pass. The Stars somehow found another gear to kick up into with Temu impressing with her cleanliness to steal the ball in defence and propel her side into attack. big defensive wins started to go the way of the Stars as Hume found her range again to forge her side ahead. The back-up play from Charlotte Elley was imperative in winning ball back for the Tactix as they once again levelled the scores. Northern Stars pushed out to as much as three goals ahead but the never-say-die attitude from the Tactix kept them in the hunt. The seesawing affair continued with the Tactix afforded a chance to win but a missed shot from Selby-Rickit left the game at 51 goals apiece.

Overtime did not disappoint with each and every player leaving nothing to chance. Wilson landed the first blow before Hume sent fans into a frenzy with a huge intercept and shooter to shooter interplay to give the Stars the first break of overtime. Playing with a real pep in their step the Stars controlled proceedings and while the Tactix had moments simply could not match the energy of the Stars as they stole a one goal victory.

Wilson finished the match with 38 goals from 40 attempts while Hume redeemed herself thanks to some impressive fourth quarter shooting to walk away with 19 goals at 76 per cent. Crampton was electric amassing 26 goals assists as the defensive pairing of Temu and Harrison was once again on fire as they combined for seven gains with the former collecting four intercepts. Bird was unstoppable with her 45 goals at 92 per cent as Selby-Rickit dictated the flow out the front with her 13 goal assists and 10 goals. Nathan was influential with her 24 goal assists as Burger had her best game to date thanks to her seven gains and three intercepts.

2021 ANZ Premiership preview: Round 7

THE Northern Stars’ winning streak has ended while Mainland Tactix have found their winning formula with three consecutive wins. ANZ Premiership Round 7 is set to bring some exciting matchups as Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic hunt for their second victory of the season.

Northern Mystics vs. Southern Steel

The contest between the Northern Mystics and Southern Steel is set to be a thriller as both sides boast a prolific goal shooter. The Mystics currently hold onto second spot on the ladder while the Steel have slipped down the ladder and will be eager to work their way back into the mid-table logjam.

With Grace Nweke up one end for the Mystics and George Fisher up the other end for the Steel it will ultimately come down to the output from the goal attacks. The Mystics have a plethora of options such as Bailey Mes, Filda Vui and Saviour Tui. Mes has struggled to find her form as of late while Vui proved to add that element of energy and dynamism in attack and could be an option once again in this clash. For the Steel, Tiana Metuarau has been a handy pickup with the youngster starring thanks to her change of direction, classy feeds into the circle and spatial awareness. Nweke is a pillar of strength at the post while Fisher is incredibly versatile in the sense she is willing to venture further out than directly under the ring. The midcourt battle between Tayla Earle and Peta Toeava and the developing Kate Heffernan and Renee Savai’inaea will be intriguing with Toeava the real mastermind in the Mystics attack end.

Looking at the defensive units and both sides boast plenty of star power. The combination between Sulu Fitzpatrick and Kate Burley is steadily developing as the two look to take advantage of their ball-hunting ability while Ama Agbeze is a handy option off the bench given her class, experience and skillset. The Southern Steel have a mix of youth and experience in their defensive circle in Te Huinga Selby-Rickit and Taneisha Fifita. However one area they will be hoping to address is the number of penalties they rack up week on week as both Fifita and Selby-Rickit have been given warnings in their past two outings with Fifita sent off in Round 5. They will need to be on their A-game if they are to upset the Mystics shooters and most importantly win ball back cleanly to provide the Steel with a chance to capitalise.

Central Pulse vs. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

The Pulse will be riding high after knocking off the undefeated Northern Stars last round while the Magic will be eager to get back on the winners list after a couple of close shaves. It has been a trying season for both sides who have shown glimpses of what they are capable of but have been unable to unlock that full four quarter performance to consistently win games.

Aliyah Dunn was in scintillating form last round with her strong holds, volume and accuracy. She will be hoping to continue that form in this game as will partner in crime Te Amo Amaru-Tibble. The goal attack is a real barometer for the front end with her timing, strong drives along the baseline and playmaking skills able to allow Dunn to come into the game and alleviate pressure from the midcourters in Claire Kersten and Whitney Souness. The Magic have a multitude of defensive options with Temalisi Fakahokotau, Erena Mikaere and Georgia Tong all aerial specialists and able to build a wealth of pressure on the Pulse shooting duo. if they are able to get into their heads early and cut off the shooter to shooter interplay it will go a long way in them collecting their second win of the season.

The influence of Grace Kara is instrumental in the Magic attack with the wing attack oozing confidence, class and execution to deliver the ball on a silver platter to Caitlin Bassett. That was evident last week and the Magic will be hoping she brings that high level output this round to bypass speedster Maddy Gordon. The wing defence was in just about everything last round and will be eager to once again impose herself and slow down the entry into the circle. Bassett, Khiarna Williams and Chiara Semple are building a strong connection with Williams growing in confidence every time she steps out on court but potentially up against the long arms of Kelly Jury could have to diversify her game while Kelera Nawai seems to have found her groove for the Pulse.

Northern Stars vs. Mainland Tactix

The final game of the round sees a highly anticipated matchup as the Stars look to bounce back from last week’s loss while the Tactix will be keen to keep their winning form rolling with a fourth straight victory. Last time these two sides met it was the Stars that had the last laugh and exposed the Tactix in all areas of the court, something the Tactix will be hoping to rectify this time round.

Maia Wilson is the lynchpin in the goal circle for the Stars with the goal shooter a clear and commanding target. Her fancy footwork, body positioning and strong holds put her in good stead to take on the defence but she will have to up the ante against the likes of Jane Watson and Karin Burger who know just about every trick of the trade. Burger has really started to settle into the line-up with her closing speed, read of the play and spatial awareness causing all sorts of havoc and if she is able to take her connection with Watson to the next level then it could spell danger signs for the Stars. Goal attack, Jamie Hume has stepped up to the challenge in the absence of Monica Falkner while Amorangi Malesala proved she can be a real impact player thanks to her long bombs and composure. The real difference will come down to whether or not Gina Crampton can get free reign around circle edge to thread the needle into Wilson or if Charlotte Elley will be able to contain her.

Up the other end of the court Ellie Bird has come to life ever since Te Paea Selby-Rickit made her way back from injury. The towering goal shooter has found her rhythm and confidence to demand the ball and most importantly score at a high accuracy and quickly. Meanwhile, Selby-Rickit has alleviated the pressure from Bird under the post and her midcourters in Kimiora Poi and Samon Nathan credit to her playmaking skills. Expect the Stars defenders in Anna Harrison, Elle Temu and Oceane Maihi to look to shut down the drive of Selby-Rickit and wear her like a glove to force the Tactix midcourt to up the ante and shoulder the attacking load.

2021 ANZ Premiership preview: Round 6

NORTHERN Stars will be looking to make it six wins straight heading into Round 6 of the 2021 ANZ Premiership season while the Mainland Tactix will be hoping to increase their winning streak.

Northern Stars vs. Central Pulse

Coming in hot the Northern Stars will be looking to inflict more pain on Central Pulse with a win here. It has been a disappointing start to the season for the reigning premiers who have only managed one win from five appearances and will have their work cut out for them against a roaring Stars unit which is yet to drop a game. Both sides boast dominant goal shooters meaning it will really come down to which midcourt can deliver.

Speaking of dominant goal shooters it is hard to go past Stars captain, Maia Wilson who has been rock solid inside the ring. Wilson has added more strings to her bow throughout her 2021 campaign with her movement and long range shooting a focal point. While Wilson has been a lynchpin there is no denying that Jamie Hume has elevated her game further, doubling not only as a playmaker but a damaging shooting option. It will be interesting to see how the Pulse match up and whether or not Kelly Jury gets the start in at goal keeper to immediately shut down Wilson or if they will opt with their more favoured option of Kelera Nawai in keeper and Jury in goal defence.

The midcourt battle will be one to watch with speedster Maddy Gordon up against seasoned campaigner Gina Crampton. Although Gordon will have Crampton for speed, the Stars wing attack boasts wisdom and a damaging connection with Wilson – one the Pulse will need to shut down. Throw in the form of Mila Reuelu-Buchanan and the Pulse will have to be on their A-game through transition. With Aliyah Dunn securing the goal shooter position and Te Amo Amaru-Tibble in goal attack, the Pulse have scoring options that have proven to be damaging when they can get going but will be up against it given the calibre of players down back. The return of Anna Harrison from retirement has been monumental, while Elle Temu knows the game of the Pulse inside out after defecting this season, not to mention the aerial presence of Oceane Maihi – meaning the Stars are rolling in defensive talent to combat whatever the Pulse throw at them. The Stars will go into this game favourites and deservedly so given their current form and the Pulse’s poor start.

Southern Steel vs. Mainland Tactix

After a slow start to the season the Tactix have found their groove, winning their past two encounters. That is mainly due to the return of Te Paea Selby-Rickit. The goal attack has made a world of difference both through the midcourt and in attack providing her side with nothing but confidence. Having gone down to the Steel by a goal in her return game this match-up will be an enthralling one as the Tactix will be hoping to overturn the result. On the other hand the Steel are coming off a strong win and will be riding a wave of confidence.

Having already touched on Selby-Rickit it is only fair to bring up partner in crime, Ellie Bird. The towering goal shooter looks at ease with Selby-Rickit and benefits off her pinpoint precision passes and ability to draw the attention of the defender. Bird is prolific to post meaning Taneisha Fifita and Te Huinga Selby-Rickit will need to shut her down, although Fifita will need to adjust her attack on the ball if the Steel are to secure a win after getting sent off for the final two minutes of last week’s game.

The Steel are not without a power shooter of their own in George Fisher. The England international has been a revelation since crossing over to the ANZ Premiership, with her fancy footwork, range and versatility a couple of key attributes. Her combination with Tiana Metuarau has developed at a rate of knots while Shannon Saunders and Kate Heffernan have become a power duo through the centre with their silky movement and spatial awareness. But the Tactix have game winners of their own especially in the defence end to combat Fisher with Jane Watson and Karin Burger steadily building. Yet to fully hit their stride, the defensive duo will be eager to pick up a wealth of ball and cause chaos down back with support from the likes of Charlotte Elley and Kimiora Poi.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic vs. Northern Mystics

The final game of the round sees the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic host the Northern Mystics in what is sure to be an exciting battle. The Magic have been a step off the pace while the Mystics will be ruing missed opportunities coming off a one-goal loss in overtime. After securing their first win way back in Round 1 the Magic have shown glimpses of brilliance but are yet to unlock that full four quarter effort. As for the Mystics they have depth aplenty and will be keen to get back on the winners list.

Caitlin Bassett played less than a half of netball in Round 5 and will be keen to make amends for her poor showing, putting up an accurate performance but struggling to find the volume. But the Magic will take great confidence in knowing that Khiarna Williams and Chiara Semple are both more than capable of holding their own in the circle, despite really thriving with Bassett under the post. The Mystics have a number of seasoned campaigners in Sulu Fitzpatrick and Ama Agbeze amongst the mix but would be remiss not to talk about Kate Burley who has not skipped a beat since crossing over, with the goal defence a real workhorse for the Mystics and providing strong drives through the centre.

With Bassett down one end, the Mystics boast Grace Nweke down the other end. The teenage shooting prodigy gets better and better every time she steps out on court with her strength in the air and body positioning pivotal to the Mystics’ success. Bailey Mes will be out to redeem herself after a poor showing last week, but in saying that the Mystics have options aplenty inside the circle with Filda Vui and Saviour Tui viable options to accompany Nweke. The real gamechanger however is Peta Toeava. The wing attack controls the proceedings in attack for the Mystics, receiving just about every second pass and most importantly could thread the needle into Nweke with her eyes closed. The Magic defenders in Erena Mikaere, Temalisi Fakahokotau and Georgia Tong will need to be on their A-game to shut this down. They will also need the likes of Sam Winders and Georgie Edgecombe to shut down the midcourt if they are any chance to topple the Mystics.