Tag: karin burger

ANZ/SSN Stats wrap: Round 9/2,3

LAST week’s stats wrap looked a bit different with both the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) and ANZ Premiership taking the court, and this week is no different with the SSN having an extra round of competition to add to the wrap. The two competitions saw some huge results over the combined 13 games across the last seven days – with at least one game played every night from Friday through Wednesday – and plenty of top talent stepping up to the plate. Like last week, it is important to take into consideration that the two leagues currently have different rules and matchplay times, with differing stats evident. 


Jhaniele Fowler continues to lead the goaling tally three rounds down and is likely to stay there thanks to her prolific volume and accuracy, combining for 111 goals at 90 per cent across Rounds 2 and 3. Next in line is Cara Koenen with the youngster backing up well between matches shooting 38 goals on the weekend and 30 to finish Round 3, while Caitlin Bassett racked up 47 goals in her 200th national appearance on Tuesday evening. Shimona Nelson took the court for the first time in Round 2, shooting 32 goals before going one better and backing up with 42 more to her tally on Tuesday night. Bassett’s partner in crime Jo Harten continues to have a huge influence on the scoreboard – especially when it comes to the super shot – shooting 20 goals in her first outing and 22 in her second, with 12 super shots converted across the two matches. Meanwhile, Lenize Potgieter sits fourth on the goal tally after three rounds, with 96 to her name from 101 attempts, shooting 43 from 45 in Round 2 but rested in her second match this week with 18 from 19. When it comes to the Vixens and Swifts, their respective rotating shooting trios do not lend to a leading stats performance, but given the two teams sit first and second on the ladder they must be doing something right. 

In the ANZ Premiership, Kalifa McCollin starred once more with a huge 32 goal haul in Southern Steel’s surprise victory over Northern Mystics, backed up with a 19 goal effort in her side’s loss the following day. Ameliaranne Ekenasio was also prolific in her single outing for the round with 19 goals at 95 per cent, while Abigail Latu-Meafou put up 15 from 17 in the Magic’s one goal loss to the Northern Stars. Looking to goal shooters, Maia Wilson was huge under the post as per usual with 37 goals at 90 per cent while her direct opposition in Kelsey McPhee was solid with 27 goals to go with Latu-Meafou’s haul. Of the players that took the court for multiple games, Grace Nweke (combined 78 goals), Ellie Bird (62 goals) and Aliyah Dunn (50 goals) led the tally.


A huge few rounds of SSN sees a couple of quality names lead the midcourt tally once more, with consistency coming in droves off the likes of Vixens co-captains Liz Watson and Kate Moloney, though it seemed to be goalers who racked up the assists this round with so many prolific wing defenders plying their trade. Watson and Moloney combined for 33 assists in the first outing and 40 in the second. Some impressive goaler-turned-feeders put on a show with their vision into the circle to spot their partner in crime, with Georgie Horjus, Kiera Austin and Alice Teague-Neeld stepping up across their respective performances. Austin led the assists tally for the week with 30 in her second match but just 10 in her first, coming away with a shooting accuracy of under 50 per cent against the Thunderbirds and only playing through the midcourt in her match against the Fever. Horjus managed 27 assists and 19 goals from 25 attempts across her two games, while Teague-Neeld may have only played 39 minutes in her second game she racked up 22 assists, but hit the scoreboard much better in her first with 11 goals and 20 assists. Mahalia Cassidy was a workhorse in both of her outings, combining for 35 goal assists and three pickups, while Amy Parmenter continued her strong start to the season, making up for a slower Round 2 with a huge seven gains (four intercepts) in her Round 3 outing. 

Peta Toeava and Gina Crampton are the repeat offenders over the past rounds through the midcourt, accounting for 45 and 37 assists respectively across their two games – both racking up 26 in their first match and nullifying each other – while Whitney Souness (19 assists, 33 centre pass receives, two intercepts) and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (20 assists, four pickups) both put in solid efforts in their single match against the other. Karin Burger had a solid match with four intercepts in the Pulse’s losing effort, while both Kimiora Poi and Charlotte Elley were also impressive on the defensive front with two intercepts apiece against the Pulse. Claire Kersten also collected two intercepts in her first outing, while Kate Heffernan was influential in the Steel’s finals crushing victory over the Mystics, racking up four intercepts.


Sarah Klau and Shamera Sterling lead the deflections tally three matches down, with the two even on 22 apiece though their teams mirror each other in second and seventh on the ladder. Sterling’s combined 18 gains saw her rocket up the leaderboard this round, while Klau’s partner in crime Lauren Moore has continued to stun with another six intercepts to her name across Rounds 2 and 3. Kim Jenner had an absolute blinder against the Magpies in Round 3, racking up seven gains (five intercepts) though was quiet in her first outing, while her partner in crime Tara Hinchliffe combined for five gains across the two rounds. With two more wins under their belt this round, Vixens defenders Jo Weston and Emily Mannix were consistent as ever with three gains apiece (one and two intercepts) in the first match while Mannix turned on the afterburners in the second game with eight gains (three intercepts), with both players having breaks off the court. Young defensive duo Olivia Lewis and Sunday Aryang proved they were more than capable of holding up defensively, combining for 15 gains across the two matches, mostly down to Lewis’ rebounding ability but also Aryang’s three intercepts against the GIANTS. The Magpies have continued to rack up the highest amount of penalties across the round with a combined 138 across two matches, with Geva Mentor (41 penalties from two games) leading the charge.

Defensively, there is no surprise that Temalisi Fakahokotau was impressive as ever with her work rate continuously paying off for a combined seven gains across the round (two intercepts) while her partner in crime Jane Watson had a quiet second outing but was influential as ever in the side’s win over the Mystics. Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick combined for 11 gains (five intercepts) across the round, with both Courtney Elliott (two gains, one intercept) and Dani Gray (three gains, one intercept) contributing to the tally. Erena Mikaere pulled off six gains in her standalone game as did Kate Burley (three of which were intercepts), while Kelly Jury racked up four intercepts in her second match but was quiet in her first – the complete opposite of her partner in crime Katrina Rore, who collected four gains in the first but just two in the second. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit had another solid week on the court, combining for four gains (two intercepts) across her two matches.

2020 ANZ Premiership: Round 9 – Player of the Week

EACH week Draft Central will analyse player performances from across the round in the ANZ Premiership and determine a “Player of the Week” based on game day performances. A player can be nominated as many times as deemed necessary given their individual performance across the round.

Central Pulse wing defence Karin Burger proved just what she is capable of in Round 9 picking up a wealth of ball and imposing herself across the court to earn herself Player of the Week honours. Although her side only managed to win one of their two games her performance and output did not waiver in either match as the wing defence went tooth and nail to put up a wall in defence. Her three-foot marking was sublime, making full use of her wingspan to block her oppositions vision into the circle and make life hard in the defensive third.

Burger was on song from the opening whistle against the Southern Steel going toe-to-toe with fellow Silver Ferns midcourter Gina Crampton to all but nullify her influence around circle edge thanks to her close marking and constant niggle. Her ability to cut off her drive and apply hands over pressure sent the Steel attack end into a tizz, unable to work the ball down the court. Burger was rewarded for her efforts throughout the match racking up four gains and two pick-ups credit to her read of the play. While her defensive pressure was immense her work through the centre third to bring the ball down the court did not go unnoticed with the wing defence backing up on the transverse line and using her drive to cut through the defence.

Although the Pulse struggled to have their usual impact in their clash against the Mainland Tactix, Burger did not skip a beat. She injected plenty of spark in the side with her speed off the mark to constantly get hands to ball to disrupt the flow in attack. she was constantly on the lookout for any cross court balls while her quick footwork and long arms caused havoc around circle edge with Burger forcing tips and turnovers. Opposed to speedster Erikana Pedersen and picking up Kimiora Poi in defence, Burger worked in overdrive to limit their space and access to the top of the goal circle and once again collected a wealth of ball with four intercepts and two pick-ups.

Her strong connection with Katrina Rore and Kelly Jury paid dividends with the wing defence able to feed off their energy and positioning to apply a full court press and smother the opposition. Their collective pressure enabled Burger to go out hunting and leave her player unmarked in hope to roam freely and get intercepts. On the taller side for a wing defence, Burger makes the most of her height with her reach over the pass and deceptively quick footwork to shut down space and run her opponent ragged.

2020 ANZ Premiership – Team of the Week: Round 9

AFTER not registering a single player last week the Pulse were back amongst the mix having two players featuring in the Draft Central ANZ Premiership Team of the Week. In fact it was an even spread across the board as the Southern Steel, Northern Stars, Mainland Tactix and Northern Mystics also registering two players apiece.

GS: Ellie Bird
GA: Kalifa McCollin
WA: Peta Toeava
C: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Kate Burley
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau

BENCH: Grace Nweke, Kate Heffernan , Kelly Jury

The influence of Kalifa McCollin was pivotal for the Steel across the round with the goaler hitting the scoreboard easily. Her timing was second to none able to pop out on the baseline or dance around her opponent to claim front position. McCollin only missed seven goals across her two matches sitting at 88 per cent accuracy highlighting her accuracy to post. Joining her in the goal circle is Ellie Bird after the towering goal shooter once again dominated at the post with her commanding holds, body positioning and cool, calm temperament. Bird made the most of her chances in both outings only missing nine goals while registering 62 goals to highlight her prowess in the goal circle.

Although her side did not win either match, there is no denying that wing attack Peta Toeava had the ball on a string thanks to her her lightning quick hands and fancy footwork around circle edge doing a wealth of damage. Her vision into the circle was impressive able to dish off passes within an inch of a second to rack up 45 goal assists over the two games. Stars centre, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan makes it two weeks in a row thanks to her impressive effort in Round 9 to hit circle edge and penetrate through the defence. She did the heavy lifting in attack for her side weaving her way through the mess and delivering into her shooters as her timing and clever touch kept the defenders guessing. The final position in the midcourt goes to returnee Karin Burger with the wing defence putting on a show in her first outing using her long arms to full advantage to pick up four gains. Burger backed up her performance in her next game going toe-to-toe with her opponent and shutting down any easy avenue to circle edge; her three-foot marking and speed off the mark to amass another

Newcomer to Team of the Week goal defence Kate Burley impressed for the Stars in her sole outing, applying a wealth of pressure through the defensive third. Renowned for her aerial presence, Burley once again delivered making full use of her leap to get hands to ball and disrupt the oppositions attack. Burley pounced on anything that came her way but most importantly left nothing to chance in the final term when the game was on the line racking up two gains to clinch victory. It is no surprise to see Temalisi Fakahokotau join the ranks with the Mainland Tactix goal keeper a real general down back credit to her tenacity and ball winning ways on constant display. Her constant voice on court to direct traffic and terrific leap enabled her to regain possession for her side multiple times across the round collecting two intercepts and five gains.

Despite losing both games Grace Nweke was influential as ever under the post for the Mystics, earning herself a spot on the bench given her proficiency to nail a staggering 78 goals in two games. Steel wing defence Kate Heffernan impressed against the Mystics with her hands over pressure and constant niggle to notch up four intercepts and a gain. The final place on the bench goes to Kelly Jury after the Central Pulse goal keeper continued getting hands to ball and posing a real threat especially when it came to the high balls registering four gains and four intercepts.

Tactix secure ANZ Premiership Grand Final spot by defeating depleted Pulse

THE Mainland Tactix have defied the odds to earn themselves a spot in the ANZ Premiership Grand Final for the first time with a week to spare, after defeating Central Pulse – their opponents in the fortnight’s decider. Pulse rested two key starting players in Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Maddy Gordon, due to illness and injury respectively, and this meant the Tactix were able to expose some holes in the usually clinical Pulse attack end. It was a low scoring game for both sides with plenty of intercepts as the defensive ends showed off their athleticism and skill. The Tactix will be pleased to come away with a 39-32 win and put themselves in a good position to take on the Pulse again in two weeks.

Tactix were looking strong from the outset coming off their confidence-boosting win against the Mystics. They have been consistently producing top-quality performances in recent rounds and seem to have peaked at the perfect time this season. The vision of Kimiora Poi and Erikana Pedersen into the Tactix shooters was exceptional and they were also providing defensive backup when the ball was turned over. Long feeds and looking in early to Ellie Bird was preventing the Pulse defenders from setting up their structures and caught Katrina Rore and Kelly Jury off guard. The Pulse defence warmed into the game after the opening few minutes, with their tight marking forcing the Tactix to recycle the ball to the transverse line on many occasions. 

The Pulse were struggling to perform with their usual composure and uncharacteristically failed to convert most of their hard-earned turnovers. The Tactix raced out to an early 9-5 lead, however Pulse dug their heels in and started to build their connections. Tiana Metuarau was doing a good job at providing a link in the attack end, but slightly lacks the experience of Ekenasio, something which stands out against the likes of Silver Fern, Jane Watson. Temalisi Fakahokotau was putting Aliyah Dunn under immense defensive pressure and the Tactix managed to keep Pulse to a score of just seven by the first break. 

In the second quarter, the Tactix continued their good form defensively and were able to disrupt the Pulse, resulting in some missed shots from Dunn and Metuarau. Claire Kersten was doing a solid job in wing attack, with the youngster Renee Savai’inaea relishing her first start and a full game in centre. Both teams were turning the ball over more often than usual, and through some excellent aerial anticipation from Jury, the Pulse started to claw their way back into the game. They went on a four-goal run and started to put the Tactix under pressure. The game was lacking some of the finesse we expect to see from these top teams, but the Tactix managed to maintain their grip on the match and went into half time leading by 23 goals to 16. 

After half-time the Pulse came out of the blocks with renewed energy, spurred on by the handiwork of Karin Burger. Burger had racked up three deflections and one intercept and was proving to be a thorn in the side of Pedersen. The Tactix held their ground and the two sides battled for control in the quarter. The Southern side extended their lead to nine goals, but the Pulse fought back by finding their rhythm in attack, notching up three in a row to finish the quarter trailing by just five goals. 

Tactix came onto court for the fourth quarter with a glimpse of the final in their sights. Pulse were putting up a good fight but Tactix had momentum in their favour. Despite both sides showing small signs of fatigue they kept persevering and putting their bodies on the line. Charlotte Elley, in particular, was a workhorse, setting up defensive opportunities until the final whistle. With five minutes to go, the Tactix were up by five and the Pulse ran out of time to catch up. This was a laboured game in the final term for the Tactix, and there was a sense of relief when the final whistle blew. Despite a good effort from the Pulse, their shooting percentage was just 78 per cent, not up to their usual standard, and this ultimately cost them the game. Though the Tactix came away with the win in this Grand Final preview, Pulse were without two of their typical starting lineup will no doubt be ready to fight for the trophy in two weeks time.




Mainland Tactix 13 | 10 | 7 | 9 (39)
Central Pulse 7 | 9 | 9 | 7 (32)



GS: Ellie Bird
GA: Te Paea Selby-Rickit
WA: Erikana Pedersen
C: Kimiora Poi
WD: Charlotte Elley
GD: Jane Watson
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau


GS: Aliyah Dunn
GA: Tiana Metuarau
WA: Claire Kersten
C: Renee Savai’inaea
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Katrina Rore
GK: Kelly Jury

ANZ Premiership – Round 9: Pulse claim emphatic win over Steel

COMING off their first loss in the ANZ Premiership last round, Central Pulse were determined to get back in the winning books against the Southern Steel, running out 15-goal victors (34-49). It was a clinical performance by the Pulse who led at every single break and steadily increase their margin by shutting down the Steel’s options in attack and forcing them wide. The Steel struggled to generate any type of easy ball movement through their attacking and centre third forcing them to work in overdrive.

Pulse got off to a flyer nailing the first goal of the quarter and capitalising on the missed shot from the Steel to assert their dominance straight away and create an early buffer. It was clear the Pulse were out for redemption with their second phase play incredibly strong thanks to the speed and timing of wing attack Maddy Gordon. The nippy mid quarter seemed to have the ball on a string in the opening minutes of the quarter using her quick release and vision into the circle to create a wealth of opportunities for the Pulse under the post. Her partnership with fellow centre Claire Kersten was also strong with the two creating consistent movement through the attacking third to keep the Steel defenders guessing.

It was a strong and physical start to the contest by Steel goal keeper Taneisha Fifita with the youngster leaving no stone unturned to make the Pulse shooters work for every single pass. While she hunted each and every ball that came her way Fifita drew a lot of attention from the umpires ultimately giving Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio easy passage to goal something they well and truly capitalised on. The physicality seemed to be contagious with Kersten spending a fair bit of time on the floorboards thanks to some heavy hits from the Steel defensive unit but that did not seem to disrupt the Pulse who opened up a handy buffer heading into the break.

Down by nine goals the Southern Steel looked to the bench with Kendall Corkery entering the game to replace Kate Heffernan who struggled to quell the influence of Gordon around the circle edge. The influence of Ellen Halpenny was evident throughout the second term with the goal shooter picking up where she left off in the first to open their account and get the team rolling. The Steel were rewarded with an early held ball call against the Pulse thanks to their increased pressure but the Pulse proved anything you can do I can do better with Karin Burger forcing a turnover of her own thanks to her long arms and reach. The physicality continued throughout the term with bodies flying across the court while the scrappiness started to come into play for the Pulse throwing ball away and not capitalising on their chances.

The Pulse quickly regained their composure with their silky ball movement down the court and use of width on the pass to catch the catch the Steel off guard and bypass the mess. The hands over pressure from the Pulse was immense blocking the vision of the Steel with Gina Crampton falling to have her usual impact around circle edge thanks to Burger. Up the other end Gordon continued to wow with her dynamic footwork and speed off the mark to pounce on any loose ball that came her way. Steel started to settle and win ball back stringing together three goals in a row to cut the deficit from 10 goals to seven but Burger refused to give in proving to be a real menace around the circle edge picking up a clever intercept.  The home team managed to stop the bleeding and reclaim some momentum to steady across the court but the defensive pressure from Kelly Jury and Katrina Rore was simply undeniable gobbling up every rebound and applying hands over pressure on the shot to force missed chances. Pulse put their foot down in the final two minutes of the quarter to push the lead out and gain full control.

Unable to replicate their performance from the night before the Steel brought on Abby Erwood in goal defence forcing Te Huinga Selby-Rickit back into goal keeper. Although Halpenny got to work straight away with an early goal it was the shooter to shooter interplay from the Pulse that caused the Steel headaches with the two finding a wealth of space to dish off pin point passes. Steel gave away a wealth of penalties  in the defensive third and subsequently gifted the Pulse easy avenue to goal on multiple occasions.

Halpenny continued to be the key target under the post showcasing her experience and leadership while Kalifa McCollin floated in and out of the match thanks to the close marking from Rore. Looking for a spark Selby-Rickit delivered with a clever intercept to send the ball streaming back down court and was rewarded for her efforts as the Steel rallied. But the constant movement from the Pulse attack did not allow the Steel to set-up. after a stunning half of netball Gordon went to the bench as Tiana Metuarau entered the game in wing attack and did not skip a beat as her side put the foot down. Dunn seemed to have the ball on a string and steadily growing with confidence throughout the quarter and backing herself from range as the Pulse extended the lead to a whopping 15 goals.

With 12 minutes to play, the Pulse continued their merry way making full use of their strong connections across the court to move the ball with ease. The trust in the Pulse line-up was evident with Elle Temu stepping up to the plate and delivering with her pressure over the shot and three foot marking while Gordon re-entered the game in at centre. However that was short lived with Gordon forced from the court with an ankle injury allowing Renee Savai’inaea to enter the game but that did not seem to stop the steam train that was the Pulse.

Halpenny was solid  for the Steel with the goal shooter taking everything in her stride and piling on the pressure with 13 goals from 18 attempts. McCollin also continued to impress with her dynamic movement and accuracy to post with 19 goals at 86 per cent. For the Pulse, Dunn returned to her usual prolific and accurate ways nailing 30 goals from 32 attempts, while Ekenasio also recovered from a poor showing last round with 19 goals at 95 per cent and 11 goal assists credit to her impressive vision. The defensive prowess of Jury and Rore was on show throughout the game collecting a combined six gains.




Southern Steel 7 | 9 | 7 | 11 (34)
Central Pulse 16 | 10 | 12 | 11 (49)


 Southern Steel:

GS: Ellen Halpenny
GA: Kalifa McCollin
WA: Gina Crampton
C: Shannon Saunders
WD: Kate Heffernan
GD: Te Huinga Selby-Rickit
GK: Taneisha Fifita

Central Pulse:

GS: Aliyah Dunn
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
WA: Maddy Gordon
C: Claire Kersten
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Katrina Rore
GK: Kelly Jury


ANZ Premiership – Head to head: Round 9

IN each round of the ANZ Premiership we will identify one key match-up, provide an in-depth analysis of both players and compare the two styles. This week sees a couple of tall timbers match up under the post making for an enthralling battle.

Kelly Jury (GK) v. Ellie Bird (GS)

The contest between Mainland Tactix goal shooter Ellie Bird and Central Pulse goal keeper Kelly Jury will be exciting to say the least given what is at stake for both sides. In past outings it has been a tight tussle between the two under the post with Bird the main avenue to post for the Tactix thanks to her height and prolific nature while Jury has proven to be one of the best off-season pickups given her seamless transition into the Pulse line-up.

Bird has been in scintillating form as of late thanks to her increased accuracy and volume to post. Sometimes shaky on the shot, Bird has rapidly improved throughout the season and subsequently grown with confidence allowing her Tactix teammates to deliver the ball with precision into her. Standing at 196cm Bird is a commanding prospect under the post and is not afraid of the physicality in the goal circle, often taking it in her stride. The goal shooter plays a traditional holding style of game relying on her height and long arms to reel in ball while her balance is relatively impressive given her height. In recent weeks Bird has added an extra element to her game day performance popping out of the circle to provide that release or outlet pass for the Tactix when the pressure is mounting. In their first season together the connection between Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit has been damaging when on song with the two able to rotate through the space seamlessly and Selby-Rickit taking the heat off Bird. The speed through the midcourt of Kimiora Poi and Erikana Pedersen has paid dividends for Bird with the goal shooter relishing the quick release and enabling her to claim front position to score quickly and easily while the defence is still setting up.

There is no denying that Jury has been in ripping form with her increased pressure and hunt for the ball on constant display. Her long arms enables her to gobble up any loose ball that comes her way while her constant movement and clever footwork to manoeuvre around the body of her opponent gives her a wealth of opportunities to create turnovers. Although she might not win each and every ball that comes her way it is her second efforts and never say die attitude that sparks the Pulse defence to keep fighting. The 24-year-old is an exciting prospect that has really come into her own this season with her increased endurance and strong connections with Katrina Rore and Karin Burger. The strength of Rore and Burger allows Jury to roam freely in the defensive third and go out searching for that big intercept. But it is the balance between knowing when to attack and when to sit on her shooter that makes her a damaging player while she also takes full advantage of her height to be a real menace in the air.

There is a lot on the line for both teams with the Tactix hoping to gain an upper hand and second spot on the ladder while the Pulse are eager to get back to their winning ways. Matched for height in the circle it will come down to ball delivery for the Tactix and whether or not Bird can dictate the space with her strong holds to ward off the menacing Jury. For the Pulse it will be up to a combined effort from Jury and Rore if they are to shut down the Tactix shooting sensation and notch up another win.

2020 ANZ Premiership- Preview: Round 9

TWO weeks out from ANZ Premiership finals, it is do or die for the Northern Mystics and Mainland Tactix who are battling for second spot on the ladder while the Central Pulse have first spot all but sewn up. Conversely, up the other end of the ladder the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and Southern Steel are keen to avoid the wooden spoon and progress up the rankings with a strong finish to the season.

Southern Steel v. Northern Mystics
Friday, 7 August

The round starts with a clash between fifth and third on the ladder with the Steel hosting the Mystics. The Steel will take plenty of confidence out of their last outing downing the Mystics by six goals in Round 7 and while they cannot make finals will be eager to influence how the rest of the season pans out.

The injuries for the Steel have come hard and fast especially in the goal circle but with a couple of games under their belts the connection between Ellen Halpenny and Kalifa McCollin is starting to blossom. Halpenny provides that calming element to the goal circle with her precise movements and impeccable timing to pop out right on cue while McCollin has plenty of flair and dynamism to keep the Mystics defenders busy. The two share the shooting load between them meaning the Mystics will have to focus their energy on both goalers if they are to shut down any easy avenue to post. Sulu Fitzpatrick is a seasoned campaigner able to hold her own in the goal circle and win back ball with her long arms and quick feet to get around the body of her opponent. Partner in crime Phoenix Karaka is just as damaging down back able to shut down her opponent with her smothering pressure and three-foot marking. Although the combination with McCollin and Halpenny is developing, Karaka and Fitzpatrick have proven to be a formidable force meaning the Steel will have to be on their a-game.

Wing defence Kate Heffernan has been in ripping form lately with the young midcourter taking everything in her stride and working hard to own that defensive position. She is a constant threat around circle edge with her long arms but will take on speedster Peta Toeava who not only oozes pace but is renowned for her quick release into the circle. The Steel have options if Heffernan is unable to shut down powerhouse wing attack with Kendall Corkery a more physical and niggly style of player, able to get under the skin of Toeava and reduce her efficiency in attack.

With second spot still up for grabs expect the Mystics to throw everything they have at the Steel and exploit their new connections across the court.


Southern Steel v. Central Pulse
Saturday, 8 August

Dropping their first game for this season last round expect the Central Pulse to come out with a real fire in the belly and get the job done early against the Southern Steel. Renowned for their full court pressure and ability to treasure ball the Pulse will be keen to rectify last week’s shortcomings but the Steel will take in a sense of belief after pushing the reigning premiers to their limits in their last meeting.

The midcourt battle will be ferocious with a couple of Silver Ferns lining up against each other. After somewhat of a quiet performance last week Karin Burger will be hoping to assert herself against the Steel and shut down Gina Crampton‘s drive to the top of the circle. Burger is recognised for her three foot marking and long arms to block vision into the goal circle, something that she will be hoping to bring against the Steel in order to limit the influence of Crampton in attack. Partner in crime Shannon Saunders is a real workhorse through the midcourt for the Steel able to have an influence both in an attack in attack and in defence. She will have the job on Pulse centre Claire Kersten making for an intriguing battle between the two given their similarities in game style. Kersten is the key for the Pulse through the midcourt able to provide that consistency and link between attack and defence.

Down on their usual accuracy last week the Central Pulse will be hoping that Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Aliyah Dunn deliver to post. Ekenasio is a real player maker through the attacking third with her impeccable timing and clever touch to deliver ball on a silver platter to Dunn. They have one of the strongest connections in the competition with the two able to light up the court with their flair and clever ability to create space time and time again. Dunn is a strong holding shooter that is able to post up and command the ball no matter the defensive pressure. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit is the most experienced defender in the Steel defensive unit and will have to lead by example if they are to win ball back. Goal keeper Taneisha Fifita has struggled in the past couple of weeks drawing a lot of attention from the umpires, something she will have to address this game if she is to mount pressure on the Pulse and not give them free attempts at goal. The introduction of Abby Erwood could provide that extra element of composure in defence.

Coming off a loss expect the Pulse to bounce back and showcase why they are the reigning premiers with a strong performance across all four quarters against the Steel.

Northern Mystics v. Mainland Tactix
Sunday, 9 August

In their second game of the round the Mystics will want to leave nothing to chance against the second placed Tactix in hope to progress up the ladder and get one step closer to securing a finals berth. In arguably the game of the round both teams will be hoping to prove their worth and showcase why they deserve a spot in the finals. These two teams have a decorated history and are evenly poised heading into the match.

It will all come down to the battle in the goal circle with teenage shooting prodigy Grace Nweke the key to Mystics success given her impressive holds, high volume and accuracy the post. Nweke is a commanding figure under the post and can change the course of a game in an instant given the speed with which she can score and her strength in the air to reel in errant passes time and time again. However their weakness lies within the goal attack position with the likes of Saviour Tui and Filda Vui exciting young prospects but unable to consistently deliver the output required. Tui and Vui are clever with ball in hand but sometimes lack the confidence to go to post piling a wealth of pressure on Nweke to deliver and steer the ship for the Mystics. On the other hand, the Tactix have one of the best defensive units in the competition with Temalisi Fakahokotau and Jane Watson ball magnets down back. Watson is exceptionally clean in defence, able to pick up ball without getting penalised and making her a constant threat for any team, while her drive through the midcourt provides an added boost to the Tactix transition. Impressive individually, the connection between the two defenders is what really puts them ahead of the pack given Fakahokotau can read the play with ease and dictate Watson’s position according to what is unfolding in front of her. It will be up to Vui and Tui to draw the attention of Watson to isolate Fakahokotau and Nweke under the post.

With speed to burn through the midcourt it will be an exciting battle between Tayla Earle and Tactix centre Kimiora Poi as the two possess very similar attributes in the way they hunt the ball and then seamlessly switch into attack. They will match each other for speed and vision into the circle making for a tight tussle. Toeava is another key cog for the Mystics in attack while for the Tactix Erikana Pedersen has proven to be the link into the goalers with her dynamic footwork, quick hands and confidence on the pass to bypass the defenders and look long.

The last time these two sides met the Tactix clinched the narrowest of victories and will be hoping to build on that momentum to edge further ahead on the ladder.


Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic v. Northern Stars
Sunday, 9 August

In their sole game of the round expect both the Magic and Stars to go toe-to-toe throughout the four quarters. With a renewed sense of confidence and a win under their belt the Magic will be keen to keep the good times rolling and secure their second win in as many days. Plagued by inconsistency this season the Stars will be hoping to rectify their issues and record their fifth win.

There is no denying that Maia Wilson is the lynchpin in attack for the Stars with the goal shooter a commanding target under the post with her strong holds and high scoring nature. Wilson is incredibly accurate shooting at a combined 94 per cent last round, a feat she will be hoping to replicate once again this week to lead her side to victory. Although Wilson is the go to girl the Stars do their most damage when goal attack Jamie Hume goes to post and troubles the scoreboard. If she can draw the attention of Erena Mikaere and Georgia Tong it will alleviate the pressure on Wilson under the post and help split the circle to create more one on ones at the post. While Tong is not the tallest defender in the league she makes up for it with her aerial presence and impressive leap to get hands to ball and disrupt the flow in attack, something the Magic will be relying on throughout the contest.

Khiarna Williams has been a revelation for the Magic in attack proving she can play both goal shooter and goal attack with the 17-year-old taking like a duck to water each time she steps out on court. Her growing connection with Kelsey McPhee under the post and Abigail Latu-Meafou is something to behold as the trio are getting stronger and stronger each week. McPhee is an easy target under the post for the Magic meaning the Stars defensive unit of Storm Purvis, Kate Burley and Daystar Swift will have to put in the hard yards out the front to limit her influence to post. The high ball into the circle is often the go to passage of play for the Magic which plays into the tenacious and ball hungry Stars defence.

With relatively even match ups across the court it will come down to the midcourt battle with captain Sam Winders the barometer for the Magic and Grace Kara the playmaker for the Stars. If Winders can dictate the flow through the middle and win ball back the Magic could register another victory.


Central Pulse v. Mainland Tactix
Monday, 10 August

The final game of the round sees a battle of the top two teams with the Central Pulse hoping to make it three straight wins against the Mainland Tactix. Falling agonisingly short in Round 6 the Tactix will be hoping to go one better and upset the Pulse to prove that they are a real finals contender. Playing in their second game of the round it could come down to the depth on the bench and who can withstand the high intensity battle.

Ellie Bird has really hit her strides in the past couple of weeks with the goal shooter dictating the space and using her height to full advantage to reel in passes and shoot truly. Bird is an exciting prospect when she is on song able to nullify the influence of her defender and use her clever footwork to move around the body of her defender and allow the likes of Te Paea Selby-Rickit to come through and have an influence in the goal circle. Selby-Rickit, while she might not put up a wealth of shots, does a plethora of work out the front to deliver the ball into Bird and create attacking forays. In saying that, the Pulse have their own star power down in defence with Kelly Jury having a breakout season, showcasing her exceptional lean over the shot and read of the play to create constant disruption down back. Her ever developing connection with Katrina Rore causes plenty of headaches for opposition teams with the two able to hunt the ball while Elle Temu is a solid option off the bench, able to come on and have an immediate impact with her hands over pressure.

The Pulse have speed to burn through the centre court with Maddy Gordon a real excitement machine and energiser bunny able to hit the circle edge with great speed and tenacity. Impressive in attack it is Gordon’s work through the centre third and defensive pressure to try and win ball back that makes her such a dominant threat. Able to play both goal and wing attack Tiana Metuarau is another player to keep an eye on for the Pulse with her spatial awareness and pinpoint passes into the circle. It will be up to wing defence Charlotte Elley to really shut down the influence of Gordon and Metuarau to ensure that the Pulse have limited opportunity to go forward and score. In recent weeks the inclusion of Samon Nathan into wing defence has provided a different element for the Tactix down back.

Expect this game to go down to the wire with neither side willing to give an inch and fighting not only for the win but momentum heading into finals.

ANZ Premiership – Round 8: Mystics end Pulse’s 10-match winning streak

FIGHTING for a potential second spot on the ladder the Northern Mystics knew they had to play hard for a win against Central Pulse, and fight they did, in a season-defining match in Round 8 of the ANZ Premiership. The Mystics stood tall for their greatest win of the season so far, defeating Pulse by two goals (44-42) with a phenomenal final quarter effort doing the job after trailing at every change.

With Karin Burger having the upper hand in their last contest everything needed to go Peta Toeava’s way in the first quarter, with the quick feed into Grace Nweke critical if the Mystics were to get a win. Tayla Earle stepped up to take on some of the pressure on the assist, with the centre-wing attack interplay and speed on the feed crucial to ensure Claire Kersten and Burger were not able to set up. But where the Pulse had confidence shutting down the Mystics attack they had a bumpy start in their own offence, with the pressure from Sulu Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka impactful from the get-go. The duo forced uncharacteristic misses at the post from Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio, though the amount of ball turned over by the Mystics was getting the job done and forcing messiness through the midcourt, seeing the Pulse maintain much of the upper hand.

The one on one between Nweke and Kelly Jury saw Nweke have much of the early control, pulling in a couple of tough lobs with Jury’s elevation on the leap giving her a great chance at turning over that ball but to no avail with sticky fingers from Nweke. Pulse’s ability to crowd the play was clear early, bunching up the Mystics to the corners of each third but Fitzpatrick’s phenomenal start ensured the Mystics were always on the case, winning ball back. With the crucial cog still Toeava, ball placement in attack was shaky early as the zippy wing attack gave away a couple easy penalties, allowing Burger to get a hand to a couple of loose balls and seeing the Pulse ahead by two at the first change.

The second quarter started with much the same intensity, with Asher Grapes rotated off for Filda Vui who was quick to have an impact dragging Katrina Rore away from the circle and forcing a one-on-one contest for Nweke. While the Pulse had the speed in attack the Mystics were able to work through a couple messy patches and turn over ball defensively to draw level.

Pulse were able to extend their lead with a couple impressive turnovers and impressive spots into the circle, though Karaka and Fitzpatrick fought back to create errors and inaccuracy within the circle. Ekenasio and Dunn still had control but were a bit shaky, with the Mystics defenders doing a wealth of work to confuse the space and trick the feeders. While ahead by three goals at half time, the Mystics were well and truly in with a chance, having challenged the Pulse and been in the contest for much of the first half.

Tiana Metuarau joined the fray in the third, with the super sub injected to bring some speed and doing just that in attack for the Pulse. The score extended for the Pulse with little movement happening in attack for the Mystics credit to Burger and Kersten keeping the attackers quiet and their hands over pressure paying dividends. With more space in attack and plenty of speed down court the Pulse were able to keep on top of any turnovers, working their way back and causing havoc through the midcourt.

Ekenasio was removed from the court briefly for the blood rule, with the Mystics immediately having an impact and taking advantage of the star player being off the court, though Metuarau was more than capable of holding up out the front too and allowed the Pulse to create a five goal buffer at the final change, leading 35-30.

While the Pulse still had much of the control they could not afford to take the foot off the accelerator in the last quarter, with the Mystics well and truly still in the contest and willing to fight down to the nitty-gritty. With a one-goal margin and under 10 on the clock the Pulse needed to put the foot down, but it was the Mystics that took control, forcing a change and Burger leaving the court, getting plenty of hand to ball but unable to consistently limit the efforts of Toeava.

With Nweke winning the battle inside the goal circle frustration was plain on Jury’s face, while Rore’s cleanliness reduced as the Mystics had nothing to lose and played like it. Clogging up the Pulse centre pass at every chance, the Mystics caused the ball to go across the goal line when aimed for Dunn, then able to transition well with speed down the court to draw even with just over five minutes on the clock. 

Needing to play the safe options down court, the work ethic from the Mystics was second to none with the side in an unprecedented position leading with minutes on the clock and unwilling to hand off a crucial lead after trailing early. With plenty of hustle and cautions flying around the court, a three goal lead was taken by the Mystics who were playing with confidence and building off the Pulse home crowd.

With 30 seconds on the clock the Mystics were still ahead but needed to maintain possession, running away with an excellent and critical two-goal victory, ending the Pulse’s 10 game winning streak in the 44-42 win.

Player of the match Nweke was influential as ever with ball in hand, shooting 38 goals at 86 per cent in a phenomenal outing, while Saviour Tui (four from four) and Vui (two from two) assisted around the circle. Toeava and Earle shared the feeding load with 19 and 17 assists respectively, while Karaka (five gains) and Fitzpatrick (three) both racked up two intercepts and just the 10 penalties apiece. Jury picked up two intercepts while both Rore and Dunn picked up one apiece, with Dunn shooting 21 goals from 23 attempts in a solid performance. Both Kersten and Burger tallied three deflections but none to advantage, while Ekenasio was down on her regular accuracy with 20 from 28 at an uncharacteristic 71 per cent. 

It was both teams’ sole outing for the round, with both taking the court twice next round against the same opposition on alternate days. Mystics are next up on Friday against Southern Steel before taking on Mainland Tactix on Sunday, while Pulse face the Steel on Saturday and Tactix on Monday in a blockbuster penultimate round.




CENTRAL PULSE 10 | 13 | 12 | 7 (42)
NORTHERN MYSTICS 8 | 12 | 10 | 14 (44)



GS: Aliyah Dunn
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
WA: Maddy Gordon
C: Claire Kersten
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Katrina Rore
GK: Kelly Jury


GS: Grace Nweke
GA: Asher Grapes
WA: Peta Toeava
C: Tayla Earle
WD: Emily Burgess
GD: Phoenix Karaka
GK: Sulu Fitzpatrick

2020 ANZ Premiership preview: Round 8

WITH one game already down, Round 8 of the ANZ Premiership will bring plenty of excitement and intense battles with a couple of ladder defining clashes. The top two match-up between the Central Pulse and Northern Mystics headlines the round while up the other end of the ladder the Magic and Steel do battle.

Northern Stars v. Southern Steel
Saturday, 1 August

Coming off a game the night before the Northern Stars might suffer from a bit of fatigue while the Southern Steel will be fresh and raring to go. Likely to be without goal attack Kalifa McCollin with the Trinidad and Tobago shooter going down with a rolled ankle last round, the Stars will be eager to expose their understrength shooting circle.

Maia Wilson is the key cog for the Stars in attack with the goal shooter able to command the ball time and time again and most importantly score freely. She consistently absorbs pressure in the circle to stand strong and back herself posting high tallies every week. Although Wilson is a formidable option it will be up to the likes of Jamie Hume and Vika Koloto to step up to the challenge and showcase their scoring prowess and clever ball movement to draw the attention of Te Huinga Selby-Rickit and Taneisha Fifita. Selby-Rickit is one of the most experienced members in the Steel squad and will be in charge of leading the defensive end with her ball winning ways and persistence while Fifita can do the unthinkable thanks to her raw talent and athleticism.

With a weakened shooting unit with McCollin likely to not take the court the load falls to Ellen Halpenny to steer the ship in attack and apply scoreboard pressure. Commonly coming on after half time, Halpenny could be forced to play an entire game which might spark questions of endurance. However Halpenny is a smart netballer that can make shooting look easy with her dynamic footwork and spatial awareness. Expect Kiana Pelasio to get a run out in goal attack with the young shooter able to create a wealth of space and not afraid to go to post. The Stars defence has come along in leaps and bounds in 2020 with Storm Purvis and Kate Burley working exceptionally well together to create a wall in defence and win ball back. They are both strong in the air able to swat away passes and force turnovers to propel the ball back down the court while the chance of Daystar Swift and Oceane Maihi entering the contest also gives them another option if things are not going to plan.

With the Stars hoping to work their way up the ladder and Steel plagued by injury the Stars should have the upper hand in this contest.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic v. Mainland Tactix
Sunday, 2 August

In their second game of the round the Mainland Tactix will be searching for a win and edge closer to top two contention. Despite putting up competitive performances the Magic have failed to register a win since the season restart and will once again have their work cut out for them against a gallant Tactix outfit.

The Magic have a wealth of options in defence with Georgia Tong and Erena Mikaere both able to rotate through the goal keeper position while Holly Fowler can interchange between circle and wing defence. Tong has an impressive leap able to get hands to ball and disrupt any easy avenue into goal while Mikaere uses her height to apply pressure over the shot. But Ellie Bird has been in hot form recently able to hold strong and use her clever footwork to position herself closer to the post making her a real threat for the Tactix. While Bird is a commanding presence under the post the Magic cannot afford to leave Te Paea Selby-Rickit unattended to roam free both in the goal circle and attacking third as she is often the key to unlocking the Tactix rhythm in attack. Selby-Rickit is a real playmaker in attack for the Tactix, able to create plays with her pinpoint precision passes into the goal circle while pairing that with her ability to go to post especially from long range.

With Kelsey McPhee dealing with a knee complaint it will be up to the likes of Khiarna Williams and Abigail Latu-Meafou to take the court and showcase their dominance. Williams showcased her brilliance and raw talent last week with her ability to hold strong and move cleverly around the circle to create space for her to receive the ball under the post. However she is still young, something that the Tactix defenders will be hoping to exploit given their experience and dominance in the air to swat away balls and simply shut down any sort of movement inside the goal circle. The combination between Temalisi Fakahokotau and Jane Watson is incredibly strong with the two able to rotate through the circle with ease and read the play off one another to gobble up loose ball. Watson’s ability to stay away from the whistle and remain in play is what makes her such a commanding figure for the Tactix in defence while she can also ply her trade through the midcourt with her drive and clever ball movement.

The Tactix have a strong core group across the court with their connections able to link up and cause havoc for the Magic who at times have struggled with consistency and often fall off the boil when the pressure is on.

Central Pulse v. Northern Mystics
Sunday, 2 August

Sitting undefeated at the top of the ladder the Central Pulse will be hoping to leave no stone unturned in their soul game of the round against the second place Northern Mystics. These two sides played back in Round 6 with the Pulse dominating from start to finish and showcasing their ability to keep teams at bay with their suffocating pressure across the court something the Mystics will be hoping to rectify this round.

Struggling to find her mojo and form in recent weeks it will be up to Peta Toeava to really lead the attacking unit and deliver clean and clever ball into Grace Nweke under the post. Toeava has speed to burn while her vision into the circle is second to none meaning the likes of Central Pulse wing defence Karin Burger will have to go with her every step of the way to ensure that the Mystics frontend is shut down. Nweke is a real powerhouse under the post with her aerial ability ball control an impressive balance to stay in play time and time again. However it is the goal attack position that often causes issues for the Mystics with Asher Grapes, Saviour Tui and Filda Vui all rotating through that position in hope to find some type of continuity and alleviate the pressure on Nweke. With a somewhat unsettled shooting combination it allows the likes of Kelly Jury and Katrina Rore to get to work and wreak havoc with their hunting mentality and ability to read the play. Jury has been in ripping form, causing tips and turnovers while Rore has simply gotten better with age shutting down every goal attack that comes her way meaning the Mystics will have their work cut out for them.

Similar to the Pulse, the Mystics boast an impressive defensive line-up with Sulu Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka a damaging duo down back. Their tenacity and physicality can often offset opponents with the duo fighting for every inch of space and clogging up the circle credit to their fancy footwork. But they will have to bring their a-game if they are to rattle the Pulse with Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio hardly ever fazed by the intensity. Dunn is a thorn in the side for many teams with her accuracy to post and skill to edge closer to the post while Ekenasio often seems to have the ball on a string both inside and outside the goal circle. Both are incredibly accurate not giving the Mystics a chance to win ball back while Tiana Metuarau is also a force to be reckoned with given her injection of speed and high netball IQ.

Looking to make it 11 wins straight expect the Pulse to come out firing but if the Mystics can pull off an upset here it will do a wealth of good to their confidence only weeks out from the finals.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic v. Southern Steel
Monday, 3 August

Having only played two rounds ago the Magic will be keen to exact revenge on the Southern Steel and claim that all elusive win that they have been searching for. On the other hand the Steel will be keen to showcase that they are not easy beats and continue to climb their way up the ladder.

The midcourt battle is where it will all unfold with Sam Winders a key cog for the Magic in attack and in defence given her ball winning abilities and skill to change the course of a game within an instant. Winders is a real workhorse across the court constantly plying her trade and encouraging her teammates to follow suit with her tenacity on court. The revelation of Fowler out in wing defence has worked wonders for the Magic, applying strong hands over pressure and creating havoc for opposition teams. However the Southern Steel are littered with key players through the mid court with Silver Ferns duo Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton both renowned for their ability to deliver the ball on a silver platter to their shooters. Crampton can hit the circle edge with great pace and precision to ensure that she keeps the defenders at bay and has easy vision into the goal circle.

In attack Whitney Souness will be key for the Magic if they are to get over the line. She is a real energiser bunny in the front half of the court given her speed off the mark and quick hands. If Souness is not shut down she will be able to link up with Latu-Meafou, McPhee and Williams with ease and give them plenty of opportunity to apply scoreboard pressure. Therefore it will be up to Kate Heffernan to nullify her influence through the centre and attacking third. Heffernan often flies under the radar but is crucial to the Steel defence with her three foot marking and intercepting ability.

There is plenty at stake for both sides with the Magic hoping to work their way off the bottom of the ladder and Steel keen to continue on their merry way and rectify their lacklustre start to the season.

2020 ANZ Premiership stats wrap: Round 7

ROUND 7 of ANZ Premiership action was a huge one with some blowout score lines seeing a couple of star players pull out astounding stats. With the hunt on for the finals playoff and still second spot up for grabs on the ladder, some stellar performances were had all round. 

Draft Central‘s Player of the Week Ellie Bird was the single-game topscorer this week, shooting 37 goals at 100 per cent in an outstanding performance. Joining Bird at the top for goalers this week was repeat offender Grace Nweke who put up 30-plus goals in each of her two outings, combining for 71 goals at 90 per cent, while Maia Wilson (61 goals from two matches) and Aliyah Dunn (47 from two) also continued on their merry way. In at goal attack, Ameliaranne Ekenasio was consistent as ever putting up 28 goals in her first outing and 18 in her second. Kalifa McCollin (23 goals from 30 attempts at 77 per cent) was the only other goal attack to have a real impact on the scoreboard, though Te Paea Selby-Rickit was critical in Tactix’ standalone win, putting up 10 goals at 96 per cent but racking up the most goal assists of the round with 27.

While kept quiet in their respective first matches of the round, wing attacks Whitney Souness and Peta Toeava both made a stand through the midcourt. Souness drew on her 14 assists and two gains in her first outing to impress on her second time around, racking up 21 assists from 46 feeds to go with 21 centre pass receives. Toeava had a much different story, playing only 19 minutes in her first match and counting five assists, though was player of the match against the Magic with 23 assists from 43. Elsewhere through the midcourt, Karin Burger dominated once more in wing defence with four intercepts from her two matches, while centres Claire Kersten and Sam Winders racked up an intercept apiece though did not have a huge impact on the feed.

Defensively, there were some huge performers this round with goal defenders having plenty to say on court. Jane Watson was superb with six gains, aided by Temalisi Fakahokotau who racked up three with one intercept in the mix. Stars’ Kate Burley (three intercepts and three deflections) and Mystics’ Phoenix Karaka (three intercepts) were also solid out in goal defence across their respective two games, while Steel’s Te Huinga Selby-Rickit had an impressive round with her standalone two intercept and two deflection game which saw her side get the upper hand over the Mystics. Looking to goal keepers, Kelly Jury was consistent as ever with 12 gains from two outings while Sulu Fitzpatrick also impressed with 12 despite only coming away with one win from her two matches.