Tag: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan

2020 ANZ Premiership season review – Northern Stars

IT was an unprecedented season as the ANZ Premiership came to a halt after Round 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but later returned in June to round out the remainder of the season, bar Round 10. The season saw plenty of intriguing battles as teams plied their trade across the court in hope to work their way up the ladder. Draft Central takes a look back at the year that was, with Northern Stars the next in the instalment.

Win-loss: 5-3-7
Ladder position: 4th
Captain: Grace Kara

Overall season review:

With a couple of key players retiring at seasons end in 2019, the Northern Stars unfortunately could not replicate the dominance of last year falling to fourth spot on the ladder in 2020. They showed glimpses of brilliance but simply could not maintain a full four quarter performance week in, week out to make it into finals. The return of captain Grace Kara added some grunt and finesse to the attacking end with the wing attack showcasing her cleanliness and precise ball movement, while centre, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan took the next step up with her skill to slice through the defence and hit circle edge. Jamie Hume played a solid role in goal attack and while she did not hit the scoreboard as regularly as she would have liked, it was the work out the front that shone. Fa’amu Ioane was another player that had moments of magic, but had a tendency to fade in and out of contests much like the rest of the Stars, while Lisa Mather also displayed her intent able to swing between attack and defence with relative ease.

Star player:

Goal shooter, Maia Wilson was a mainstay under the post for the Stars consistently performing, showcasing just how damaging she can be with ball in hand. Her increased endurance and movement in the circle paid dividends with the goaler able to shake up her game play when the defenders got on top of her. Wilson went from strength to strength throughout the season, carrying majority of the scoring load to register 461 goals for the season. Prolific at the post, another key feature was the accuracy in which she attacked the scoreboard at, hardly missing a goal, or on the rare occasion it was off target, the towering goaler managed to collect the rebound such was her strength. Her footwork and sheer netball smarts enabled her to claim prime position in the goal circle and while known for her close range shooting, she proved she was just as valuable from further out.

Surprise packet:

It was a relatively up and down season for the Stars however, Kate Burley remained a constant with the goal defence oozing athleticism and excitement in the defensive third. She was able to read the play with great ease and get into damaging positions to collect intercepts or force tips and turnovers. Her combination with Storm Purvis strengthened as the season went on with the two rotating through the circle seamlessly to keep the opposition attackers guessing. Not only was Burley a force in defence but was also a key cog through the centre third to drive the ball into attack and provide support on the transverse line. Her ability to change up her game depending on who she was partnered with in defence was also a prominent aspect in her game play as the defensive circle frequently changed with Oceane Maihi coming on and Daystar Swift entering the game in the latter half of the season.

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. 

ATTACK

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.

MIDCOURT

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.

DEFENCE

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: Most developed players

WITH Round 10 of the ANZ Premiership season cancelled due to a change in COVID-19 restrictions, Draft Central casts an eye over each side’s most developed players for 2020 ahead of the finals. It has been an unconventional season to say the least with the ANZ Premiership season brought to a halt back March due to the pandemic and teams forced to fly in and out of Auckland to comply with the restrictions in place. But that did not stop each team from performing on the big stage, with the development of a couple of key youngsters front and centre.

NORTHERN MYSTICS – Grace Nweke

Without Silver Ferns goal attack Bailey Mes, the load landed on Grace Nweke and the teenager did not disappoint. The goal shooter was formidable under the post and constantly double teamed in the goal circle thanks to her prowess and ability to score with such ease. She leads all comers when it comes to goals with a whopping 471 at an impressive 89 per cent showcasing her complete and utter dominance. Nweke was the lynchpin for the Mystics in attack, using her height, read of the play, long arms and physicality to win majority of the passes that came her way. Her ability to work within the confined space and strong connection with Peta Toeava were simply unstoppable with the two able to sync up and score within seconds. Starring last season, there were plenty of questions about whether or not she would be able to back up this season, but it is fair to say that the 18-year-old went above and beyond. Her confidence grew throughout the season and allowed Saviour Tui, Asher Grapes and Filda Vui to ply their trade out the front.

NORTHERN STARS – Mila Reuelu-Buchanan

Northern Stars centre, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan has really come into her own in 2020 earning herself back-to-back appearances in Draft Central’s Team of the Week thanks to her dynamic movement. Her vision has developed tenfold in the latter half of the year, able to sight Maia Wilson with ease under the post and become a commanding figure in attack. Reuelu-Buchanan has been key for the Stars through the centre court, often organising traffic with her well-directed passes and applying strong hands over pressure to try and slow down her opposition. The 22-year-old stepped up in the absence of Temepara Bailey who retired last year, getting down to business each and every time she takes the court. She consistently showcases her high endurance to run out full games in the centre position and not tire while combining well with Grace Kara and Jamie Hume on the front line. Her adaptability to cater for the frequent changes in wing defence with Lisa Mather and Fa’amu Ioane rotating through was also on show.

WAIKATO BAY OF PLENTY MAGIC – Kelsey McPhee

Although it was a challenging season for the Magic, Kelsey McPhee proved to be a shining light for Waikato Bay of Plenty with the goal shooter increasing her accuracy and volume to post. Shaky on the shot at times, McPhee displayed her strength to reel in the rebound and block out defenders to give her side a second chance on the shot. Carrying a knee injury later in the season the shooter rose above highlighting her grit and determination. Her ability to shake up her game play was also crucial for the Magic as she got on the move more frequently to drive out of the circle and allow either Abigail Latu-Meafou or Khiarna Williams to float in while her strong holds also allowed the Magic to score quickly. Her 1-2 connection with Whitney Souness was also solid as the two combined on circle edge and from distance credit to her aerial presence.

CENTRAL PULSE – Maddy Gordon

It became apparent in the Pulse’s Round 9 loss to the Tactix just how influential Maddy Gordon is with the pocket rocket able to set the court alight with her turn of pace and slick hands. Relishing the extra court time in 2020 Gordon has taken everything in her stride, hitting the circle edge with speed and precision to deliver the ball on a silver platter to Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio. She is crafty with ball in hand and at times can fly under the radar given the amount of big names across the court but has made a name for herself this season with her constant give and go. Strong in attack her defensive pressure is also a key asset of her game able to win back through the centre third with her three-foot marking and deceptive leap. Her connection with Claire Kersten has developed at a rate of knots throughout the season allowing the two to swing the ball across the court with ease to create space and keep the defenders head on a swivel.

MAINLAND TACTIX – Kimiora Poi

Kimiora Poi is another centre court player who has been in ripping form throughout 2020 and put her hand up for Silver Ferns contention thanks to her strong drives and endurance. She has been a key cog through the midcourt for the Tactix, using her zippy speed to cut through the defence and claim possession. She is quick off the mark and is patient with ball in hand, not afraid to work the ball to circle edge or deliver from distance into the goalers. Her high release on the pass allows Ellie Bird to grab the ball at its peak and keep defenders at bay while her short and sharp interactions with Te Paea Selby-Rickit is a testament to her ability to read the play and play accordingly. Poi is constantly on the move, rotating around the circle edge and setting up clever triangle plays with the goalers and Erikana Pedersen to keep the defenders guessing.

SOUTHERN STEEL – Kate Heffernan

A relatively unknown quantity heading into the season, Kate Heffernan took the competition by storm in 2020 and all but cemented her spot as the starting wing defence for the Steel. She is electric across the court credit to her impressive closing speed to create doubt in the receivers mind and force turnovers. her long wingspan is a crucial to the Steel in defence able to apply strong hands over pressure to block her oppositions vision into the circle and make life hard for them around circle edge. Heffernan is also strong in transition constantly reoffering on the transverse line to reset play or drive through the centre third to punch through and open up space. Her connection with the experienced Te Huinga Selby-Rickit and youngster Taneisha Fifita in defence and combine with Shannon Saunders through the midcourt allows her to play with confidence and back herself to go out hunting for an intercept.

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.

ANZ Premiership – Round 9: Stars fight back to steal one-goal win over Magic

IN their sole game for the round the contest between the bottom placed Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and fourth placed Northern Stars went right down to the wire with the Stars coming back from three goals down at three quarter time to snatch a one-goal win (45-46). Both sides went toe-to-toe but were forced to a halt with two milliseconds left on the court as Holly Fowler went down clutching her knee in a shattering performance for the Magic.

The quarter started with plenty of intensity as Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and Northern Stars tried to claim the early ascendancy. Kelsey McPhee landed the first blow for the evening before the Stars applied some scoreboard pressure to push out to a two goal lead. But the Magic were desperate to get back into the contest working in overdrive to shut down the Stars and cover each option driving to the ball to force held balls and errant passes. With five minutes left on the clock, the Magic levelled the scores thanks to their increased pressure and speed of Whitney Souness in wing attack.

As the Magic finding their feet in attack and winning ball back in defence the Stars kicked it up a notch with Maia Wilson injecting herself into the contest and holding the space well to command the ball and deliver to post. Goal attack Jamie Hume showcased her playmaking abilities thanks to her crafty passes into Wilson and ability to drive into space and while she did not worry the scoreboard too much she drew the attention of Erena Mikaere. Georgia Tong plied her trade in goal keeper getting hands to ball but a couple of wayward passes saw the Magic unable to capitalise on their opportunities and allow the Stars to hold onto their three goal lead. The Magic mounted the pressure in the dying seconds of the game scoring back to back goals to reduce the margin to a goal and take some momentum into the second term.

Down by a couple of goals Abigail Latu-Meafou entered the game in goal attack and was composed from the get go. She showcased her confidence and willingness to go to post whether it be from circle edge or under the post and connected with McPhee easily. Stars wing defence Lisa Mather proved her worth down back after a clever intercept and was rewarded with Wilson goaling up the other end to send the Stars on a goal scoring spree. The influence of Latu-Meafou was unquestionable injecting speed into the Magic attack line driving hard into the goal circle to keep Kate Burley and Storm Purvis on their toes.

Up the other end the long arms of Mikaere paid dividends for the Magic as the goal defence picking up a rebound and displaying her speed to transition the ball down the court. However Wilson continued her merry way having a field day under the post and shaking up her game play to get on the move. Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was electric across the court proving to be a real menace in defence picking up a wealth of loose ball and then flying down court to catch the Magic off-guard and isolate Wilson one-on-one against Tong under the post. After getting out to four goals the Magic fought their way back into the contest in the final couple of minutes with the attacking unit finding space aplenty.

Scores were all tied up at 25 goals apiece as the combination of McPhee and Latu-Meafou worked wonders. Three consecutive goals form the Magic gifted the home side the lead, the first time since the opening term but the Stars were not about to lie down with Wilson reliable as ever under the post. A turnover from the Magic enabled the Stars to reclaim further control and push out to a four goal lead. Relatively quiet by her standards in the opening half Grace Kara worked her way into the match credit to her clever positioning around circle edge and impressive timing to release the ball into Wilson on the hold.

The back-up work on the transverse line from the Stars enabled them to re-set the play time and time again to edge themselves closer to the post. Struggling to force turnover ball Mikaere shuffled back to goal keeper while Jenna O’Sullivan joined the fold in hope to upset the attack. The change seemed to pay dividends as the Magic nailing five goals in a row to snatch the lead in what was a seesawing affair. Captain Sam Winders did not leave any stone unturned throwing her body at every single pass to collect deflections and went flying down the court to deliver the ball on a silver platter to McPhee. The momentum completely shifted as the Magic flipped the tables and established a three goal lead.

As the game was on the line, both sides showed a real hunger and intensity, and the Stars made a host of changes through the midcourt. Fa’amu Ioane entered the game in wing defence and made an immediate impact picking up an intercept credit to her nippy footwork and speed as the Stars looked to cut the margin to two goals. The Magic refused to give in working hard across the court to treasure possession and make the most of their opportunities with ball in hand. Ioane oozed confidence as the wing defence letting ball go with ease into the goal circle as the teams went goal for goal after levelling the scores once more. A missed shot from Latu-Meafou saw Hume deliver the final blow and the Stars runout victors  in what was a tight tussle.

Towering goal shooter Wilson once again led the way under the post nailing 37 goals from 41 attempts. Hume also managed to hit the scoreboard with nine goals and a team high 11 goal assists. McPhee had a commanding influence under the post sinking 27 goals at 84 per cent accuracy, while youngster Williams also made a short cameo, shooting three goals at 100 per cent. Latu-Meafou impressed with 15 goals but was costly at times when it came to turnovers. Defensively Mikaere was key with six gains and two rebounds.

>>> MAGIC TEAM PAGE

>>> STARS TEAM PAGE 

>>> FULL GAME STATS

WBOP Magic 12 | 13 | 10 | 11 (46)
Northern Stars 11 | 12 | 15 | 7 (45)

STARTING SEVEN:

 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic:

GS: Kelsey McPhee
GA: Khiarna Williams
WA: Whitney Souness
C: Sam Winders
WD: Holly Fowler
GD: Erena Mikaere
GK: Georgia Tong

Northern Stars:

GS: Maia Wilson
GA: Jamie Hume
WA: Grace Kara
C: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
WD: Lisa Mather
GD: Kate Burley
GK: Storm Purvis

2020 SSN/ANZ: Stats wrap – Rounds 1/8

A NEW look stats wrap is in effect this week, with both the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) and ANZ Premiership taking the court on the weekend. While the ANZ Premiership is heading into its final rounds with some big performers stepping up towards the end of the season, the SSN had Round 1 over the weekend making for some interesting stats across the two rounds. It is important to take into consideration that the two leagues currently have different rules and matchplay times, with differing stats evident. 

ATTACK 

The introduction of the super shot added a new element to the SSN stage in the opening round, with Steph Wood (10 super shots), Jo Harten (nine) and Sam Gooden (nine) shouldering the super shot load for their respective teams, with Harten the most accurate of the trio missing just four attempts across the board to finish with an overall 86 per cent accuracy. Looking to tall timbers at the post, Jhaniele Fowler was hard to stop with 52 goals from 55 attempts (including two super shots) while Lenize Potgieter and Cara Koenen shot 35 goals apiece. In her new Collingwood colours Emma Ryde  impressed (34 from 38) and Sam Wallace (33 from 40) once again proved to be a solid target. Alice Teague-Neeld proved the nay-sayers she could have an impact with 10 goals at 67 per cent (including four super shots at 100 per cent accuracy) and plying her trade out the front with 19 goal assists and a gain to her name.

Heading across the ditch to the ANZ Premiership, there were a couple huge performers across the five matches, with repeat offenders in Maia Wilson (74 goals from 80 attempts) and Ellie Bird (63 from 72) adding to their goaling tallies off the back of two games apiece, while Grace Nweke racked up 38 goals from 44 attempts in her sole match for the round. The likes of Central Pulse duo Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Aliyah Dunn once again shared the load with 21 and 20 goals respectively in their first loss for the season, while there is no discounting the work ethic of Te Paea Selby-Rickit with the goal attack combining for 31 goals across her two games as well as her work out the front to finish with 25 goal assists.

MIDCOURT

The opening round of Super Netball saw Liz Watson not skip a beat over the off-season, racking up 28 goal assists from 49 feeds, while Chelsea Pitman picked up 26 centre pass receives credit to her take-off speed and first phase play. Both Watson and Charles also racked up a gain apiece, while Magpies midcourters Madi Browne (12 assists, one intercept) and Molly Jovic (two intercepts from 21 minutes of play) both impressed in their first matches, albeit Browne’s first on return from injury and Jovic on her overall debut. In wing defence there were a couple high performers, with young guns Kate Eddy (four intercepts, two pickups, three penalties) and Amy Parmenter (six intercepts, seven deflections (none to advantage), five turnovers) both plying their trade well in wing defence while Maisie Nankivell stepped up through the Thunderbirds midcourt with 12 goal assists and two intercepts though 14 penalties. Mahalia Cassidy also impressed on her return from injury with 17 assists from 35 feeds and two gains to her name.

Heading to the ANZ Premiership midcourt, the stand-out this round – and our Round 8 ANZ Premiership Player of the Week – was Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic’s Whitney Souness, with the speedster racking up 16 assists in her first match before finishing with 19 in her second, also picking up an intercept in each of her outings. Peta Toeava and Tayla Earle were consistent as ever in their winning outing against the Pulse, sharing the load on circle edge with 19 and 17 assists respectively, also picking up a gain apiece. Meanwhile, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan racked up a round-high 26 assists in her second outing of the round from 35 feeds though was kept quiet in her first match with just 12 assists, an effort matched for the most part by Erikana Pedersen who was explosive in her first outing (23 assists, one gain) but shared the load better in the second with Selby-Rickit. Meanwhile, Kate Heffernan and Sam Winders both racked up four intercepts apiece across their respective matches.

DEFENCE

Lauren Moore and Parmenter led the intercept tally for the round, with the two young guns stepping up with six intercepts apiece. Phumza Maweni put on an impressive final quarter performance to trip up the Firebirds attack and finish with six deflections and three intercepts, while veteran Geva Mentor proved she is still more than capable of pulling out impressive performances with nine deflections, closely followed by Sarah Klau (eight deflections and three rebounds) and Kim Jenner (seven and three). Jenner and partner in crime Tara Hinchliffe will want to clean up their act in the coming rounds, racking up a whopping 35 penalties between them to be first and second in the least preferred statline after Round 1.

On the ANZ Premiership stage, Temalisi Fakahokotau was consistent as ever down back with Jane Watson in their first outing combining for 11 gains (14 across two matches), while Georgia Tong stepped up with nine gains (six intercepts) in her first outing but was overshadowed in her second with just the three gains – still a solid effort. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit showcased her ball winning ability again this round with three and four gains, while Kate Burley continued to impress for the Stars with six gains (four intercepts) and two gains across her two matches, consistently matching up on court to have an impact despite the prowess of her opposition.

2020 ANZ Premiership – Team of the Week: Round 8

Round 8 of the ANZ Premiership brought plenty of surprises with the Northern Mystics toppling the Central Pulse and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic clinching a thrilling one goal win leading to a couple of fresh faces in this rounds Team of the Week. Winning both games for the round, four Mainland Tactix players earned their spot in the squad while for the first time this season the Pulse failed to register a player.

GS: Maia Wilson
GA: Te Paea Selby-Rickit
WA: Whitney Souness
C: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
WD: Holly Fowler
GD: Phoenix Karaka
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau

BENCH: Grace Nweke, Erikana Pedersen, Jane Watson

Starting in the goal circle, Maia Wilson led the way for the Stars in both outings across the round with her prolific nature and skill to absorb the pressure. The goal shooter made it look easy under the post sinking 35 goals from 40 attempts up against strong opposition and using footwork to hold space. But it was her second performance that stunned many and was a testament to her true class slotting 39 goals at 100 per cent. Out in goal attack is Tactix playmaker Te Paea Selby-Rickit with the shooter not only plying her trade in the goal circle but so too in the attacking third with her touch on the pass and silky footwork. Selby-Rickit managed 31 goals from 37 attempts across two matches, showcasing her increased accuracy while also amassing 25 goal assists for her efforts across the round.

Through the midcourt it was the last quarter heroics from Whitney Souness that gifted her a start in the Team of the Week – as well as our Draft Central Player of the Week award – with the Magic wing attack snatching an intercept on the transverse line. Although not as prominent in her first game of the round, she well and truly made up for it in her second outing zipping around the court and hitting circle edge with pace and precision.  Her hot hand into the circle saw her collect 35 goal assists for the round while teammate and wing defence Holly Fowler secured her first spot in Team of the Week thanks to her defensive efforts. Her hands over pressure, acceleration off the mark and tenacity enabled her to get hands to ball and disrupt the play in attack amassing three gains and four deflections. Stars centre, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan takes out the final midcourt position thanks to her two way running and ability to impact the play in all facets of the game. Quiet in her first outing with just the 13 goal assists, Reuelu-Buchanan upped the ante in the second seeming to have the ball on a string and hitting the circle edge with precision to rack up a team high 26 goal assists.

There was options aplenty in defence with Phoenix Karaka getting the nod in at goal defence thanks to her stellar performance against the Pulse. Karaka was involved in everything in her sole outing for the round nullifying Ameliaranne Ekenasio and winning back a wealth of ball. It was a stats-stuffing performance from the Mystics goal defence who finished with five gains, two intercepts, four deflections and two rebounds. Finalising the starting seven is Mainland Tactix goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau who once again shone in her sides two victories. Fakahokotau imposed herself from the get-go with her aerial ability and physicality at the contest to throw herself at everything and most importantly regain possession amassing a staggering 18 deflections, 10 gains and four intercepts.

Rounding out the team and unlucky to not get the start is Mystics goal shooter Grace Nweke who displayed her dominance and strength under the post, using her height and fancy footwork along the baseline to reel in passes. Credit to a couple of strong performances over the weekend Tactix teammates Erikana Pedersen and Jane Watson also find themselves on the bench. Pedersen was electric through the midcourt with her speed and vision while Watson proved to be a menace in defence with her rangy arms and quick footwork.

ANZ Premiership – Round 8: Tactix too good in front of sellout home crowd

A SELLOUT crowd headlined the opening match of ANZ Premiership Round 8, with Mainland Tactix hosting their first match of the season and taking on the Northern Stars for the second time in just five days. With Tactix getting the win last round the Stars were back with a vengeance but with second position on the ladder up for grabs the Tactix were just too good, winning 52-42 in an exciting and high-energy contest.

The matchup between Maia Wilson and Temalisi Fakahokotau was huge from the get-go, with an ANZ Premiership record 5500 strong crowd behind their Tactix keeper from the get-go. The match saw a mostly even start, with both teams taking advantage of a couple of early deflections as the opposition settled in. The Stars’ quickfire passes were quickly made apparent, speeding down the side channels of the court and zipping around for a couple easy goals.

Jane Watson was quick to take advantage of the predictable movement however, taking a fantastic cross-court intercept to disrupt the flow and extend the Tactix to a lead, coming up with another clever goal not long after and soon the home side had extended to a three goal margin. Wilson continued to be a focal point for the Stars, with Jamie Hume assisting well to begin with credit to her speed and improved accuracy.

Where the Stars defenders were at a loss of how to combat Ellie Bird last round, they came out fighting and making Bird work hard to find the ball, forcing the tall timber to use her footwork to move for the netball. Speed into the goal circle was crucial for the Stars, with Mila Reuelu-Buchanan and Grace Kara serving the ball on a platter to Wilson but needing to do it quick to evade Fakahokotau on the leap and saying toe-to-toe with the Tactix, trailing 13-11 at the first change.

An interesting change was made to start the second, with Daystar Swift bringing a physical element to the Stars defence line, with the Trinidad and Tobago product matching Bird for height and hoping to have more of an impact than her last outing which only saw her on court for five minutes. After a couple slow matches, Te Paea Selby-Rickit proved crucial once more in attack with her ability to not only go to post but also spot Bird at the post, though that was something that the Stars were able to exploit plucking a couple balls out of the air.

Erikana Pedersen was on fire in the first and backed it up in the second, with her reliability on the drive and wealth of speed allowing the Tactix to make use of a couple crucial intercepts to extend their lead. The Stars were error-ridden in the second quarter, wasting a couple opportunities going cross-court, with Watson able to get hands to turnover ball with ease thanks to her clear vision and long reach.

While Swift was playing a physical game and attracting a fair bit of attention from the umpires, Fakahokotau was doing everything she could to get hands to ball and put off Wilson who had missed just one shot by the main change. A huge couple of minutes by the Tactix saw the home side extend to an eight-goal lead at half time, 28-20.

The Stars made another change heading into the third, with Swift leaving the court for the regular combination of Kate Burley and Storm Purvis once more, while the injection of Fa’amu Ioane helped to shut down an element of the Tactix midcourt, doing a heap of work to shut down Pedersen and limit the Tactix’ speed in attack. Ioane’s work on the transverse paid dividends, allowing more of a split around the circle from Reuelu-Buchanan and Kara.

Watson continued to star in the third, with the formidable defender far too good on Hume and running the young player ragged through the midcourt to exploit Stars’ holes in attack. While Wilson continued to impact, Fakahokotau’s pressure and physicality was constant, blocking vision with her long reach and footwork to get around the body.

The Tactix had to do a heap of work to get ball into the circle, and while they were still ahead by a wide margin the Stars were working hard to limit avenues to post and force continuous feeds around circle edge. Soon the margin had closed to just three goals, with the combination of Ioane and Reuelu-Buchanan impressing defensively to stem the flow of attack, with Pedersen and Poi unable to zip around as per usual to control the space.

With the scoreline reduced early in the quarter the Tactix stole back some momentum, seeing the intense contest continue with no easy avenues to goal for either team but the Tactix taking advantage of any holes in the plan they could find, with the Tactix back to a six-goal lead at the final change, 37-31. Within touching distance of the Tactix, the Stars started the last quarter well but just could not get hands to enough turnover ball, with their only intercept still a mishap pass straight to Swift in the second. With no secure ball taken to turn over possession, the Stars were relying too much on getting a deflection but the Tactix were more than capable of getting to the loose ball first. 

Fakahokotau really switched on in the last quarter, upping her physicality – if possible – and reaping the rewards with her ability to find the ball paying dividends for the Tactix. Charlotte Elley was hungry for the ball in wing defence, though so was a mid-quarter Stars change in Oceane Maihi who entered the fray in time for a 10-goal margin in the way of the Tactix. The height difference was immediately apparent, and while Maihi’s different take on the goal keeper position paid off with a couple of plays forcing Bird to the goal line it was not enough to really reduce that margin with Bird’s confidence seeing her shoot from range with ease where required. A huge last few minutes saw the Tactix finish with their best score for the season, building off the impressive crowd for an excellent 52-42 victory. 

Player of the match Pedersen was influential with 23 goal assists, able to spot Bird at the post from a mile away, with the shooter racking up 37 goals for a second match straight at 88 per cent accuracy. Selby-Rickit was solid with 15 goals and an intercept to her name, while Watson and Fakahokotau were outstanding, with Watson starring in the first half and Fakahokotau a force to be reckoned with in the second half. The defensive duo racked up 11 gains (six intercepts) between them, with three of Fakahokotau’s intercepts coming in the final quarter as the pressure mounted.

For the Stars, Wilson was consistent as ever carrying the load with 35 goals from 41 attempts at 85 per cent, while Hume shot seven goals and collected a handful of assists and centre pass receives to play her role out the front alongside Kara and Reuelu-Buchanan. Burley racked up just the two gains from her six deflections but was solid against two taller attackers while Purvis collected four pickups.

Both teams play again this round though will be glad to have a few days off after the physical matchup, with the Stars back on the court on Saturday evening to face the Southern Steel while Tactix travel to take on Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic on Sunday.

>>>TACTIX TEAM PAGE

>>>STARS TEAM PAGE

>>>FULL MATCH STATS

MAINLAND TACTIX 13 | 15 | 9 | 15 (52)
NORTHERN STARS 11 | 9 | 11 | 11 (42)

STARTING SEVEN

Tactix

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

Stars

GS: Maia Wilson
GA: Jamie Hume
WA: Grace Kara
C: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
WD: Lisa Mather
GD: Kate Burley
GK: Storm Purvis

 

2020 ANZ Premiership- Round 8 preview: Tactix v. Stars

WITH ANZ Premiership finals just around the corner both the Mainland Tactix and Northern Stars are eager to make a final play for second spot and face off for a chance at the grand final in the sole Thursday evening fixture for the season. Playing on their home court for the first time since the season restart expect the Tactix fans to be boisterous, cheering on their side at every turn while the Stars will be hoping to generate their signature ball movement to get on top of their opponents early. Having only played last round the Stars will be keen to make amends and get one back while the Tactix will be wanting to show that their seven goal victory was just the beginning and look to build on their form heading into the backend of the season.

There are key match-ups across the court, none bigger than in the goal circle with Maia Wilson set to combat defensive duo Temalisi Fakahokotau and Jane Watson. Wilson is one of the most reliable goalers in the competition, willing to sink them from range and shake up her game plan accordingly to provide a spark for the Stars. Her constant movement, strong holds and impressive balance is a focal point for the Stars. However as Wilson is the dominant shooter and main avenue to goal it will be up to Jamie Hume and Vika Koloto to absorb some of the pressure and go to post regularly if they are to keep the Tactix defenders busy. Both Watson and Fakahokotau are in ripping form able to gobble up everything that comes their way, creating a wall in defence making it incredibly difficult for the Stars to penetrate. Coming off an impressive performance last week with Watson only racking up three penalties and nullifying the influence of Hume and Koloto at the post expect the Tactix captain to be keen to replicate her hot form. Similarly, Fakahokotau is no easy beat with her insistent pressure, aerial ability and read of the play.

Tactix goal shooter Ellie Bird showcased her star power last round against the Stars going on a tear with 37 goals at 100 per cent while the efforts of goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit did not go unnoticed aiding the towering shooter at the post and delivering the ball on a silver platter for her. Their strong connection could prove the thorn in the Stars side again this week if Storm Purvis and Kate Burley are not able to nullify one of them. Burley is strong in the air, consistently able to disrupt the flow in attack with her timely tips and hands over pressure while Purvis applies a wealth of physical pressure. The Stars also have options on the bench with Daystar Swift taking the court for the first time last week since returning from injury while Oceane Maihi has an impressive aerial presence.

It will bea battle of the young guns through the midcourt with Kimiora Poi and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan likely to go head to head. Poi has speed to burn able to dart around the court, hit the circle edge with precision and most importantly help out defensively to pick up loose ball while Reuelu-Buchanan dons a more attacking style of play. Poi’s connection with Bird and Selby-Rickit has steadily throughout the season with the centre willing to dish off from distance and look long into circle. she works well with fellow speedster Erikana Pedersen with the two able to rotate the ball around the circle edge with ease and create attacking forays. The Stars have their own trump card, with experienced wing attack Grace Kara often leading the way and setting the tempo in attack. She is clever with ball in hand and will be hoping to exploit Tactix wing defence Charlotte Elley with her netball smarts.

Sitting just outside of second spot on the ladder the Tactix will be desperate to claim the win and edge closer to a grand final appearance. Coming off a strong showing last round and oozing confidence given their impressive connections across the court the Tactix could be hard to stop but the Stars have nothing to lose making for an intriguing battle.

ANZ Premiership – Round 7: Threatening Tactix down Stars

COMING off the back of a disappointing loss on Saturday night to the Pulse, Northern Stars were ready for a fight, but the Mainland Tactix were hungry for a win and were far too good, eventually running out seven-goal victors, 47-40 in Round 7 of the ANZ Premiership. It was the Tactix’ first back-to-back win for the season, with the side putting in great strides for a potential finals berth.

There was a heap of pressure on Jamie Hume from the get-go, forcing every ball to go to Maia Wilson but with little chance to do so thanks to an excellent two-on-one, credit to the physicality of Jane Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotau. The Tactix defensive partnership was switched on from beginning to end, with the duo batting away ball with ease and plying their trade with physicality and tenacity. While it was a very close start, a four-goal lead was extended by the Tactix with just under six on the clock, with wasted opportunities from the Stars seeing the Tactix find far too much loose ball. 

A great battle was forged between Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (13 assists, two pickups) and Kimiora Poi (eight assists, three pickups) throughout the term, with the duo almost evening the other out given their wealth of shutdown work. But where the Tactix had a lot of the early momentum, the Stars were able to work back to a two-goal margin over the last couple of minutes, taking away some of the Tactix’ breathing room. While the Tactix were accurate out in front, the inaccuracy of Hume hurt the Stars, sitting on zero from three by the end of the first and not doing enough to aid Wilson at the post. These wasted chances saw the Stars down by four at quarter time, trailing 14-10.

A change for the second saw Vika Koloto take the court in Hume’s place, with the Stars needing a bit more work in goal attack to assist the ever reliable Wilson. Koloto’s speed seemed to be what the doctor ordered, with the youngster taking on Watson but using the ball well. Koloto well and truly opened up the circle, taking her chances and taking away some of the one-on-one from Wilson. But while the Stars attack seemed to be clicking much better, coming to within one goal, the likes of Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Ellie Bird continued to shine at the post, with accuracy, composure and plenty of speed paying off at the post.

Another change with four minutes on the clock saw Lisa Mather head into centre for the Stars, bringing some fresh legs into the centre third against Poi who did not let up down the court. Still chasing, the Stars kept in touch but defensively could not win that ball back off the Tactix’ centre pass, seeing the Tactix maintain the lead 24-22 at half-time. 

Within touching distance of taking a lead, a huge third quarter change saw Daystar Swift take the court in defence for the first time since Round 1, replacing Storm Purvis and injecting a tough physicality and a fraction more height to the one-on-one against Bird. While the change injected a new point of difference to the quarter, both teams seemed to not have a load of control, unable to take advantage of all their opportunities and seeing plenty of see-sawing as both teams re-settled into the match. Within a couple of minutes however the Tactix had punished a number of errors, taking a six goal lead as Reuelu-Buchanan and Purvis returned to the court with the Stars’ connections lacking.

The Tactix defence was stellar, blocking vision and making the most of every ball, seeing Koloto subbed off for Hume as the Tactix lead extended. A lack of communication and movement from Reuelu-Buchanan and Grace Kara was evident with both Poi and Charlotte Elley forcing the Stars into position and holding them there to block circle movement and cause wasted ball in attack. Such was the Tactix defence that even Wilson was rendered inaccurate, shut down by Fakahokotau for the Tactix to hold an eight-goal lead heading into the final quarter, 37-29. 

Tight midcourt defence paid off for the Tactix in the final quarter, holding and waiting for forced passes to create intercepts. But five goals in a row to start the quarter saw the Stars work their way back into the match, hungry for an elusive win. While the Tactix were holding up the midcourt, Stars were blocking up the Tactix attack and forcing patience and constant feeding around the third before reaching the circle. With Bird still on 100 per cent accuracy with under five minutes left on the clock, it was the Tactix’ accuracy and explosiveness that saw them come away with the win, forcing continual issues all across the court for the Stars and applying constant pressure on the feed. 

Both sides continued to provide plenty of speed down the court, but it was the Tactix who used the ball better, able to open up space and create options on the drive with Erikana Pedersen (11 assists, 21 centre pass receives) finding plenty of first phase ball to send into the circle. With a seven-goal margin to finish, the Tactix were not only consistent but just far too strong for the Stars, running out with the 47-40 victory.

Watson (six gains) and Fakahokotau (three gains) were at their best and completely unstoppable, outplaying Kate Burley (four gains) and Purvis (four deflections but no gains) by miles and forcing errors from the Stars attack. While Wilson held up the attack as per usual, she was well held to 32 goals from 36 attempts at 89 per cent accuracy, with both Hume (four from nine) and Koloto (four from six) putting some goals up but not enough to really command the space. Bird was awarded player of the match for her stellar 37 goal effort, shooting at 100 per cent and dominating in goal shooter while Selby-Rickit shot 10 from 12 to go with her 27 goal assists, playing a much larger role in attack than her goal count suggests. Though not having the flashiest game, Reuelu-Buchanan and Kara worked well in tandem, with Kara racking up 12 assists and 25 centre pass receives. 

Sitting out the rest of this round, the two teams will go head-to-head once more on Thursday in Christchurch for the Tactix’ first and only home game for the season, with the Stars heading in off the back of two frustrating losses for the weekend and sure to come in with a fire in the belly.

>>> MAINLAND TACTIX PAGE

>>> NORTHERN STARS PAGE

>>> FULL MATCH STATS

MAINLAND TACTIX 14 | 10 | 13 | 10 (47)
NORTHERN STARS 10 | 12 | 7 | 11 (40)

STARTING SEVEN

Mainland Tactix

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

Northern Stars

GS: Maia Wilson
GA: Jamie Hume
WA: Grace Kara
C: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
WD: Fa’amu Ioane
GD: Kate Burley
GK: Storm Purvis