Tag: oceane maihi

ANZ Premiership: Northern Stars and Northern Mystics look to bolster 2021 squad

WITH the ANZ Premiership season done and dusted, teams have started to finalise squads for the 2021 season as the Northern Stars and Northern Mystics announced their player lists throughout the week.  There are a couple of notable changes for both sides, with some key players either departing or retiring while some shock inclusions are set to send tongues wagging next season.

The announcements did not stop there, as Central Pulse released the replacement for Yvette McCausland-Durie with Gail Parata set to take the reins for the upcoming season. After taking the Pulse to back-to-back premierships McCausland-Durie parted ways with the club, paving the way for Parata who boasts a wealth of experience having coached the Scottish Thistles for six years while also spending time as an assistant coach for the Pulse and Northern Mystics. The Pulse have already lost the services of defender Elle Temu with the goal keeper committing to the Northern Stars in hope to get some more court time, meaning Parata will be hopeful to retain the remainder of her list.

Temu joins a couple of other new faces at the Northern Stars in 2020 with Gina Crampton switching from the Southern Steel after eight years. Crampton will add a wealth of experience to the frontend with captain Grace Kara not announced in the squad. Expect Crampton to link up well with Maia Wilson given their Silver Ferns connection and sheer dominance in their respective positions. But the most surprising signing was in the form of Anna Harrison who retired from the game two years ago, but is set to make a comeback much like Renae Ingles did in the Suncorp Super Netball. Famously known for her chairlift and aerial ability Harrison is an exciting prospect for the Stars who lost Storm Purvis to retirement and Kate Burley to the Northern Mystics, however they did retain the services of the talented Oceane Maihi. Another inclusion in the form of Monica Falkner from Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and the acquisition of Amorangi Malesala who has spent time in the Australian pathways will further bolster their line-up for their 2021 campaign.

On the other hand the Northern Mystics have maintained a relatively unchanged line-up bar one or two forced changes with Phoenix Karaka announcing her pregnancy. As noted before, Burley has joined the Mystics and is likely to pair up with Sulu Fitzpatrick while Michaela Sokolich-Beatson is set to return after missing the 2020 season with injury. Speaking of injury, Silver Ferns goaler Bailey Mes has also been named for next season with the goaler offering a wealth of composure and knowledge under the post. It is no surprise the Mystics held onto talented goal shooter Grace Nweke, with the 18-year-old able to single-handedly change the course of a game. Joining her inside the goal circle is Filda Vui with the former Beko League shooter relishing the opportunity to get on court throughout the season while Saviour Tui is back for another season. Another Stars transfer in the form of Fa’amu Ioane has also been announced as part of the Mystics squad for 2021 with the wing defence boasting plenty of firepower and excitement through the middle third as the Mystics push for a potential finals tilt after falling just short this year.

The remaining four clubs are yet to announce their squads for the 2021 season but give the number of change ups already listed there could be some wholesale alterations across the board.

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.

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.

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 – Final quarter surge gives Pulse another hefty win

AFTER their dominant display against the Magic on Friday night, the Central Pulse faced a much greater challenge against the Northern Stars. The two teams were going toe to toe, and even though the Stars have never beaten the Pulse there was a sense they could defy the odds and make history. However, after a terrible final quarter the Stars wasted their chance, going down by 10 goals with a score of 46-36, despite leading a three quarter time. This was another gritty display from the Pulse who are proving every game that the hardest thing to beat is a winning mentality. 

From the opening whistle Stars displayed their fluidity and connections throughout the court and showed good patience. Despite the reputation and presence of the Pulse side, the Stars were holding their own and knew they would need to produce something special to beat the reigning champions. The Pulse were a little slower to start than usual, however even a sluggish Pulse side is one to be wary of. The Stars looked determined, and there was a sense that they didn’t want things to go down the way they had when the Pulse played the Magic. The matchup between Grace Kara and Karin Burger was interesting to watch, with Kara using her fake really well to distract Burger and command the attacking end. Pulse were efficiently exploiting the height difference between Aliyah Dunn and Kate Burley with Ameliaranne Ekenasio drawing Storm Purvis out of the goal circle. It was a question of who would break their focus first, and a held ball from Claire Kersten gave the Stars the edge early on. They held strong and a rare miscommunication from the Pulse towards the end of the quarter allowed the Stars to maintain their advantage. They headed into the break with a comfortable three goal lead. 

Pulse came into the second quarter firing and started to make more use of the short, sharp play which they do so well. The Stars were showing great patience in their attack end with Jamie Hume supporting Maia Wilson nicely, despite having Katrina Rore on her like a backpack. Both Stars and Pulse were looking in early to their shooters and finding each other with ease, meaning that the defensive ends weren’t picking up as much ball as usual. As the quarter progressed, the Pulse started to force the Stars on top of each other. Burger caught Kara standing still and waiting for the ball and pulled off a classic intercept which gave the Pulse the lift they needed to go on a run of five. Kelly Jury was having a standout game, racking up six deflections before half time, while Rore had the measure of Hume and was keeping her totally preoccupied. Pulse have proved that when your defensive line are this strong, you can afford for your attack to have an average day at the office. However Stars weren’t ready to give up, and capitalised on a Pulse error to claw back into the game. An unfortunate attacking contact from Maia Wilson meant a beautiful long bomb from Hume was disallowed, and Pulse seized their opportunity to strike, winning the quarter by six goals and heading into the break with a score of 21-19. 

Stars were by no means out of the contest and were determined to get back on top. They had managed to force ten turnovers before half time and were looking confident and hungry to win. Unfortunately for Stars, the Pulse shooters were on form, with Aliyah Dunn having a fantastic game, even earning a deflection, and shooting flawlessly at 100 per cent.

A third quarter change saw Fa’amu Ioane replace Lisa Mather at wing defence and make an impact for the Stars lineup. Mather had coughed up possession three times on transition play and this game was too important to risk giving up easy ball. The Stars defence forced another held ball, and the partnership between Burley and Purvis was really blossoming. This was the start of a comeback from the Stars and they managed to gain momentum and pull into the lead. The Northern side started to entertain the prospect that they could actually win. They held their lead going into the final break, winning the quarter by four goals, and the score was 32-30 to the Stars.

The final quarter was when the Pulse really put their foot down. Tiana Metuarau replaced Maddy Gordon in wing attack, and this change upset the rhythm of the Stars defence, causing them to lose focus. With the ever reliable Ekenasio commanding the side, Pulse set their minds on pulling the score back. Despite the best efforts of the Stars defence, they could not stop Metuarau who was displaying amazing vision and willingness to let the ball go early. An attacking contact from Kara allowed the Pulse to sneak five in a row, and all of a sudden they had all the momentum in their favour. A crucial miss from Wilson enabled the Pulse to further capitalise on their lead and it was just too easy for their shooters to make it to post. In a final roll of the dice, Oceane Maihi – a notorious ball winner – came into goal keeper, and pushed Storm Purvis out to goal defence. Unfortunately it was already too late and the Pulse were out to a 10 goal lead which they held onto for the remainder of the game.

Despite looking like they might manage a win at times, the disastrous 16-4 final quarter was a disappointment for the Stars and doesn’t reflect how well they tested Pulse throughout the game. Accuracy became an issue for Hume, and she finished the game on just 54 per cent. Stars played well, picking up plenty of ball defensively and you can see they have potential to really challenge the top teams. They need to work on closing games out and produce a consistent 48 minute performance when they take on the Tactix in their next game. The Pulse will have a well earned rest and will want to work on starting their game strongly against the Mystics next week to avoid another scare.

>>> PULSE TEAM PAGE

>>> STARS TEAM PAGE

>>> FULL MATCH STATS

Central Pulse 8 | 13 | 9 | 16 (46)
Northern Stars 11 | 8 | 13 | 4 (36)

STARTING SEVEN:

Central Pulse:

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

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 ANZ Premiership preview: Round 7

WITH the ANZ Premiership finals quickly approaching and the battle for third spot in hot dispute expect each team to come out firing and with a real intensity in Round 7. There are a number of key games across the round that will have a huge influence on ladder positioning, while the Magic and Steel will be fighting to keep their seasons alive.

Central Pulse v. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Friday, 24 July

In the first of two games for both teams the Pulse will be hoping to make it nine in a row and impose themselves on the Magic given their prowess across the court and strong connections. Coming off a disappointing loss last round and yet to register a win since the season restart, the Magic will be eager to finally secure a win and prove they have the skill and grit to match it with the best.

The goal circle is one of the most inconsistent areas for the Magic with Kelsey McPhee and Abigail Latu-Meafou still finding their feet and rhythm in attack. Carrying some form of a knee injury throughout last round, McPhee did not have her usual impact on the scoreboard and will be hoping to up the ante in their clash against the Pulse. Latu-Meafou will have to bring her a-game given the form Katrina Rore is in with the Pulse captain showcasing her dominance to nullify her opponent and render them inefficient in the circle with her immense pressure. Her combination with Kelly Jury has steadily developed over the course of the season with the two able to double down on the shooter or roam freely depending on the scenario. With McPhee known for her aerial strength, Jury will have to apply a wealth of pressure in the air to create tips and deflections to upset the flow in attack, something she is known to do.

Around circle edge and through the midcourt, Whitney Souness is the go-to girl for the Magic with the wing attack lightning quick and able to carve up the defence with her fancy footwork. Coming up against her old team, Souness will be eager to put her best foot forward and hit the circle edge with precision and purpose. Standing at 184cm Karin Burger is a challenging prospect for the smaller-sized Souness, with Burger renowned for her three-foot marking and hands over pressure to block the vision of her opponent. It will be up to Ariana Cable-Dixon to help out through the midcourt to alleviate the pressure on Souness and supply ball into the Magic frontline.

With the Central Pulse humming both in attack and defence it will be difficult for the Magic to rattle them and cause an upset, but given the closeness of the competition never say never.

Central Pulse v. Northern Stars
Saturday, 25 July

Looking to keep their winning record intact the Pulse will be keen to get the jump on the Stars with a strong showing. Dropping to fourth on the ladder after losing to the Mystics last round the Stars know how important it is to collect a win to stay in touch with the top of the table with finals closing in. The Stars have key players across the court but will have their work cut out for them against a cohesive and strong Pulse unit.

Down on their accuracy and output at times last week the shooting combination of Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio will be out to make amends. There is no denying that the two have an impressive connection able to tear up the goal circle with their movement and sheer volume to post. Well held against the Tactix last round, Dunn will be keen to showcase her movement and be a commanding figure with her accuracy to post and strength in the air while Ekenasio is a real playmaker in attack. The Stars have no shortage of options in defence with Storm Purvis a real menace with her ability to get hands to ball while goal defence Kate Burley is an excitement machine, able to generate an intercept or turnover out of nothing. The injection of Oceane Maihi is another positive for the Stars with the goal keeper able to come on and impress with her aerial presence and tenacity to go out and hunt the ball, meaning the Pulse will have to be aware of their oppositions whereabouts at all times.

It is a real mix of youth and experience through the midcourt for the Pulse with centre Claire Kersten a key cog with her drive and netball smarts on constant display. She is a real leader both in attack and defence given her ability to run both ways and have a profound impact. The excitement however lies with speedster Maddy Gordon with the young wing attack full of potential and rawness. She is not afraid to take the game on, is strong at the centre pass and has impressive vision to see into the circle time and time again while her athleticism is equally as impressive. The battle between Gordon and Fa’amu Ioane will bring plenty of excitement with Ioane a constant threat with her speed off the mark and read of the play. Centre Mila Reuelu-Buchanan will also need to have a big game if she is to nullify or match the output of Kersten through the middle.

Although in their second game in less than 24 hours the Pulse have a wealth of talent and a number of star bench players such as Tiana Metuarau that can come onto the court and have an influence something they will be counting on to get over the line against a strong Stars side.

Mainland Tactix v. Northern Stars
Sunday, 26 July

Fighting for a spot in the top three both sides know how much this game means and will be hoping to leave nothing to chance. Fatigue could be a factor for the Stars coming off a game the night before while the Tactix will be hoping to use their fresh legs and outrun the Stars to clench the victory and create some separation on the ladder.

Goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau is in ripping form with the defender a constant threat both in the air and at ground level using her speed to gobble up any loose ball. Fakahokotau while not the tallest defender in the league makes up for it with her aerial presence and impressive leap to consistently attack the high ball coming in. Her partnership with Jane Watson allows the Tactix to create a wall in defence and repel the ball each time it comes down the court. Watson boasts both class and netball smarts able to sense when to focus her attention on the goal shooter or tag the goal attack out of the game a method they will have to adapt against the Stars with Maia Wilson the focal point in the goal circle. The towering shooter is the main avenue to goal for the Stars with her prolific nature and accuracy. Wilson will have her work cut out for her against the defensive pairing of Fakahokotau and Watson meaning goal attack Jamie Hume will have to up the ante both in the goal circle and attacking third to hit the scoreboard and draw the attention of the defenders

Through the midcourt the Tactix have a plethora of options that can zip through the middle and cause chaos. Centre Kimiora Poi has taken her game to another level in 2020 with her ball movement, defensive pressure and vision into the circle a couple of key attributes. Since returning from injury, Erikana Pedersen has starred using her dynamic footwork and speed to light up the court and hit the circle edge with precision time and time again. Her ability to create space and thread the needle is second to none connecting with Ellie Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit under the post. Although Samon Nathan is more accustomed to the wing attack position she has found herself in wing defence in recent times making for an interesting potential match-up between the experienced Grace Kara. The Stars captain is a real general in attack with her nous to control the flow and deliver well-weighted passes into the circle.

With the Stars having a quick turnover from the game the night before and up against a strong defensive unit, the Mainland Tactix should have the upper hand. It will ultimately come down to whether or not the Tactix can quell Wilson and then capitalise up the other end.

Southern Steel v. Northern Mystics
Sunday, 26 July

Coming off a topsy turvy round the Steel will be searching for some type of continuity in their game and rhythm in attack. On the other hand the Mystics will be keen to get back on the winners list and rectify their issues from last week with a convincing victory over the Steel.

Still working on their connections in the goal circle with Ellen Halpenny coming in as a replacement for Jennifer O’Connell the Steel are adjusting to her game play and finding what works in attack. The former Silver Ferns shooter is cool, calm and collected under the post able to post a wealth of shots and go at a high accuracy adding plenty of value to the Steel line-up. Most importantly though, she allows Kalifa McCollin to play out in goal attack and ply her trade through the middle third to create that flair and unpredictability. However they will be in for a tough battle as the Northern Mystics boast a high calibre defence. Sulu Fitzpatrick is no mean feat with the goal keeper able to adapt to anything thrown her way thanks to her high netball IQ and impressive skillset to read the unfolding play and take a big intercept. Partner in crime, Phoenix Karaka is also an ominous threat for the Steel with her tenacity and deceptive speed to get to contests and create turnovers. Expect Karaka and Fitzpatrick to exploit the new Steel combinations connection with their intense pressure and skill to isolate goalers.

The Steel have one of the most experienced midcourts in the competition with Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton providing that link between attack and defence. Saunders has impressed with her defensive pressure in recent outings collecting intercepts and deflections aplenty while Crampton has kicked it up a gear in the attacking third with her ball placement and drive to the top of the circle. Conversely the Mystics have a young and inexperienced midcourt with centre Tayla Earle still developing but proving to be a star of the future while the wing defence position often rotates between Australian Emily Burgess and Courtney Elliott.

Given the strong connections across the court the Mystics will be hoping to capitalise and cement second spot on the ladder however the Steel have proven they are no easy beats and have plenty of fight left in them.

Northern Mystics v. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Monday, 27 July

Both in the second game of the round expect both teams to come out firing and desperate to claim another win. Last time the Mystics and Magic went head to head it was the Mystics that came away with a seven goal win a feat they will be hoping to repeat once again and assert themselves as premiership contenders.

The two barometers for their respective sides go head to head with Magic captain Sam Winders likely to match-up against Mystics wing attack Peta Toeava. Winders is a tough competitor, never willing to give an inch and using her turn of speed to cover her opponents every move, something the Mystics will have to be wary of coming into the game. Toeava seems to have the ball on a string and can drag her side back into the contest with her quick release into the circle and nifty footwork both at the transverse line and circle edge. If Winders can shut down and limit Toeava’s influence in attack by blocking her vision and clogging up the space it will set the tone for the Magic and go a long way in rattling the Mystics front end.

Powerhouse Grace Nweke is a thorn in the side of many opposition teams with the 193cm shooter able to dictate the space with her strong holds, clever body positioning and sheer volume to post. Throw in her impressive accuracy and athleticism and the Magic have their hands full in stopping the young goaler at the post. Nweke is the main source to goal with Saviour Tui and Asher Grapes all making cameo appearances but not really troubling the scoreboard. Defensively the Magic have a multitude of options with Georgia Tong oozing athleticism to compete with Nweke in the air while Erena Mikaere has the height, long arms and experience to get in the head of Nweke and offset her game. Holly Fowler is another solid choice inside the defensive circle with her speed off the mark and skill to swat away ball but the Magic will have to work together as a unit if they are to shut down the Mystics.

The Mystics are a complete unit across the court that can explode out of the blocks and apply both attacking and defensive pressure making it hard for the Magic to generate any ball movement.

2020 ANZ Premiership – Young gun focus: Round 6

WITH a host of young talent littered throughout the ANZ Premiership competition Draft Central takes a look at one key player each week. After stunning in Round 5 the player in focus for this week is Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic goaler Abigail Latu-Meafou.

Age: 23
Height: 181cm
Position: GA/GS

It has been a trying season for the Magic, having not won a game since Round 1 before the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to the ANZ Premiership. But Waikato Bay of Plenty seemed to unlock a new lease on life in Round 5 with Latu-Meafou a key reason for that spark in attack with her vision and playmaking skills on show. Although still working on their connections across the court and finding their stride in the shooting circle Latu-Meafou upped the ante in Round 5 proving she is a real threat to be reckoned with when she gets going. Not typically renowned for her high volume of shots, Latu-Meafou increased both her accuracy and volume across the two games to average at 84 per cent, something she will be hoping to replicate once again this week.

Although she did not contribute majorly on the scoreboard in the first game of the round with 14 goals from 17 attempts, her movement and spatial awareness paid dividends for the Magic attack end. Growing her understanding with Kelsey McPhee under the post, Latu-Meafou drew the attention of Northern Stars defenders Oceane Maihi, Storm Purvis and Kate Burley to try and isolate McPhee under the post. The shooter to shooter interplay was clever from the Magic duo, with Latu-Meafou controlling the tempo of the circle with her quick footwork and ball speed and while they did not win they showed strong signs which she built on in the next game.

Up against Silver Ferns defender and Tactix goal defence, Jane Watson the young goal attack did not take a backwards step driving hard into the circle and commanding the ball. The most impressive part of her game however was her confidence on the shot, backing herself from range time and time again despite the wealth of attention she was receiving from Watson converting 23 goals from 27 attempts at 85 per cent. It was a tough battle in the goal circle with Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotau throwing their weight around, clogging up space and contesting every pass, but Latu-Meafou remained cool, calm and collected to keep her head in the game and withstand the mounting pressure. Her composure to think her way through the body-on-body defence and zone style defence was a testament to her netball nous and skill to read the play which she will be hoping to do this round against the Southern Steel.

Her silky movement in the attacking third pairs exceptionally well with dynamic wing attack Whitney Souness with the two able to create space with the ball placement and cleverly executed passes. Fellow midcourter Ariana Cable-Dixon also combines well with Latu-Meafou while the drive and calming presence of Sam Winders allows Latu-Meafou to play with more freedom in attack.

Still honing in her craft there is plenty of upside for Latu-Meafou with the goal attack a true workhorse across the court and able to mount defensive pressure with her three-foot marking. However she can be costly when it comes to penalties racking up a combined 16 which is considerably high given her position on court and something she will be hoping to address in future games. The 23-year-old can sometimes fade in and out of games but will be hoping to build on her impressive form and become more of a commanding force in the goal circle given she has the skillset and smarts to cause havoc and keep the defenders guessing.

2020 ANZ Premiership stats wrap: Round 5

WITH four of the six ANZ Premiership teams playing twice this round, there were some quality matchups and even more impressive compiled stats with teams putting on a show and mostly tight matches to close out Round 5.

A couple of the same repeat performers are back in the stats this week, and while the two top teams in Central Pulse and Northern Mystics only played the one game apiece, the likes of Aliyah Dunn (23 goals from 25 attempts), Ameliaranne Ekenasio (17 from 20) and Grace Nweke (29 from 32) were dominant as ever to post. Defensively the two teams continued to dominate in matches with closer margins than perhaps expected, with their defensive units working hard and combining for 11 (Pulse) and 10 (Mystics) gains apiece credit to Kelly Jury and Phoenix Karaka for the most part. 

Heading to defence, Temalisi Fakahokotau had a high impact, racking up 11 gains across her two matches, joined by fellow goal keepers Erena Mikaere (nine gains) and Kate Burley (six gains), while there were some other solid performers with Te Huinga Selby-Rickit, Holly Fowler, Jane Watson and Oceane Maihi all putting out impressive efforts. When it came to penalty count, Taneisha Fifita and Storm Purvis tallied the most penalties across their two matches with 17 and 15 respectively, though considerably cleaned up their act in their second matches. Through the midcourt, there were some high quality performers across a couple of categories, with the defensive midcourt proving crucial. Claire Kersten only played the one match and did not rack up a heap of assists but was monumental with three intercepts, while Shannon Saunders hit back against the Pulse in her first game with the same stat but did not back it up in her second outing, though did do a bit more work in attack. 

Kimiora Poi’s output was much the same, absolutely starring in her first match with six gains but was kept quiet by Magic captain Sam Winders in the second – who led by example to be our Round 5 Player of the Week thanks to her impact across the two matches. Looking at some of the consistent go-tos, Whitney Souness (34 assists) and Gina Crampton (33) were consistent as ever in attack leading the charge across their respective two games, while Grace Kara topped the individual performance tally with 20 assists in her first match but only racked up 11 in the second. While down on her regular count, Peta Toeava was threatening as ever with 18 pinpoint assists.

Looking to the goal circle, goal attacks Kalifa McCollin and Abigail Latu-Meafou both stood up under pressure this round. Both racking up lower tallies in their first match, Steel’s McCollin had to take the lead in the second match after Jennifer O’Connell (25 goals from 34 attempts) went down with a suspected knee injury, with the Trinidad and Tobago product shooting 27 of her combined 39 goals in the second outing. Magic’s Latu-Meafou impressed in the second match, shooting 23 from 27 compared to her 14 goal first match effort. Speaking of a lift in intensity, full credit to Latu-Meafou’s partner in crime Kelsey McPhee, who was far more consistent with four quarter efforts in both her matches, shooting at 84 per cent for the round. 

Meanwhile, Maia Wilson and Ellie Bird did what they do best, putting volume and accuracy to post. Wilson is as consistent as they come in the goal circle, able to turn and shoot from just about anywhere and proved it again this round with 36 goals in the first game and 39 in the second, shouldering the load with ease at a phenomenal 91 per cent. While her goal attack in Jamie Hume was down on accuracy and volume this round, her 27 assists across the two matches did wonders. Bird only missed 10 goals across her two matches, shooting 50 goals for the round, while Te Paea Selby-Rickit asserted herself on the contest with 35 goals and 23 assists in her two outings.

MORE MATCH STATS:

>> Central Pulse (40) defeated Southern Steel (37)

>> Southern Steel (39) defeated by Northern Stars (48)

>> Northern Stars (45) defeated WBOP Magic (43)

>> Mainland Tactix (41) defeated Northern Mystics (40)

>> Mainland Tactix (46) drew with WBOP Magic (46)

ANZ Premiership – Round 5: Stars fight hard for first back-to-back win

WITH a massive match culminating in a draw last week for the first time in ANZ Premiership history, the Northern Stars and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic went head to head once more in Round 5 with the Stars coming away with a come-from-behind two goal win, 45-43.

Coming off a win on Saturday night, the Stars were looking to build off that victory while the Magic hoped to turn the match on its head, with the first centre pass and score for the game giving them the start they needed. But great aerial work from Kate Burley saw an early turnover for the Stars, seeing the side win back an early centre pass to take out the early lead. Jamie Hume and Maia Wilson started well, with the offensive pair rotating and finding plenty of space and access to ball in the circle early. Despite some minor errors to start, the Magic were composed for the most part, turning over valuable ball down the court but not providing the accuracy the side needed to really take control. With both Magic and Stars playing with plenty of intensity, a lot of play centred around the middle third with a wealth of defensive work both on and off the body.

While the Stars still maintained control, the Magic did not allow any easy passes and consistently provided hands over pressure in the attacking third, putting a lot of pressure on the likes of Grace Kara and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan to position well to send the ball into the circle. The speed of Burley saw the Stars continue to hold ground well, with the young defender cherry picking multiple lobs and setting up some solid drives up through the midcourt. Three goals on the trot to the Magic saw the side draw closer to finish the quarter, trailing 13-10 at the first change.

With control heading into the second, the Stars looked to maintain that same intensity, though a couple of early issues and solid confusion of the space by Sam Winders and Holly Fowler to turn over the ball saw the Magic win a couple goals back to limit access to the Stars goal third. Miscommunication seemed to plague both teams leading to frantic passes across the court, the closeness of the contest was palpable. Jenna O’Sullivan joined the fray to take on Kara midway through the quarter, adding another element in wing defence and the added bonus and experience of Winders from wing defence to centre saw the Magic continue to clog up space well, though Wilson provided a much better target at the post able to draw errors from Erena Mikaere with her quick footwork and keep the Magic at arms length. 

Despite some impressive feeds and effort on the circle from Stars’ Kara and Magic’s Whitney Souness, it was a much more defensive quarter, seeing not as many goals scored and turnovers aplenty. Wasted opportunities and missed connections by the Magic did not see them out of the match however, with Kelsey McPhee and Abigail Latu-Meafou far more accurate to post and applying some impressive pressure on the turnover to limit the Stars’ opportunities to drive down court. But a lack of continuous attacking movement in the Magic goal circle saw some wasted opportunities to finish the quarter, trailing by five at half time, 23-18.

Ariana Cable-Dixon returned in centre to start the second half, injecting a bit more of that attacking pressure up forward for the Magic and an immediate three goals on the trot proved how crucial the 50-gamer can be. Some better movement and stronger holds in the Magic attack also saw better flow in offence, allowing the side to draw back the margin a fraction, consistently keeping the Stars on their toes. Despite having a tough time limiting Wilson’s impact, Mikaere and Fowler won back some crucial ball to see the Stars really take control early to draw level just five minutes into the quarter. Keeping the Stars on the back foot saw the Magic gain some handy confidence, especially in attack. McPhee’s movement improved tenfold, while Latu-Meafou put a bit more pressure on the scoreboard to draw some of the double team away from McPhee at the post. 

The Stars seemed out of sorts, unable to easily stay ahead with a change in defence critical, with Storm Purvis subbed off for Oceane Maihi who immediately caused a turnover. While Hume started well at the post, the goal attack drifted in and out of the game forcing much of the defensive pressure onto Wilson. Meanwhile, fantastic timing on the deflection from Mikaere saw the Magic take the lead for the first time and the side well and truly took advantage of being on the front foot with the next centre, turning the tables to take a three goal lead into the final quarter, 33-36.

The see-sawing affair saw a massive final quarter, with Burley switched out of goal defence for the experience of Purvis once more, though an early turnover from the Magic saw the side get another strong start to extend their lead by two in the opening minutes. Better vision into Wilson and speed in attack saw the Stars regain some control, with Hume’s speed on the assist to Wilson doing wonders though her lack of confidence to post proved tough for the Stars attack to contend with. Meanwhile, patient play in attack from Magic saw McPhee continue to fire on all cylinders, putting on one of her better performances for the season and finding plenty of purchase in attack with her sticky fingers to reel in the ball. 

Wilson’s work rate continued, with Kara continuing to ply her trade out in front. At the other end, Maihi provided some quality effort in defence to see the Stars draw even once more, with a very similar final quarter to last round starting to ensue with five minutes on the clock. Small errors began to plague the Magic, who had maintained much of the control but could not seem to keep it on in the final quarter with a Wilson goal seeing the Stars take the lead, though a timely couple of deflections from Mikaere and goal from Latu-Meafou kept the Magic a step ahead.

But when the score seemed almost sorted, a massive intercept from Maihi saw the Stars take a one goal lead and an intense last 40 seconds saw the see-saw continue, with the Magic regaining possession with a chance to level for another draw before the Stars stole away for another goal to win 45-43.

Opposition tall timbers Wilson and McPhee starred, shooting at 91 and 88 per cent respectively. Wilson was phenomenal as ever with 39 goals from 43 attempts, while McPhee had less volume but was just as impactful with 29 goals to her name. Latu-Meafou’s workrate saw her rack up 14 goals, while Souness and Cable-Dixon shared the load well with 17 and 13 assists respectively on circle edge. In attack for Stars, Hume only shot at 55 per cent but racked up 19 assists, joining forces with the ever impressive Kara who racked up 15 assists and 31 centre pass receives. Defensively, Burley came up with four gains leading to a player of the match award, while Maihi’s two intercepts in her 16 minutes on court were crucial for the side’s victory. Fowler and Mikaere were impressive with five and four gains apiece and fairly consistent at that, while Winders’ two gains did wonders down the midcourt but were ultimately not enough for a winning score. 

Stars play again on Monday evening, taking on Mainland Tactix, while Magic’s next match will be next round when they play both Central Pulse and Southern Steel.

>>>STARS TEAM PAGE

>>>MAGIC TEAM PAGE

>>>FULL MATCH STATS

NORTHERN STARS 13 | 10 | 10 | 12 (45)
WBOP MAGIC 10 | 8 | 18 | 7 (43)

STARTING SEVEN

Northern Stars

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

WBOP Magic

GS: Kelsey McPhee
GA: Abigail Latu-Meafou
WA: Whitney Souness
C: Ariana Cable-Dixon
WD: Sam Winders
GD: Holly Fowler
GK: Erena Mikaere