Tag: vika koloto

2020 ANZ Premiership Preview: Round 3

AFTER an action packed return of netball, teams will be eager to prove that it was not a one off with strong showings in Round 3. The Steel and Magic will both play two games this round with the remainder only taking part in the one game. Arguably the game of the round will be between the two unbeaten teams on Monday with Pulse and Mystics set to go to head to head. 

Mainland Tactix v. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Friday, 26 June

Sitting on a win apiece heading into the round both teams will be searching for some consistency and more importantly their second win of the season. The Tactix had an up and down performance last round, struck down by a tummy bug in their second game which well and truly showed while the Magic simply could not generate enough accuracy to post to worry their opposition. 

With a stacked defensive end the Tactix will be hoping to use their physicality and ball winning abilities to stop the Magic from getting close to post. Copping a knock on her knee early in the last game, all eyes will turn to Jane Watson with the captain a real lynchpin for the Tactix as she can take huge game changing intercepts. After a hot start Temalisi Fakahokotau faded out of the game last round but will be wanting to showcase her prowess once again with her intercepting skills, leap and pressure over the shot to ruffle the feathers of Kelsey McPhee and Abigail Latu-Meafou. The Magic shooters while they had plenty of opportunities struggled to convert and will have their work cut out for them again this round given the immense pressure Fakahokotau and Watson are renowned for.  

The midcourt battle will be another point of interest given the depth and speed that the Tactix have. Kimiora Poi is lightning quick in at centre, able to dart around the court and facilitate that second phase play for her side while also getting back and applying defensive pressure. Wing attack Samon Nathan and Erikana Pedersen also pose a threat for the Magic with their ability to come on and have an immediate impact with their quick ball movement, strength around circle edge and pin point precision passes into the circle. It will be up to Magic captain Sam Winders to really lead the midcourt with her defensive pressure, skill to clog up space and ability to keep her opposition off circle edge. In attack it will be up to Whitney Souness and Ariana Cable-Dixon to deliver the ball on a silver platter to Latu-Meafou and McPhee. 

It will be a tight battle between both sides but if the Tactix are at full strength they should be able to get the job done given the extra experience they have across the court both in attack and defence. 

Northern Mystics v. Southern Steel
Saturday, 27 June

Yet to register a win this season the Steel will be hoping to unlock something in their match-up against the Mystics and get their first “W” on the board. Meanwhile the Mystics will be hoping to keep their unbeaten record intact and notch up their third victory for the season after another impressive outing in Round 2.

With a developing attacking unit the Steel will have to be on their a-game if they are any chance to topple the Mystics. Kalifa McCollin proved to be a real pocket last round and has speed to boot, zipping around the attacking third and creating plays with her flair. The Trinidad and Tobago recruit is not afraid to go to post backing herself from anywhere in the circle and can adapt her game style to suit her fellow goalers. Youngster Georgia Heffernan is still working on her craft but has the potential to come on and have an impact with her athletic style of play and accuracy. While goal shooter Jennifer O’Connell is renowned for her holding shooter role and ability to score quickly and easily, something she will be hoping to capitalise on up against the likes of Sulu Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka. The Mystics defenders are a formidable unit that can pick off passes with ease and use their quick footwork to maneuver around the body of their opponents and create timely deflections. Fitzpatrick is a strong driving force down back with her hands over pressure and aerial ability while Karaka is key through the midcourt. 

After starring in Round with her pace, strength and ball delivery Peta Toeava will be one to watch for the Steel. The Mystics wing attack is a key cog using her balance, impressive vision and variety of passes to seamlessly deliver the ball into the goal circle. Toeava is quick on her feet and strong around the circle edge to demand the ball and dish off well-weighted passes. Fellow midcourter and centre Tayla Earle also starred last week and will be hoping to replicate that form with her defensive pressure to force turnovers and pick off intercepts for the Mystics. Her battle with Shannon Saunders will generate plenty of interest given just how damaging Saunders can be with ball in hand. Her experience, speed and vision is second to none while her connection with Gina Crampton is exceptional. The two know each others game inside out making them extremely difficult to combat given their read of the play and space, stamina and general netball nous. 

Vying for their first win of the season, expect the Steel to throw everything they have at the Mystics in hope of securing that elusive victory. However the Mystics have proven that they have the firepower to withstand challenges and can use their defensive pressure to win ball back and create scoring opportunities. 

Northern Stars v. Southern Steel
Sunday, 28 June

In Steel’s second game of the round the element of fatigue could play a huge factor up against a developing Stars unit who will be still riding that winning wave after downing the Tactix in Round 2. It will be the first time these two sides have met since the final last year where the Stars bundled the Steel out of grand final contention, so expect plenty of feeling in this game. With young players on both sides it will be up to the experienced heads to lead the way and forge a way forward for their team to win. 

The tussle in the goal circle for the Stars will be exciting with Maia Wilson a commanding presence under the post as her strong holds and accuracy to post is hard to combat. Wilson is able to read the play with ease and use her feet to move to the ball or create space in the circle. Still developing her partnership with Jamie Hume and Vika Koloto it will be up to Wilson to shoulder a lot of the scoring load but will have her work cut out for her against Te Huinga Selby-Rickit, Taneisha Fifita and Abby Erwood. Fifita is a real livewire down in defence renowned for her spring in her step and skill to cause confusion with her quick footwork while both Selby-Rickit and Erwood ooze consistency.

Coming off a relatively disappointing outing expect O’Connell to come back with a vengeance and assert herself with her scoring ability. O’Connell can hit the scoreboard quickly and easily given her height and clever body positioning to ward off defenders. Partner in crime, McCollin is the playmaker for the Steel in the goal circle using her turn of speed and spatial awareness to full effect. But Stars defenders Storm Purvis and Kate Burley are no easy beats with the two strong in the air and able to swat away their fair share of ball. Burley impressed last round with her smothering style of play and skill to switch into transition with ease while Storm showcased her skillset to seamlessly push out to goal defence. Another prominent threat for the Stars is the inclusion of Oceane Maihi who is a serious competitor in the air given her leap and strong hands. 

Potentially still on the hunt for their first win the Steel will be eager to secure a win but come up against a strong unit, in the Stars who will be raring to go. With key players across the Stars are in the box seat heading into the contest having already notched up a win. 

Central Pulse v. Northern Mystics
Monday, 29 June

In what could be a battle of the two undefeated teams the clash between the Pulse and Mystics will be one of youth and experience. There is no denying that the Pulse are the team to beat, once again announcing themselves as a powerhouse of the competition last round while the Mystics continue to showcase their composure and pressure each time they step out on court. There will be all-star match ups across the court with both teams littered with Silver Ferns stars making for an intriguing contest.

Young talent Grace Nweke has continued to take the competition by storm, letting her goal scoring do all the talking. Hardly ever out positioned, Nweke is a staple hold for the Mystics under the post with her commanding figure, aerial strength, read of the play and sheer dominance, but could meet her match in fellow youngster Kelly Jury. The Pulse goal keeper really hit her straps last round with her quick footwork, long limbs, lean over the shot and skill to get hands to ball. Throw in defensive comrades in Katrina Rore and Karin Burger and the Pulse are incredibly difficult to match-up on given their ability to shut down space, hunt the ball and suffocate attacking forays. While Nweke is the go to girl for the Mystics the likes of Asher Grapes and Saviour Tui will have to up their output if they are to draw away the defence from Nweke and apply some serious scoreboard pressure. 

Moving down into the defensive end for the Mystics and they too have no shortage of fire power with Fitzpatrick and Karaka. Up against her old side, Fitzpatrick will be desperate to have an immediate impact with her hands over pressure, physicality under the post and intercepting ability. Directly opposed to Pulse goal shooter Aliyah Dunn, Fitzpatrick will have to be on her a-game to stop the high ball release into her with Dunn renowned for her height, ability to reel ball in and nifty footwork along the baseline to hold space. Goal attack Ameliaranne Ekenasio is another huge obstacle for the Mystics defensive unit to conquer with the Silver Ferns goaler in impressive form. Her vision is exceptional, able to see two passes ahead, while her ball placement, turn of speed and strong drives into the circle is second to none. Throw in the fact Ekenasio can shoot from just about anywhere in the circle and is cool, calm and composed with ball in hand and the Pulse are in a commanding position.

With star power across the court and tried and tested combinations the Pulse should reign supreme but the Mystics definitely have the players to cause an upset given their defensive pressure.

ANZ Premiership: Round 2 – Pulse reign supreme in grand final rematch

A LOT has changed between the two ANZ Premiership sides since they last met in the grand final with the likes of Temepara Bailey, Leana de Bruin and Ellen Halpenny both retiring while Kayla Cullen announced her move to the Swifts. Meanwhile, Sulu Fitzpatrick and Whitney Souness both left the Pulse. But that did not seem to matter with both sides leaving no stone unturned and putting on a show in the grand final rematch. The Pulse did not skip a beat in their first game back since the COVID-19 enforced break, trouncing the Stars by 24 goals in what was an impressive all-round performance (63-39).  

The opening quarter lived up to anticipation with the Pulse racing out to a hefty lead before the Stars reeled them back in. Pulse goal attack Ameliaranne Ekenasio got off to a hot start slotting the first four goals of the game before partner in crime Aliyah Dunn got involved in the action. Ekenasio showcased her slick ball movement and demanding presence both in the goal circle and attacking third, receiving what seemed like every second pass and creating attacking forays. Defensively the Pulse were up and about with the Stars unable to penetrate the zone pressure only sinking their first goal three minutes into the match after both Jamie Hume and Maia Wilson missed their opening shots. Newbie Kelly Jury was impressive for the Pulse, using her lean over the shot to get in the head of Wilson, before the talented goaler got things back on her terms, using her strong holds to claim prime position under the post. The Stars worked hard defensively to shut down options and then propel the ball back down court to reduce the margin to two goals but they did not stop there with Hume sinking a long bomb on the buzzer to be within one goal at quarter time. 

With things all tied up in the opening minutes of the second quarter the Pulse quickly put an end to the goal for goal rhythm thanks to Dunn and Ekenasio going on a scoring spree. Dunn showcased her versatility leading outside of the goal circle and driving back hard to goal while youngster Maddy Gordon had a field day in attack with her speed, impressive vision and balance around circle edge. With the ball trapped in Pulse’s attacking third, Stars wing defence Fa’amu Ioane put her hand up using her footwork to try and block Gordon but it was to no real avail while the likes of Kate Burley also imposed herself with her timely tips. The combination of Wilson and Hume in the goal circle was tested but the goal shooter stood up to the pressure, finding the front space with ease. But the Stars simply could not combat the intense pressure from the Pulse who capitalised on every turnover and opportunity that swung their way with a whopping 21 to eight goal quarter. Jury led the defensive end with an impressive intercept credit to her long arms and quick footwork to cover the court. Meanwhile the combination between Dunn and  Ekenasio continued with the two simply undeniable under the post sitting at 100 per cent, testament to their skillset. Dunn found her rhythm under the post, gobbling up everything that came her way, making it look easy.

Renowned as the premiership quarter, the third term lived up to its name with the Pulse applying a wealth of pressure both on the scoreboard and defensively. Once again Jury was straight into the action with an intercept and denying any type of easy ball movement for the Stars. In hope to change things up down back Storm Purvis pushed out to goal defence with Oceane Maihi coming on in goal keeper. Maihi offered plenty of height and aerial ability to challenge the prominent Dunn in the air. Purvis and Maihi made life hard for the first few minutes before the Pulse once again pulled away with Gordon and Claire Kersten leading the way through the middle with their effortless feeds and ridiculous ball speed. The quick transition down court was simply unstoppable with the Pulse linking up with ease and causing all sorts of havoc for the Stars forcing them to chop and change players in centre with Mila Reuelu-Buchanan and Lisa Mather rotating through. In terms of defence Katrina Rore wore Hume like a glove, going with her every step of the way and only allowing the goaler to manage three goals for the quarter while Jury maintained her hunger for the ball, using her spatial awareness and balance to reel ball in and propel it down court with a whopping five intercepts and seven gains in the term alone. 

The fourth quarter followed suit with the Pulse doing everything right and not allowing the Stars any space. There were changes galore for both teams with Tiana Metuarau coming on in wing attack to replace speedster, Gordon. Defensively the Pulse brought on some fresh legs with Renee Savai’inaea and Elle Temu both making their presence felt with the latter notching up an intercept and gain in her 12 minutes on court. Stars youngster Vika Koloto was not overwhelmed by her opponent instead coming on and showcasing her skillset with an early goal and delivering well weighted passes into Wilson. But the changes were simply not enough to quell the steam train that was the Pulse who were slick from start to finish only missing four goals for the entire game. 

Wilson finished with 30 goals from 36 attempts at 83 per cent while Hume managed eight from 11 at 73 per cent. Dunn was a commanding figure with 44 from 46 at 96 per cent while Ekenasio slotted 19 from 21. The defensive efforts of Jury were unmatched with the young goal keeper amassing nine gains and six intercepts with Rore hot on her heels with five gains and an intercept. 

>>> FULL MATCH STATISTICS

>>> PULSE TEAM PAGE

>>> STARS TEAM PAGE

STARTING SEVENS:

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

CENTRAL PULSE:

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

New Zealand Super Club wrap: Day 3

COLLINGWOOD Magpies’ experience in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) showed on Day 3 of the New Zealand Super Club series, winning their final game of the group stage to finish on top, while a dominant display from Central Pulse over the previously undefeated Southern Steel sent a message to the rest of the competition.

Northern Stars (41) defeated by Collingwood Magpies (53)

Collingwood’s dominance within its group continued in the third and final match of the stage, downing Northern Stars by 12 goals to finish on top of its four-team group undefeated. The Magpies had a blistering start to the game, piling on 15 goals to seven in the first term, with Shimona Nelson carrying the entire scoring load from 16 attempts, as wing attack Ella Bayliss was working well in midcourt between the experience of Ash Brazill and Nat Medhurst, picking up seven goal assists. Up the other end of the court, Maia Wilson did not miss from her six attempts,  but as the second quarter showed, the Magpies were just a class above, extending the lead out to 13 goals with a 14-9 second term. Nelson (11 goals) and Medhurst (three) did not miss any of their attempts, while the partnership of Geva Mentor and Matilda Garrett up the other end was forcing turnovers. Wilson added another six goals to her tally, while Lisa Mather was working hard in centre for three goal assists, the same number as Vika Koloto who also scored three goals from four attempts in the quarter. Medhurst and Mentor were rested for the entire second half, while Nelson and Brazill came off for the fourth quarter, with the likes of Brooke Allen and Gabrielle Sinclair coming on to have an impact, while Nyah Allen shot seven goals from eight attempts in the last quarter. The Stars’ more settled line-up came back to reduce the final deficit to 12, but the damage was done by then. Nelson finished the game with 36 goals from 38 attempts, while Brazill had an equal game-high 14 goals assists, two more than Bayliss who was equally impressive. For the Stars, Wilson shot 31 goals from 33 attempts, as Koloto proved a valuable link in the scoring chain for the Stars, helping herself to 14 goal assists from 18 feeds, then going into the circle and shooting four goals from six attempts. Jamie Hume had four goal assists from 12 feeds, while up the other end, Kate Burley was solid in defence, picking up a team-high two rebounds, as well as one intercept and committing just three penalties. Juliana Naoupu also gave spectators a glimpse of her ability to play both the playmaker and target role, shooting six goals from nine attempts with six assists from seven feeds in just a half of action.

Northern Mystics (52) defeated Wasps Netball (31)

In one of the most convincing performances of the tournament to that point, Northern Mystics completely dominated Wasps Netball by 21 goals to record a 52-31 victory in what was crucial to the Mystics topping their group stage. Coming into the match sitting at 1-1, while Wasps were yet to win a game, the Mystics took control in the opening term, adding 13 goals to eight. Talented teenager Grace Nweke was surprisingly left on the bench, as Saviour Tui (seven goals from seven attempts) and the experienced Silver Ferns shooter in Bailey Mes (six from seven) both took control, while Elisapeta Toeava had a massive seven goal assists from 12 feeds to be the difference. Up the other end, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson was working hard to limit the supply to veteran Wasps’ shooter Rachel Dunn who could not miss in the opening term, nailing all of her eight attempts. The second term was even more dominant than the first for the Mystics, as they added a further 14 goals to six to lead by 13 at half-time. Tui (10 from 12) and Mes (four from four) were proving difficult to contain, while the addition of Phoenix Karaka in the defensive goal circle to join Sokolich-Beatson was impressive. Dunn scored five from six in the term, but the limited chances and turnovers in the midcourt – 10 turnovers to five – meant the Wasps were unable to retain possession. Nweke hit the court for the first time in the second half to replace Mes, while the move of English Roses’ midcourter Jade Clarke into centre worked wonders for the Wasps, having four goal assists from 11 feeds, setting up for Dunn (seven goals from nine) and Katie Harris (four from five), as the Wasps limited their turnovers and forced the Mystics to make a few errors (eight turnovers). The final quarter saw the Wasps decide to throw all the youth on, with Dunn and Clarke rested, and the Mystics regained control with a 14-6 final term to run out comfortable winners. Tui shot 23 goals from 25 attempts for the Mystics, while Nweke managed 19 from 24 despite only playing a half. Toeava had 13 goal assists from 20 feeds, while Karaka finished with a game-high intercepts in the story of the match with the Mystics finishing with 12 intercepts to zero. For the Wasps, Dunn was the standout with 20 goals from 23 attempts, while Alexia Baker (nine goal assists from 13 feeds, but 10 turnovers) and Amy Flanagan (eight goal assists from 16 feeds) were always working hard to get the ball through to the circle.

Mainland Tactix (43) defeated by Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (51)

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic earned second spot in their group, bouncing back from a Day 1 loss to Collingwood to earn back-to-back wins over Northern Stars and Mainland Tactix. The Magic did not have it all their own way, but a strong first term saw them move six goals clear at the first break. Kelsey McPhee shot eight goals from 12 attempts for the Magic, while partner-in-crime Abigail Latu-Meafou had six from eight, with Silver Ferns’ representatives Whitney Souness (seven goal assists from 10 feeds) and Samantha Sinclair forming a formidable midcourt. For the Tactix, Ellie Bird did the bulk of the scoring with seven goals from eight attempts, while the midcourt was struggling with retaining possession, having seven opening quarter turnovers, as well as 18 penalties, with goal keeper Sophia Fenwick committing 10 of those. The second quarter was more even as the Tactix settled into the game – Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit both added five goals each to the score, while Kimiora Poi was starting to influence the game with her movement in midcourt, producing six goal assists from eight feeds. McPhee was still proving a handful for the Tactix defenders, sinking nine goals from 11 attempts, while Latu-Meafou played the role of playmaker perfectly, sinking all three attempts and helping her teammate with seven assists from as many feeds. Both sides made some changes in the second half, with Latu-Meafou rested in favour of Georgia Marshall who scored from all five of her attempts, while converting her three feeds into assists. Despite this, the Tactix took control with elite shooting as Bird and Selby-Rickit did not miss from their 12 attempts. Poi (five assists from nine feeds) and Samon Nathan (four from seven) were also influencing the contest, cutting the deficit back to six at the final break. To ensure there was no comeback, the Magic shuffled the magnets in the final term with Sinclair heading to wing defence and Souness moving back to centre, allowing Ariana Cable-Dixon to enter the fray and have four goal assists from five feeds, with Marshall (five goals from seven assists) and McPhee (10 from 10) get the side back in control. They won the term 15-13 and enjoyed the eight-goal victory. Overall, it was the the composure with the ball in the first term that proved the difference for the Magpies, as McPhee finished with 32 goals from 40 attempts, while Souness (18 goal assists from 26 feeds) was crucial through the midcourt. For the Tactix, Selby-Rickit (20 goals from 22 attempts) and Bird (19 from 21) showed what they could offer as a partnership in the goal circle this season, while Poi showed once she settles into the game she can be a special player, having 18 assists from 23 feeds.

Central Pulse (51) defeated Southern Steel (28)

In the final game of the day, Central Pulse sent a message to group toppers Southern Steel, smashing their ANZ Premiership opponents by 23 goals. In a defensive effort that was almost beyond belief, the Pulse restricted the Steel to a combined seven goals in the first and fourth quarters, winning three of the four terms in a dominant display. The first term had plenty of spectators take notice of what the Pulse could do this season as ANZ Premiership favourites, with a full strength side really taking control. Ameliaranne Ekenasio continued her great form with six goals from eight attempts and three assists from six feeds, working well in partnership with Aliyah Dunn (eight goals from nine assists). Maddy Gordon was a key cog in the machine with seven goal assists from nine feeds in wing attack, as six general play turnovers from the Steel proved costly. Shooting at just 33.3 per cent, the Steel could only manage three goals for the term, as the most dominant defensive goal circle in the ANZ Premiership – Karin Burger and Katrina Rore had a combined three rebounds and one intercept for the term. The second term was a complete reversal for the Steel, showing why they were undefeated in the tournament to that stage, posting 12 goals from 14 attempts, and limiting the Pulse to just 10 attempts – of which Dunn and Ekenasio nailed all of them. Shannon Saunders had six goal assists from 10 feeds in wing attack after a disappointing first term, while Kate Heffernan worked hard in centre. The third term saw the Pulse take control once again, and extend the lead out to 16 goals at the final break courtesy of a 14-9 quarter. Ekenasio shot nine goals from 10 attempts with Dunn having four from six, earning a rest to give Tiana Metuarau (one from one and eight goal assists from nine feeds) a chance to shine. Kalifa McCollin was working hard for the Steel by converting all of her four chances and three feeds, with the coaching staff moving around the defensive end to give Abby Erwood and Della-May Vining a chance. The pair only committed a combined two penalties between them against a dominant shooting combination. The Steel returned to the defensive combination of Te Huinga Selby-Rickit and Taneisha Fifita for the final term, but looked helpless to stop the machine of the Pulse, with Ekenasio even rested for the final term, and Rore earning a break. Dunn shot nine goals from 10 attempts, while Metuarau had four from five and seven goal assists. Overall, Ekenasio finished with 20 goals from 23 attempts, as well as seven goal assists from 10 feeds, while Dunn (26 from 30) was also prolific. Metuarau and Gordon combined for 31 assists from 38 feeds, while Burger had four intercepts and three rebounds in a dominant defensive effort. For the Steel, Jennifer O’Connell played her role by shooting 17 goals from 23 attempts, while Saunders had nine assists from 21 feeds, but the Pulse were just too dominant across the court.

Semi-Finals:

Collingwood Magpies vs. Central Pulse
Northern Mystics vs. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

New Zealand Super Club wrap: Day 2

IT was an action packed Day 2 of the Super Club tournament with the Central Pulse getting on the board with a convincing win over Vitality Super Netball League team Wasps Netball. Collingwood Magpies kept their winning streak alive notching up another victory while the Southern Steel and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic also registered a win.

Southern Steel (45) defeated Northern Mystics (41)

Both sides could not be separated throughout the first half all tied up at 24 goals apiece proving just how close the match was. But they call it the premiership quarter for a reason with the Steel going on a scoring spree to pile on 13 goals to seven in the third to all but set up the win. The new look goal circle for the Steel took a while to kick into gear but once they found their feet they managed to score with ease a relatively high accuracy sitting at a combined 75 per cent. Jennifer O’Connell led the way under the post with 20 goals from 26 attempts while Kalifa McCollin was the most accurate of the lot with 10 goals from 11 attempts at 91 per cent. Kate Heffernan was strong through the midcourt hitting the circle edge with ease racking up 13 feeds while her defensive efforts were equally as impressive amassing two intercepts, six gains and five deflections. Once again goal shooter Grace Nweke stood tall owning the circle with her imposing figure, clever positioning and accuracy scoring 35 goals from 40 attempts. Bailey Mes and Saviour Tui both struggled to trouble the scoreboard but played a key role out the front feeding the ball into Nweke.  Defensively Sulu Fitzpatrick and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson put up a wall blocking any easy entrance into the goal circle with Sokolich-Beatson really putting in the hard yards and reaping the rewards with six gains, two intercepts and nine deflections. Despite their defensive efforts it was not enough to nullify the rotating goal circle of the Steel who ultimately proved too strong.

Northern Stars (39) defeated by Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (53)

It was a disappointing outing for the Stars; were well beaten by the Magic who came out with a real fire in the belly from the first whistle. The Magic put their foot down in the second quarter keeping their opponents to a mere four goals compared to their 14 highlighting their ability to sense the moment and capitalise. Kelsey McPhee led the charge in attack with the goal shooter proving to be the go to girl thanks to her composed nature, control of the ball and accuracy sitting at 92 per cent with 35 goals from 38 attempts. She paired well with Abigail Latu-Meafou out the front while the addition of Georgia Marshall and Khiarna Williams in the fourth quarter paid dividends only missing one goal between them. Whitney Souness was integral through the midcourt using her speed to deliver ball into the goalers. Up the other end Jenna O’Sullivan showcased her defensive prowess picking up six gains, one intercept and five deflections. The Northern Stars had their moments and mounted somewhat of a comeback bringing on towering goaler Maia Wilson in the second half who provided a key target under the post and most importantly did the job converting 21 of her 23 attempts at 91 per cent. But fellow shooters Juliana Naoupu, Vika Koloto and Jamie Hume who rotated through the circle struggled to have the same impact and accuracy. Storm Purvis plied her trade in defence working hard to get hands to ball with three gains and an intercept to her name while Kate Burley also provided plenty of excitement across the defensive third with three gains and two intercepts.

Mainland Tactix (38) defeated by Collingwood Magpies (51)

The Trans-Tasman clash saw the Magpies prevail after a tight tussle in the first quarter. Collingwood struggled to get separation early but upped the ante in the following quarters to secure their second win of the tournament. Goal attack and fan favourite Nat Medhurst claimed player of the match honours after her impressive efforts slotting 14 goals from 17 attempts at 82 per cent along with 17 goal assists highlighting her high workload across the court. Medhusrt paired exceptionally well with Shimona Nelson who showcased her aerial ability and improved accuracy only missing four out of her 37 shots at 89 per cent while new training partner Nyah Allen made a solid cameo appearance in the final term to sink four from five. Geva Mentor and Matilda Garrett were on song once again with the defensive duo causing confusion and contesting the ball in the air amassing seven gains, three intercepts and six deflections such is their prowess. But Brooke Allan was not about to be outdone by Mentor imposing herself in the goal circle while Melissa Bragg also came to play shutting down the likes of Samon Nathan and Jess Prosser. For the Tactix Ellie Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit showed plenty of promise with the two flicking the ball around the circle to reposition and score. Bird set the tone holding strong and commanding the ball with her height while piling on 22 goals and Selby-Rickit put on 12 goals. Up against her old side- albeit a replacement player for Collingwood, Kimiora Poi proved her worth donning the centre bib and running both ways to provide an offensive and defensive option. But the Magpies were simply too strong and outclassed their opponents at almost every turn.

Central Pulse (56) defeated Wasps Netball (39)

After dropping their first game of the Super Club, Central Pulse did not want to make that mistake twice bringing out the big guns to run rampant against international rivals Wasps. Pulse were in control from the get-go setting the tempo of the game and dictating the flow of play credit to key players such as goal shooter Aliyah Dunn and Katrina Rore. Dunn only played three quarters but had a huge influence on the rhythm of the game with Maddy Gordon and Clare Kersten finding her with ease under the post. Dunn slotted 27 goals from 28 attempts at 96 per cent, while Ameliaranne Ekenasio took the court for the first time this tournament and did not skip a beat converting 14 of her 15 attempts. Pulse proved accuracy and rotation was no issue with Tiana Metuarua also sitting at 94 per cent while for the Wasps volume and variety seemed to be the underlying issue. Rachel Dunn led the Wasps contingent with 34 goals from 40 attempts but struggled to get support from the likes of Katie Harris (five from eight) and youngster Alexia Baker who made her debut. Josie Huckle and Hannah Knights failed to control the explosiveness of the Pulse shooters while on the other hand, Karin Burger, Elle Temu and Rore played their role shutting down the free reign in attack and picking off passes. Temu provided a real spark in defence pick pocketing opponents to rack up five gains, one intercept and six deflections.

New Zealand Super Club wrap: Day 1

DAY 1 of the New Zealand Super Club tournament saw some surprise losses and the rise of young stars putting their name on the international netball map. The Magpies got their campaign off to a hot start in the first game of the series while fellow international invitees the Wasps did not have the same fortune going down to the Steel. ANZ Premiership champions, Central Pulse dropped their opening match, with the Northern Mystics getting the wood over competition favourites early.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (33) defeated by Collingwood Magpies (52)

Collingwood led from the get-go all but doubling their opponents score in the opening quarter and did not let up for the remainder of the game. The Magic failed to combat the Magpies star-power in Geva Mentor who notched up seven gains, one intercept and five rebounds clearly denying any easy access into the circle for her opposition goalers. The addition of Brooke Allan brought plenty of spark to the Collingwood line-up, while goal defence Matilda Garrett staked her claim with a strong performance against the likes of Abigail Latu-Meafou picking up three gains, one intercept and six deflections. The Magic struggled to find a way forward credit to the Magpies strong defensive wall with Latu-Meafou only converting 11 goals from 16 attempts while partners-in-crime Kelsey McPhee (12 from 18 attempts) and Georgia Marshall (10 from 12) could not post a high enough total to keep in touch with their opposition. It was a clinical performance by the Magpies who were led by goal shooter Shimona Nelson who nailed 41 goals from 44 attempts at 93 per cent efficiency, while Gabby Sinclair played a nice cameo role with nine goals from 12 attempts. After making the switch from premiership winning side Pulse, Whitney Souness found her feet through the midcourt pairing well with Ariana Cable-Dixon and Sam Sinclair but it was not enough to get her side the win against a relatively full-strength Collingwood line-up.

Southern Steel (50) defeated Wasps Netball (36)

From the first whistle, the Steel had a point to prove racing out of the gates and scoring with ease able to transition from defence to attack in seconds. The Steel had no issues exploiting the gaps and capitalising on any turnover ball against Vitality Netball Super League team, Wasps in what was a convincing performance throughout. Despite boasting a highly experienced team with some key players, the Wasps struggled to make inroads against a dominant Steel team that would simply not give up led by the likes of Jennifer O’Connell in the goal circle with a team high 24 goals from 26 attempts at 92 per cent efficiency. Fellow shooter Kalifa McCollin followed that same vein of form only missing one of her 15 attempts while Georgia Heffernan also hit the scoreboard but not with the same accuracy nailing 12 goals from 19 attempts. Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton were up to their usual tricks through the midcourt slicing through the opposition defence and hitting the circle edge with ease. For the Wasps Jade Clarke stood tall switching between wing attack and centre, using her signature ball movement to penetrate the goal circle and create attacking forays with Roses goaler Rachel Dunn on the end of most deliveries thanks to her clever positioning. Dunn made the most of her opportunities under the post sitting at 88 per cent accuracy, with 29 goals to her name from 33 attempts.

Central Pulse (39) defeated by Northern Mystics (49)

The Northern Mystics had a point to prove and they well and truly proved it thanks to young gun and star goal shooter Grace Nweke who put on a clinic under the post. Nweke singlehandedly sliced up the Pulse defence with her dynamic footwork, strong holds and aerial ability. She carried the load in the goal circle sinking 37 goals from her 44 attempts at 84 per cent efficiency, meanwhile Bailey Mes and Saviour Tui chipped in to keep the scoreboard ticking over. The attacking end seemed to have all the answers despite being up against an ‘A’ grade defensive unit of Katrina Rore and Karin Burger who are both renowned for their physicality and ability to hunt the ball while up and coming defender Elle Temu also got some valuable court time. Up against her old team, goal keeper, Sulu Fitzpatrick pulled out all the stops defensively to quell the influence of towering shooter Aaliyah Dunn. Fitzpatrick and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson worked well to confuse the space and get hands to the high ball coming in, amassing 10 gains, five intercepts and nine deflections collectively. Silver Ferns goal attack Ameliaranne Ekenasio did not make an appearance for the Pulse leaving the shooting load to Dunn who converted 36 goals from 34 attempts at 77 per cent and youngster Tiana Metuarau who did a wealth of work out the front but was a bit shaky on the shot sitting at 13 from 21 at 62 per cent.

Mainland Tactix (46) defeated Northern Stars (43)

It was a high intensity filled final game of the day with the Mainland Tactix prevailing by a mere three goals after trailing in the first quarter. The Tactix worked their way back into the contest to edge ahead when it counted with new recruit Te Paea Selby-Rickit combining well with Ellie Bird in the goal circle to cause havoc for the Stars defenders in Storm Purvis, Kate Burley and Oceane Maihi. Despite only being on for a half Purvis made her presence felt Bird used her commanding presence to receive the ball and capitalise scoring 23 goals from 28 attempts while Selby-Rickit notched up 15 goals from 19 attempts in her debut game. Temalisi Fakahokotau was stellar down in defence for the Tactix picking up four gains, one intercept and five deflections highlighting her defensive prowess and ability to stand up under pressure. The Stars had a heavy rotation of shooters with Juliana Naoupu, Vika Koloto, Jamie Hume and Maia Wilson all influencing the scoreboard with Wilson the biggest contributor with 17 goals from 21 attempts at 81 per cent efficiency. Hume made herself useful switching between goal attack and wing attack meanwhile youngster Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was influential through the midcourt using her speed and strong connection with Wilson to deliver well weighted passes into the circle. But the Stars fell away in the dying minutes of the game unable to maintain their early intensity.