THE ANZ Premiership returns this week after an enforced hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The break has done wonders for some teams allowing them to iron out issues and give time for players to focus on recovery. However some teams return to the season a little different than how they entered the 2020 season. Draft Central takes a look back at the Round 1 action, 2019 season and what has changed over the last couple of months.
Coach: Amigene Metcalf
Captain: Sam Winders
2019 finish: 4th
The Magic got off to a hot start in 2020 claiming a six goal win against the Steel showcasing just how strong they are and the star power they have across the court. While 2019 was an up and down season, the recruitment of fresh faces in 2020 will hopefully see Waikato Bay push up the ladder and really challenge the top teams as shown in the opening round of action back in March. The Magic will be eager to prove it was not a one off and continue their strong form for the remainder of the season.
With all players available from Round 1 and no injuries throughout the lockdown period the Magic are in a strong position heading into the season restart. While Abigail Latu Meafou managed to make her way back to New Zealand after returning home to Australia throughout the lockdown, Georgia Marshall has not been so lucky with the young goaler stuck in Australia. Unsure of when she will be able to rejoin the Magic, Marshall’s absence could have a huge impact on Waikato Bay and their ability to play out consistent games on a weekly basis. Although Marshall is yet to take the court the exciting goaler has plenty of potential while Latu-Meafou has steadily built into the Magic line-up over the past couple of years and will be hoping to have an impact once again on court given the hot start to the season.
With a wealth of talented players across the court and speed through the midcourt the Magic will be hoping to capitalise on their opponents and catch them off guard. They are quite a young team with Sam Winders one of the leading figures on court at just 24 years old. The speedy and defensive minded midcourter is a commanding presence while Whitney Souness can light up the court with her dynamic change of direction and attack on the circle edge. Throw in the experience of Ariana Cable-Dixon and the Magic have a strong core group of players. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic have proven that they have the ability to mix it with the best and will be hoping to perform on a consistent basis with Kelsey McPhee a strong option under the post with her height and accuracy.
In her first season back at the Magic and second game with the side, talented defender Erena Mikaere will be looking forward to stepping back out on court and asserting herself with her hands over pressure and intimidating lean. Standing at 192cm the defender is able to get her hands to her fair share of ball and win it back. Mikaere is quick on her feet and can confuse the space with her change of direction and zone style of play. She is not often out-positioned under the post making her a commanding figure for the Magic this season.