The Northern Mystics have done it, they have beaten the Mainland Tactix and won their first Grand Final in 10 years, 61-59.
To say this game was close is an understatement, it was nerve-wracking, jumping off the couch exciting and a fantastic representation of netball.
Right from the very first centre pass Northern Mystic’s GS, Grace Nweke, showed composure, confidence and skill.
She had done her homework on Tactix defenders Jane Watson and Karin Burger, holding higher than usual and angling herself to collect those perfect passes from Peta Toeava.
Nweke also wasn’t afraid to contest the ball against the Silver Ferns Defenders, asking for the ball over their heads and effectively sending them to the floor or a contact call.
Her display of strength in this Grand Final is the complete opposite to the goal shooter we saw in Round 1 and with Noeline Taurua watching closely in the stands, Nweke has put her hand up quite strongly for that Silver Ferns Goal Shooter bib.
In the attacking end, the other stand out for the Mystics was MVP, Peta Toeava.
Toeava finished the game with 33 goal assists, 41 feeds and 3 pickups but that doesn’t account even begin to describe the amount of work Toeava did in this Grand Final.
Toeava completely shut down Mainland Tactix, Charlotte Elley and also put defensive pressure on Burger on the defensive transverse line.
There wasn’t a play made without Toeava touching it or directing traffic when she was on the court.
Despite their fantastic performance, Mystics head coach, Helene Wilson, credited the work of every Mystics player for the pair to shine.
“Netball is a team sport and for Grace and Peta to shine others have to have contributed,” Wilson said in the post-match interview.
And she is absolutely not wrong, the connections from every Mystics player is something that a team can only dream for.
It was slick, clean and looked effortless, Jenny Woods commenting that it often only took the Mystics five seconds to go from Centre Pass to a Nweke goal.
For the Mainland Tactix, it was a different story with a lot of grind and pure determination to take this game to the wire.
Jane Watson and Karin Burger took some time to find their feet in the first and second quarter but once they did it was like watching poetry with some of the cleanest intercepts and highest jumps the league has seen.
Yet the 7 gains, 4 intercepts and 6 deflections just couldn’t be converted quick enough by the Tactix shooters, Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Ellie Bird.
Often the shooting duo put everyone on seat’s edge as they missed the first attempt only to collect the rebound and deliver the goal.
In fact, Jenny Woods and Adine Wilson both pointed out the Tactix had more attempts at shots than the Mystics, 74 attempts to 63.
It was a devastating loss however Kimiora Poi was a standout often inserting herself into the game to break the rhythm that the Mystics had gotten into and bring some firepower back to the Tactix side.
If anyone was to sum up how the Tactix felt after that game it was the captain Jane Watson; during the Medal Ceremony where emotionally she commended the Mystics for their game and told the side that they were going to come back fighting next year.
“We’re going to have to come back better next year to stop Grace,” Watson said.
During the ceremony both teams acknowledged New Zealand as a bilingual country speaking in both English and Te Reo and some beautiful words were said from both Sulu Fitzpatrick and Jane Watson.
After the game Fitzpatrick mentioned how this was only the beginning for her side and the plan is to build and keep building.
So that’s a wrap for the ANZ Premiership 2021 season, the closest season yet. Let us know in the comments who you are looking forward to in 2022.
Categories: ANZ Premiership