ANZ Premiership: Round 3 Recap

Mystics vs Pulse

MVP: Tayla Earle

Photo: Auckland Sports Photography

Round three of the ANZ Premiership got underway at Trusts Arena in Auckland with the Mystics taking on the Pulse. The Mystics attacking was firing. The fast ball speed and height on the feed from Peta Toeava and Claire O’Brien allowed the Mystics to get out to a 20-17 lead at the first quarter break.

With the Mystics attacking and dominating the first quarter, the Pulse defenders attempted to change their fate winning back plenty of ball for their team. The combination of Kelly Jury and Kristiana Manu’a were able to use their vertical elevation to contest and win the ball off the Mystics. Down the other end of the court, Tiana Metaurau and Aliyah Dunn were to use their crafty court work and accurate shooting to bring the Pulse back into the game. The dominance of Pulse in the second quarter allowed the visitors to go into the halftime break leading, 33-30.

The third quarter opened with a chaotic and error-filled period of play -both teams showing their determination to win. The final quarter had the small 200-person crowd yelling in support of the Mystics. Tayla Earle sparked the Mystics’ comeback with three flying interests in close succession – earning her the Player of the Match honours. Within the final minute the Pulse were down by one and as they looked to draw the game in the dying seconds – Sulu Fitzpatrick intercepted Whitney Souness’s pass to Aliyah Dunn to secure the Mystics’ second win against the Pulse.

When speaking with Mystics vice-caption, Michela Sokolich-Beatson after the game she said that she was “disappointed in our performance but glad to get the win at home”. 

She said that this was “very important because you play everyone three times so to get two wins against the same team is crucial in terms of the ladder”.

This game marked the first home game for the Mystics in season 2022 and Sokolich-Beatson said that they were able to “harness the energy of the crowd in the last five minutes … when we started coming back they started to get loud and that really made a difference”. 

Steel vs Stars

MVP: Shannon Saunders

Photo: Michael Bradley Photography

We were treated to two games of ANZ Premiership netball on Sunday afternoon, the second game of the afternoon was the Steel taking on the Stars at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin. 

This round three clash was a battle between Silver Ferns wing attacks with both Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton on fire for their respective teams. The Steel were able to play their traditional possession netball that we are so used to seeing, resulting in George Fisher scoring a  whopping 51 from 52 goals. 

The young Steel defenders, Renee Savai’inaea and Kate Burley were able to combine for seven intercepts between the pair.  Savai’inaea got into the game early on, with two big intercepts in the first quarter. Not only was the Wing Defence able to win back ball for the home side but she was key for the Steel’s transition from defence to attack.

The Stars were again a depleted team with Emma Iverson being pulled out of retirement to assist the Stars. Due to the COVID-19 Policy and injuries the Stars were missing Anna Harrison, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan and Lisa Mather. This however meant we got to see Kayla Johnson return to the ANZ Premiership court for the first time in over two years.  

In the second quarter while the Steel ran away with the game, the Stars looked uncharacteristic with ball in hand and making errors resulting in 8 turnovers and 11 penalties. 

Although not leading on the scoreboard the Stars had some wonderful moments in the game.  The combination between Maia Wilson and Jamie Hume continued to impress with Wilson shooting at  92% accuracy and Hume being able to sink shots from anywhere in the circle. The pair were being fed some lovely ball consistently throughout the game by Gina Crampton who was able to feed with accuracy and pace –  allowing the ball to reach the shooters before the keen Steel defenders were able to get their hands on it. 

However the Steel proved too strong for the Stars with their quick passess, impeccable second phase to find George Fisher with ease and her ability to just turn and score. The Southerners bounced back after their disappointing loss to the Mystics, becoming victorious over the Stars –  52-42 with captain Shannon Saunders taking the title of player of the match. 

Magic vs Tactix

MVP: Karin Burger

Photo: Michael Bradley Photography

The third and final match of round three was the Magic hosting the Tactix at Trust Power Arena in Tauranga. Both teams were desperate for the win as they sat fifth and sixth on the ladder prior to the beginning of the round. 

The Magic took the court with Ameliaranne Ekenasio in her familiar position of Goal Attack and in the first quarter she was able to settle into the game alongside Bailey Mes in Goal Shooter. Ameliaranne Ekenasio took control of the Magic attacking end – asserting her leadership and showing her incredible playmaking ability.  Both teams were slow to settle into the game and the opening period was full of uncharacteristic mistakes from both the Magic and Tactix. The Tactix came into the game late in the first quarter and took the lead 14-11 going into the first break. 

In the second quarter, the Magic were able to pull back the Tactix lead and were playing goal for goal, for most of the second quarter. Bailey Mes was able to use her verticle leap and athleticism to outjump the defenders and pull in the ball which provided her team with confidence when she had the ball in hand. This assisted the Magic in overcoming the first-quarter lead that the Tactix had built, and the home team were leading 28-27 at halftime.

For the Tactix in the first half, Karin Burger wowed with her high work rate and amazing hops to challenge and contest the opposition’s hands. Not only was she able to create some doubt in the Magic feeders’ minds but she was key to the Tactix through court transition. 

At the start of the second half, Arianna Cable-Dixon made her return to the ANZ Premiership after the birth of her daughter. She was able to slot into the Magic lineup seamlessly, feeding Mes and Rowland with ease.  It became a game of attackers as there was very little turnover ball to be won. Both teams had precision passing and accurate shooting – putting on an attacking masterclass for the viewers. The Tactix moved Karin Burger out to wing defence, to add some extra height to their defensive circle. Samon Nathan used fakes to open up the shooters in the circle and put in perfectly weighted and placed passes into Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Ellie Bird and they utilised errors from the Magic to take the lead once again 44-39. 

In the last quarter, the Magic rolled the dice and Georgie Edgecombe returned to the court in wing attack whilst Sam Winders moved to centre and Claire Kersten moved to wing defence and the Tactix took every opportunity to assert their dominance and exploit the gaps in their positional changes. Even at wing defence,  Karin Burger was able to cause chaos for the Magic attackers, disrupting the feed into the shooters and stopping the centre pass from being received.  Down the other end of the court, Ellie Bird and  Te Paea Selby-Rickit were able to use their awareness of each other and the space to use clever shooter to shooter passes to trick the Magic defence.  While it was hard fought down to the last second the Tactix proved to be too strong, taking their first win of the 2022 season, 61-54. 

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