Mystics vs Tactix
MVP: Phoenix Karaka
It was a scrappy start to the game as the Mystics took on the Tactix at Pulman Arena in Auckland. This game marked two milestones for the Mystics, it was both Grace Nweke and Tayla Earle’s fiftieth game. The Mystics were the team to settle into their rhythm early – allowing them to break away from the Tactix in the opening minutes. The Tactix were able to fight their way back into the game, pulling up level with the Mystics. Within the final minutes of the quarter, the Mystics pulled ahead in the final minute to take a slim two-goal advantage into the second quarter.
The Mystics extended their lead early in the second quarter. The Tactix were able to show this speedy through court transition but weren’t always able to capitalise on their turn over the ball. The Mystics increased their defensive pressure and kept their score ticking over to lead at halftime – 32-25.
Coming into the second half, the Tactix added some height into their circle with the inclusion of Kate Lloyd in goal defence. The Tactix were unable to win back the ball off the Mystics attackers. The Mystics further extended their margin – looking untouchable for the Tactix to get back into the game. The Mystic led at three-quarter time 55-40.
Increased defensive pressure forced the Tactix to make errors that the Mystics capitalised on. The Mystics were able to turn to their bench throughout the game whilst still remaining in control of the game. They were able to play their own style and brand of netball, both in attack and defence. With turnover after turnover, the Tactix struggled to convert off their own centre pass. The Mystics secured a dominant victory 70-51 over the Tactix.
Stars vs Magic
MVP: Anna Harrison
It was a day for milestones on Saturday, the Stars’ celebrated Anna Harrison’s 150th game when they took on the Magic at Pullman Arena in Auckland. The Magic were able to lead early in the game as they capitalised on their defensive gains. Patience was key for the Magic as the Stars started to pile on the pressure down their attacking end. Just as the Magic had done, the Stars’ had a flurry of goals to cut back the Magic’s lead. Some quick through court transition had the Stars’ back level – though the Magic extended this out to two by quarter time.
The Magic lead going into the second quarter 14-12. It was a battle of defenders – both defensive ends were out hunting for intercepts. The Stars’ had nine gains by halftime whereas the Magic had eight. The Stars had the better of the second quarter as they went into the second half leading by three – 24-21.
The Stars’ flew through court on their transition passages of play. They were out hunting for intercepts and forcing the Magic to make crucial errors on defence. Elle Temu was impressive yet again with her read of the game, coming up with gain after gain. The lead that the Stars’ had created started to creep away from the Magic. The Magic were only able to score seven goals in the third quarter. The Stars’ led 37-28 going into the final quarter.
The Stars through court defence slowed the Magic right down when trying to convert turnovers. The Magic made a late charge in the last quarter, but it was too late for the visitors. Both teams had patches of brilliance throughout the game, but it was the Stars that were victorious. The Stars took home the premiership points with their win over the Magic 47-39.
Magic vs Tactix
MVP: Te Paea Selby-Rickit
It was a physical battle at Pulman Arena in Auckland on Sunday as the Magic took on the Tactix. Throughout the first quarter, the Magic gained momentum but the Tactix were able to respond to the pressure that the Magic put on them. The Magic remained calm in attack to break through the intense Tactix defence. The Magic went into the second quarter with a slim one-goal lead – 16-15.
The Magic defenders were able to confuse space and put doubt into the minds of the Tactix feeders. Halfway through the quarter, the Magic were able to extend their lead. Although the Tactix kept grinding and were able to close the gap. The score at halftime was 28-26 to the Magic.
The Tactix came flying out of the half-time break, they were able to close the gap on the Magic and take the lead. The Magic put on a smothering midcourt defence in which the Tactix had to show patience to penetrate through. A buzzer-beating goal allowed for the Magic to go into the lead, by a single goal, going into the final quarter.
In the opening of the final quarter, the Magic were firing all over the court. Georgia Tong was able to win back the ball from the tall Tactix shooters. Ameliaranne Ekenasio had an early vision into Bailey Mes. With just over five minutes to go the Tactix took the lead. The Tactix forced the Magic to make critical errors and they were able to score off their turnover ball. A bonus point was awarded to the Magic and the Tactix took home the premiership points in their 51-48 win.
Stars vs Mystics
MVP: Sulu Fitzpatrick
The Mystics pulled away from the Stars early in the game but the Stars were able to peg back the lead. Anna Harrison was able to use footwork and timing to win back ball for her team. Whist down the other end of the court, Sulu Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka were able to create chaos and feed doubt into the minds of the feeders. The Mystics led at quarter time 16-14.
The Mystics extended their lead off the back of some wayward passes from the Stars. Just as the Stars looked to be gaining momentum, the Mystics snatched a well-timed intercept to switch the momentum. The second quarter saw the Mystics extend their lead out by the Stars were able to bring themselves back into the game. The Mystics lead at halftime 28-25.
Just as they did at the start of the second quarter, the Mystics started to pull away from the Stars. Extending their lead to seven goals, the Mystics seemed to be in complete control of the game. The Stars were able to pull it back, but the Mystics still led going into the final quarter – 44-39.
Impressive defensive efforts were present through the court. The Stars hunted down the lead that the Mystics created, narrowing the margin down to two goals with four minutes to go. The Mystics won the game 54-51 and the Barfoot and Thompson Northern Challenge Trophy.
Steel vs Pulse
MVP: Maddy Gordon
The Steel got out to a handy lead in the first quarter when they took on the Pulse at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin. The Pulse struggled to find Aliyah Dunn in the circle allowing Selby-Rickit and Burley to contest and get their hands on the ball. The Pulse was forced to make changes to their lineup when Paris Lokotui went off the court with a knee injury. The Steel were able to settle and take a commanding five-goal lead at quarter time 18-13.
The Pulse was able to keep the Steel scoreless for the first four minutes of the quarter. Scoring the first four goals of the quarter, the Pulse reduced the Steel’s lead down to a singular goal. The box defence of the Pulse allowed for them to find turnovers and force the Steel to make errors. The Steel went on a run of goals to allow them to extend their lead out to six goals. Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit was able to grind and gain the ball off the Pulse attacking end. Leading at half-time was the Steel by four goals – 27-23.
The Steel were able to extend their lead to six goals partway through the third quarter. It was a physical and mental battle between George Fisher and Kelly Jury. The feeding into the Steel shooters was pinpoint accurate—the Steel led by 39 to 35 at three-quarter time.
The Pulse was able to convert their turnovers allowing them to cut back the Steel’s lead. The Pulse was able to score eight in a row to steal the lead off the Steel. It was only in the fourth quarter that the Pulse led the game. Maddy Gordon was instrumental in the Pulse team, she was able to help bring the ball down the court, get deflections and bring energy to her team. It took the Steel almost five minutes to get a goal on the board in the final quarter. Picking up the premiership points was the Pulse with a perfectly timed run home. The Pulse won over the Southern Steel 50-44.