ANZ Premiership

ANZ Round 14 Preview: Chances at finals are up for grabs.

Last week in Round 13, the Mainland Tactix pulled off a mammoth task and successfully jumped into second position on the ladder.

This week looks like an easier challenge for the Tactix playing the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, however, the Southern Steel and Northern Stars will be playing on Monday night to secure their hopes of being in the finals.

What will it take for the new kids on the block to finally be in the finals?

The Northern Stars have yet to make a finals series in the five years of the ANZ Premiership and with the strong start to the season it looked like this year was going to be the year for them.

Unfortunately, that all came crashing down after last week’s unravelling where Star shooter Maia Wilson spent most of the second quarter on the bench.

Now they will have to do the hard yards for the last few weeks of the season if they are to even secure a third-place finals spot.

That’s not to say they can’t do it. The Stars are the team that has come out of a loss stronger than ever and part of that reason is because of their defender Anna Harrison.

Harrison looks like she is 21 and in her rookie season bouncing around on the court yet she has just come out of three years in retirement and is having her best season yet.

The Stars have absolutely championed her as a mechanism to mentor younger defenders and continue to change the way the game is played, with at least one Harrison Hoist per game.

Gina Crampton is the other Star to this team coming out of a loss and both times she has previously come up against her old side, Crampton has had one of the best games of her life.

Her pinpoint passes into Wilson and Jamie Hume today will be critical against the young and talented defender Taneisha Fifita.

All eyes might be on the Northern Stars and their chances to make finals, this young Steel side has grinded through each and every game to pull off some top-notch performance and create some future Silver Ferns.

Across their board, their team connections are impeccable and this game will be a real class act as the Southern Steel play to make finals as well.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic v Mainland Tactix (Sunday 4pm NZT)

This game should very much be a smashing on Tactix behalf. Jane Watson and Karin Burger are fired up and in their best form, where is Caitlin Basset and Chiara Semple are still trying to find connections between each other and the midcourt.

The Magic defence will put the pressure on Te Paea Selby-Rickitt and Elly Bird but with the amount of intercepts and deflections, their defensive duo gets it shouldn’t be hard to pull ahead.

Central Pulse v Northern Mystics (Sunday 6pm NZT)

The Pulse are known for capitalising on a team when they are down from a previous loss, so this will be their biggest target yet.

The Northern Mystics suffered a 3 point loss to the Steel last week and now their top spot is in jeopardy.

However, if they beat the Central Pulse the Mystics will be crowned minor premiers a week out from finals beginning.

It will all come down to the defensive pressure of Kelly Jury, Parris Mason and Kelera Nawai and how they attempt to shut down Grace Nweke.

Southern Steel vs Northern Stars (Monday 7pm NZT)

Set to be a cracker of a match with both teams fighting for a finals spot. Steel will have their work cut out for them in this match as the Stars try to prove they are real contenders in this game.

Categories: ANZ Premiership

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