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Sat 20 Mar – Northern Mystics 55–52 Adelaide Thunderbirds
Sun 21 Mar – Queensland Firebirds 47–50 New South Wales Swifts
Sun 21 Mar – Southern Steel 46–44 West Coast Fever
Mon 22 Mar – Canterbury Tactix 54–48 Central Pulse
Mon 22 Mar – Melbourne Vixens 48–40 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Sat 27 Mar – Central Pulse 50–61 Northern Mystics
Sat 27 Mar – Adelaide Thunderbirds 38–45 New South Wales Swifts
Sun 28 Mar – Melbourne Vixens 53–46 Queensland Firebirds
Mon 29 Mar – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 47–41 Southern Steel
Mon 29 Mar – West Coast Fever 62–44 Canterbury Tactix
Sat 3 Apr – Northern Mystics 46–55 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Sun 4 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 40–41 Adelaide Thunderbirds
Sun 4 Apr – Canterbury Tactix 53–56 New South Wales Swifts
Mon 5 Apr – Southern Steel 56–44 Central Pulse
Mon 5 Apr – West Coast Fever 50–64 Melbourne Vixens
Round 4 (Rivalry Round)
Sat 10 Apr – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 55–50 West Coast Fever
Sat 10 Apr – New South Wales Swifts 50–36 Central Pulse
Sun 11 Apr – Adelaide Thunderbirds 53–36 Southern Steel
Mon 12 Apr – Canterbury Tactix 49–64 Melbourne Vixens
Mon 12 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 71–54 Northern Mystics
Sat 17 Apr – Central Pulse 40–75 Adelaide Thunderbirds
Sun 18 Apr – New South Wales Swifts 55–43 West Coast Fever
Sun 18 Apr – Canterbury Tactix 36–53 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Mon 19 Apr – Southern Steel 41–56 Queensland Firebirds
Mon 19 Apr – Melbourne Vixens 62–51 Northern Mystics
Sat 24 Apr – Northern Mystics 59–50 Canterbury Tactix
Sun 25 Apr – Queensland Firebirds 62–41 Melbourne Vixens
Mon 26 Apr – Central Pulse 40–64 Southern Steel
Mon 26 Apr – West Coast Fever 37–57 Adelaide Thunderbirds
BYES: New South Wales Swifts and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Horror injury run for Canterbury Tactix
Attacker Chelsea Pitman’s season looks to be over after she was felled by a clumsy contact by Mystics defender Larrissa Willcox in the 50-59 loss in Auckland on Saturday. Suspected ligament damage to her left knee is likely to keep the midcourter-cum-shooter off court for the rest of the ANZ Championship season. It was the Tactix’ third major injury of the season. They lost import defender Peta Stephens before the competition started and goal keep Anna Galvan broke her wrist in round two and is not expected back on court until after their bye round next month.
Tactix chief executive Anthony Dawson said the franchise would look at the options to replace Pitman and one of those could be applying to Netball New Zealand for an import player. “If we can find a player that serves our needs and can give us a good boost then we’ll certainly go after them but, of course, it’s got to be approved by Netball NZ,” he said.
The Tactix attempted to bring in English shooter Jo Harten when Stephens was ruled out for the season, but were turned down by NNZ. “We’re coming ninth with only one win, so we want to look at someone who can give us a boost. Jo would certainly be a player who could do that for us, but again our hands are tied.” Dawson said the Tactix would be “aggressively” searching for a replacement for Pitman this week, with a game against the Southern Steel in Christchurch on Saturday scheduled.
Their defeat to the Mystics followed a similar script to their other losses this season, with one poor quarter ruining their chances of victory. The Mystics had the game under control by quarter time, with an 18-10 lead and their import player Althea Byfield menacing the Tactix attack end. The Jamaican defender picked up eight deflections and five intercepts in just the first 30 minutes of play. However, it was the work of her team-mates outside the circle that set up Byfield’s ball-stealing opportunities and forced the Tactix into errors.
As in previous games, the Tactix matched their rivals in the remaining three quarters. A switch of positions on defence helped stem the flow of ball into the Mystics circle, with Charlotte Kight moving out to goal defence and Victoria Smith back to keep. Kight added more drive through court in an area the Tactix struggled with for much of the game. Smith was benched at halftime, when the Tactix trailed 21-30, with Megan Hutton’s long reach preferred in a bid to mess with Cathrine Latu’s radar.
The Queensland Firebirds have shaken up the trans-Tasman netball league by dishing out a record hiding of defending champions Melbourne Vixens at the Brisbane Convention Centre yesterday. The previously-unbeaten Vixens were thrashed 62-41 – eight goals more than their worst ever loss in three seasons of dominance.
Tactix 50 (Ellen Halpenny 32/37, Anna Thompson 18/23) Mystics 59 (Cathrine Latu 33/34, Maria Tutaia 26/31).
Sat 1 May – Canterbury Tactix 38–66 Southern Steel
Sun 2 May – New South Wales Swifts 56–42 Melbourne Vixens
Mon 3 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 49–46 Northern Mystics
Mon 3 May – Queensland Firebirds 63–57 West Coast Fever
BYES: Adelaide Thunderbirds and Central Pulse
Sat 8 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 56–44 Central Pulse
Sun 9 May – New South Wales Swifts 60–44 Adelaide Thunderbirds
Mon 10 May – Southern Steel 49–52 Northern Mystics
Mon 10 May – Melbourne Vixens 53–56 West Coast Fever
BYES: Queensland Firebirds and Canterbury Tactix
Sat 15 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 72–52 Canterbury Tactix
Sun 16 May – Adelaide Thunderbirds 58–47 Melbourne Vixens
Mon 17 May – Northern Mystics 61–60 Central Pulse
Mon 17 May – New South Wales Swifts 44–40 Queensland Firebirds
BYES: West Coast Fever and Southern Steel
Sat 22 May – Central Pulse 45–43 Canterbury Tactix
Sun 23 May – Adelaide Thunderbirds 53–51 Queensland Firebirds
Mon 24 May – Southern Steel 52–47 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Mon 24 May – West Coast Fever 52–61 New South Wales Swifts
BYES: Melbourne Vixens and Northern Mystics
Sat 29 May – Northern Mystics 48–54 New South Wales Swifts
Sun 30 May – Adelaide Thunderbirds 58–34 Canterbury Tactix
Sun 30 May – Southern Steel 52–39 Melbourne Vixens
Mon 31 May – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 54–55 Queensland Firebirds
Mon 31 May – West Coast Fever 63–45 Central Pulse
Sat 5 Jun – Northern Mystics 62–53 West Coast Fever
Sat 5 Jun – Queensland Firebirds 52–42 Central Pulse
Sun 6 Jun – Melbourne Vixens 43–54 Adelaide Thunderbirds
Mon 7 Jun – Southern Steel 53–39 Canterbury Tactix
Mon 7 Jun – New South Wales Swifts 60–43 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Sat 12 Jun – Central Pulse 52–58 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Sat 12 Jun – Melbourne Vixens 46–58 New South Wales Swifts
Sun 13 Jun – Adelaide Thunderbirds 54–45 West Coast Fever
Mon 14 Jun – Northern Mystics 43–50 Southern Steel
Mon 14 Jun – Queensland Firebirds 75–32 Canterbury Tactix
Sat 19 Jun – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 53–44 Adelaide Thunderbirds
Sun 20 Jun – West Coast Fever 67–59 Queensland Firebirds
Sun 20 Jun – Canterbury Tactix 47–58 Northern Mystics
Mon 21 Jun – Central Pulse 48–49 Melbourne Vixens
Mon 21 Jun – New South Wales Swifts 55–38 Southern Steel
Firebirds’ season ended by Fever
West Coast Fever have cost the Queensland Firebirds a trans-Tasman netball competition finals spot for the second straight season, winning 67-59 at Challenge Stadium. Last year, the Firebirds could only beat the Fever by two goals when needing to win by double-figures to book a finals spot in the final game and the situation was similar this time around.
Queensland needed to win on Sunday and hope the New South Wales Swifts remained undefeated by beating the Southern Steel at home on Monday night. However, none of that mattered when the Fever stunned them with just their fourth win of the season, winning by eight goals to end their season on a high and inflicting disappointment on the Firebirds. The league’s top four will now consist of the Swifts, Adelaide Thunderbirds, Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic and the Steel, with the semi finals next weekend.
It was a terrific shooting performance by the Fever with Caitlin Bassett scoring 44 goals from 50 attempts and Leah Shoard 23 from 27. Romelda Aiken hit 36 goals for the Firebirds and Natalie Medhurst 23. The Fever raced out to a fast start scoring the first five goals of the game and led by as much as seven before Medhurst, in particular, got the Firebirds back into the contest.
Queensland hit the front for the first time with just over five minutes remaining in the first half and held onto a 32-30 advantage at the break. It appeared the Firebirds would take control in the third period when they got to a three-goal lead, but the Fever would not be denied and scored 11 of the last 15 goals of the quarter to lead 49-45 at the last change. The Firebirds were never able to get close in the final quarter as the Fever dominated to lead by as much as 10 and win by eight.
SWIFTS UNSTOPPABLE IN SYDNEY
History was made in the Sydney Olympic Park tonight as the NSW Swifts became the first team to storm through an ANZ Championship season unscathed with a decisive 56-38 victory over fellow finalists, the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel. In the final game of the 2010 regular season, both teams had booked their top-four spots in the Finals Series, but both had something riding on the outcome of the game. The Swifts were aiming to keep their stunning unbeaten record, and the Steel were desperate to win the match, climb over the Waikato / Bay of Plenty Magic, and host a semifinal for the first time in championship history.
Now, the Steel will play the Magic in Auckland in a week’s time, and the Swifts will go into their semifinal against the Adelaide Thunderbirds on Sunday as clear favourites. It was an absolutely unconventional start to the game: Daneka Wipiiti immediately opened the scoring with a long-range swoosh, but the following seven minutes were marked by a melee of mistakes for both sides. The Swifts scored five consecutive goals before the Steel could add another to their tally, but both teams continued to be guilty of a slow and stuttered start.
Swifts shooters Catherine Cox and playmaker Susan Pratley began to get comfortable under the post, when a handy corridor opened up down the middle of the court, and the gap slipped out to six, 15-9, at the first quarter break. Wipiiti, still putting it up from distance, and Megan Dehn did not miss a shot in the first spell, but the Steel’s downfall was getting the ball safely into their hands.
In the next phase, it was all Steel, as they added five to the Swifts’ one – thanks in large part to close defence attentions of Leana de Bruin and Te Hunga Reo Selby-Rickitt. But as seemed part and parcel of the first half of this game, the power balance swung back the Swifts’ way to lead by eight halfway through the quarter. Another surge by the Steel approaching halftime saw them close within four, 27-23 – determined not to let the chance of a home semifinal slip away.
In the midcourt, the battles for supremacy intensified with the Swifts’ Kim Smith and the Steel’s Liana Barrett-Chase frequently tangling on and off the ball. Sonia Mkoloma and Rebecca Bulley turned up the heat on defence, as the Steel appeared to tire, and the gap reached double figures, 40-29, going into the final spell.
The difference ballooned out as the game wore on; even at the finish, when it was obvious the Swifts had the game in the bag, Cox and Pratley continued to fire the ball through the hoop – with Pratley playing a major hand in the outcome with 27 from 32.
( Team … Pts … % )
1 . Swifts . . . . 26pts . 123.51%
2 . T’birds . . . 18pts . 116.21%
3 . Magic . . . . 18pts . 108.95%
4 . Steel . . . .. 16pts . 107.87%
5 . Firebirds . 14pts . 113.99%
6 . Mystics . .. 14pts . . 99.15%
7 . Vixens . . . 12pts . . 95.74%
8 . Fever . . . . . 8pts . . 94.57%
9 . Pulse . . . . . 2pts . . 80.05%
10. Tactix . . . . 2pts . . 74.25%