Netball Scoop: NZ Netball Round Up – April 23

Netball Scoop: NZ Netball Round Up – April 23

April Round up

Welcome to Netball Scoop: Aotearoa edition. Each month we will bring you the latest in Kiwi netball, covering everything from how the season is going, world cup prospects and other interesting news. 

Well we are over the halfway point of this year’s ANZ Premiership competition and boy have we seen some ups and downs across the board.


The season so far 

Round 5 was one dominated by the north. The Mystics were convincing in their win against the Magic (64-48) following it up with a win to the Pulse (56-51). The Stars turned the tables on the Tactix (57-48) while the Magic punished the Pulse for playing the ball around for too long in the last minute (48-47).

Refusing a fifth straight loss, the Pulse brought in Easter weekend with an absolute show against the Stars (58-44). In what would be the only close game of the round, the Mystics (controversially) beat the Magic, 62-61, despite the Magic leading for the majority of the game. The Tactix had a convincing 58-45 win against the Steel, although not for the first time the Steel won the last quarter. To close out the round, the Magic pulled off a 71-57 to the Stars.

Round 7 was a round of bonus points, except for one. The Mystics suffered a 2 point loss at home, against the mighty Pulse, who continued their momentum with a 62-38 win against the Steel. The weekend wasn’t all bad for the Steel though, who scored a bonus point in their 47-49  loss to the Stars. The Magic blew a convincing lead against the Tactix but also managed to score a bonus point (46-49).


Grace Nweke takes the ball ahead of Kelly Jury. Image Nicole Mudgway


Round 8 was set up to be a fascinating clash, with each of the top three teams taking on the bottom three. With an extremely tight ladder, we tuned in to see if there would be any shock upsets with big consequences. First up was an incredibly tight match between the Pulse v Stars, with the Pulse coming from being four down at the third quarter to taking the game 64-62.

In a slightly less thrilling outing, the Tactix took down the Steel 50-31. Despite an even first quarter, the Mystics showed what they were made of to beat the Magic 60-49. Finally, in quite possibly the most intense game of netball ever played in ANZ Premiership history, the Stars beat the Mystics in double extra time 77-79.  Amorangi Malesala, having the game of her life, shot not just one but three clincher shots. 

Round 9 we saw just what a difference again a player can make to a team’s performance. The Tactix were up for a double header, first up against the table-topping Mystics and then the Pulse, which was made even harder after captain Jane Watson was ruled out with a foot injury. This saw the Tactix get a 24 goal bath by the Mystics, followed by a better-but-still-not-enough performance on Monday night, meaning the finals are sitting on a knife edge. The Steel got ever so close to their first win of 2023, only for it to be snatched by the Pulse, as Amelia Walmsley slotted the winning goal with only 4 seconds to go. Goes to show the Southerners are still working hard and perhaps they can still knock someone off before the end of the season.


Ladder (after Rounds 5 – 9) 

Rank Team Played Wins and Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Differential Bonus Points Overall Points
1 Northern Mystics  11  8, 3  682 592 90 3 27
2 Central Pulse


12 8, 4 645  587 58  3 27
3 Northern Stars 12 7, 5 716 675 41  2 23
4 Mainland Tactix 11 7, 4 563 538 25 0 21
5 WBOP Magic 11 4,7 581 618 -37 3 15
6 Southern Steel 11 0,11 454 631 -177 3 3



Paris Lokotui made her debut in round 7 for the Tactix against the Magic, as the permanent injury replacement for Greer Sinclair.


Peta Toeava lunges for the ball while Kelly Jury watches on. Image Nicole Mudgway


Players to watch 

Bailey Mes: What else can be said about the Magic goaler apart from – phenomenal! Finishing Round 6 off with a 54/58 shooting performance (a personal best for her), she is certainly showing Dame Noeline Taurua that she could be still up for one last pinnacle event. Pairing with Ekenasio each game is another sure way to get noticed, especially because the combination is proving to be exceptional. No doubt some credit is due to her for the Magic smashing records, including their highest scoring first half ever (38 goals) in round 6. 

Carys Stythe: With Sulu’s ongoing absence from the defensive circle of the Mystics, Carys has had the opportunity to step up and play some serious minutes for the side. It’s an opportunity she has grabbed with both hands, and the defence has barely missed a beat while Sulu has been sidelined. Carys’ long limbs, intuitive play and athleticism have combined for her slotting right into both the GD and GK bibs, looking entirely at home. 

Michaela Sokolich-Beatson: It’s been a few years since we’ve seen MSB at her best, but it seems like she’s not far from being back there. Her ability to seamlessly slide from WD/GD is invaluable for her side (especially with the Ferns currently missing an obvious starting WD!) and there have been multiple occasions this season where her switching position has created a positive impact for the Mystics team.


Michaela Sokolich-Beatson has been back in good form. Playing here against Whitney Sounness. Image Nicole Mudgway



  • Coach Reinga Bloxham = 100 games with the Steel (v Tactix, Round 6)
  • Jane Watson = 100 games with the Tactix (v Steel, Round 6)
  • Kristiana Manu’a = 100 national league games (v Stars, Round 6)
  • Manager Dayna Kaio = 100 games with the Steel (v Stars, Round 7)
  • Tiana Metuarau = 100 national league games (v Steel, Round 7)
  • Ameliaranne Ekenasio = 100 national league games (v Mystics, Round 8) 
  • Amorangi Malesala = 50 national league games (v Magic, Round 9)


Anna Harrison was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to netball, as well as volleyball. A fitting tribute for a huge career. 



It’s been a huge few rounds for injuries and all we can say is, no more please! 

  • Sulu Fitzpatrick remains out with the knee injury obtained from Round 4, but is continuing to be a strong and vocal presence on the side of the court 
  • Elle Temu’s still heavily bruised ankle featured on camera in Round 8, when she returned to the Court on managed minutes after sustaining the injury in Round 6. Lisa Putt also went off in that same game with a foot injury. 
  • In a devastating turn of events for a young defender earmarked as a potential bolter for the Silver Ferns, Greer Sinclair has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. She has required surgery to fix a tendon after an accident at home following Round 5.
  • The Mystics continue to be careful with their gutsy starting centre Tayla Earle who missed round 7 with a foot injury and played only very limited time in round 8 
  • Eseta Autangavia spent Round 8 on the bench after suffering a concussion 
  • Saviour Tui, Claire Kersten and Lisa Putt have also all sustained injuries or niggles which have caused them to miss or be on managed loads for recent rounds 
  • Jane Watson was ruled out of Round 9 with a foot injury that is still yet to be confirmed the extent of and how long she may remain on the sideline
  • And lastly, there have been injury scares aplenty for Maddy Gordon. In a dramatic turn of events, she was carried off the court in the dying minutes of round 7, but later confirmed that it was cramp. In round 8, she left the court and received treatment to her knee in the second quarter, but returned to the court and continued to put her body on the line. 

Caris Stythe has been making a name for herself in the absence of Sulu Fitzpatrick. Image Nicole Mudgway


The juicy stuff 

It goes without saying that the ladder is now really tight and it could be just about anyone’s premiership. Speaking to Netball Scoop’s Jaimie Keay after her round six win against the Steel, Karin Burger offered that:

“Every round we talk about how there is no top team at the moment. Every single game is so important for us. We can see that for example with a team like the Pulse they didn’t get the wins early on but they have the bonus points so they are still in contention. It is so important that every game is a good one.

“It’s hard but also exciting as well, knowing that it will go to the wire and really critical that every single performance is an important one, and I think it is a great lead into World Cup selections as well for everybody, to be able to show that week in week out they can perform. It is an all round good year for Netball.”


The big question on everyone’s lips now of course is who is going to the World Cup? Dame Noels has been offering some interesting morsels to keep us all guessing, signalling the likely inclusion of Kate Heffernan and Karin Burger in the squad in an interview with Radio New Zealand. The same article discussed the problem New Zealand has of seemingly not having any players in line for selection who are specialising exclusively in playing wing defence. She also spoke to the Sky Sport wāhine and mentioned that at this point in the ANZ season, she has 6 players already with tickets to Cape Town.


There have been calls for a challenge system in the ANZ Premiership, after a controversial one goal loss by the Magic to the Mystics prompted a review. There was uncertainty whether time had expired before Erena Mikeaere was called for a penalty and Grace Nweke was able to take the winning shot. However, the investigation found no errors by match officials. 


The discussion continues about whether netball is getting too dangerous, with Dame Noels asking for head high contact to result in an automatic penalty, even possibly suspension. It would be interesting to see some statistics on whether there has been an increase in concussions in recent years with what seems like the ever increasing physicality of the game. 


And lastly, it’s been a month of exciting news for New Zealand netballs “fossils” as they sometimes so fondly refer to themselves. Firstly, we got the exciting announcement that there will be Mixed 30 and Over World Series would take place in August 2023, likely to feature many favourites such as Anna Harrison, Casey Kopua and Jodi Brown and obviously so many more. 


And whilst the Australian netball world may have gasped in excitement (and fear) with the announcement that Mo’onia Gerrard had put her name forward for selection for the Tonga team, New Zealand fans had their own quiet gasp when ex-Silver Fern Cat Tuivaiti was named this week in the Tonga Tala for the Pacific Aus Sports netball series. It’s hard not to feel anything but joy for Tuivaiti, after the cruel blow she suffered when the Wasps Superleague team (who she was due to coach and play for) went under earlier this year. A few of us might be quietly reminiscing on her days in the black dress and wishing the wily shooter could make herself available to play for us again too, though! 


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