Contributors: Tobey Keddy, Emily Bruce
Men’s Northern Mystics 55 d Men’s Northern Stars 45 (13-10, 12-10, 15-12, 15-13)
Northern Mystics 67 d Southern Steel 59 (16-15, 19-12, 18-13, 14-19)
Central Pulse 51 d Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 50 (14-12, 12-13, 10-10, 15-15)
Round 4 Stats Leaders
Most Goals: 47 George Fisher (Steel v Mystics)
Most Intercepts: 4 Kate Heffernan (Steel v Mystics) and Kelly Jury (Pulse v Magic)
Most Gains: 8 Kelly Jury (Pulse v Magic)
Most Rebounds: 6 George Fisher (Steel v Mystics)
Most Feeds: 50 Shannon Saunders (Steel v Mystics)
Most Goal Assists: 30 Tayla Earle (Mystics v Steel)
Most Centre Pass Receives: 30 Shannon Saunders (Steel v Mystics)
Most Penalties: 24 Kelly Jury (Pulse v Magic)
Most Turnovers: 5 Whitney Souness (Pulse v Magic), Kate Heffernan and George Fisher (Steel v Mystics)
Team of the Round:
GS: Aliyah Dunn (Central Pulse) – First Selection
GA: Bailey Mes (Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic) – First Selection
WA: Georgie Edgecombe (Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic) – First Selection and Netball Scoop’s Breakthrough Player of the Round
C: Kate Heffernan (Southern Steel) – First Selection
WD: Samantha Winders (Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic) – First Selection
GD: Phoenix Karaka (Northern Mystics) – First Selection
GK: Kelly Jury (Central Pulse) – Second Selection and Netball Scoop’s Player of the Round
Coach of the Round: Yvette McCausland-Durie (Central Pulse)
Ellie Bird (Tactix) and Maddy Gordon (Pulse) continue to manage knee injuries. Gordon is currently sidelined with the injury.
The Pulse announced that Binnian Hunt would not be taking the court this season due to an ACL injury. Netball Scoop would like to wish Binnian all the best for her recovery.
This was a historic round for New Zealand netball. The first-ever televised match between two men’s netball teams took place in Auckland’s Trust Arena, plus there were two fantastic games between some of New Zealand’s best women’s teams.
We also got our first send off this season, and it wasn’t any of the women. Northern Mystics Men’s defender Hikorangi Pake was sent off with only one minute to go due to persistent contact and obstruction calls.
We also saw for one of the first times on television, a netball player playing four different positions in one game. Kruze Tangira was seen playing goal defence, wing defence, centre and wing attack and was near flawless in each position. His ability to impact anywhere on the court saw him receive Netball Scoop’s Men’s player of the round.
The ANZ Premiership was once again significantly affected by Covid, with the Tactix and Stars successfully applying to postpone their games. In the games which were played, some stalwarts for individual teams were also missing. These included heritage round’s top 25 domestic player Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit who is also likely to reach 200 caps this season.
Magic defenders Erena Mikaere and Georgia Tong were also missing from their team’s lineup. However, we saw some familiar replacements come into the lineups. Leana de Bruin returned to the court for the Magic at age 44 and after two years of retirement, she did not disappoint. In her post-match Sky Sport interview, her desire and love for the game of netball were on full display. She brought experience and game smarts that were needed for the Magic side to be competitive. Coach Mary-Jane Araroa expressed a desire to have de Bruin stay on.
Breakthrough Player of the Round
The Magic started the season with a major hole in their squad: no wing attack. All their midcourt options are strong centre-wing defence options and their attackers are solely shooters. Wing attack is the most important feeder that controls the offensive ball movement, so the Magic already lacked someone that was going to give them a strong offensive flow meaning their chances of being competitive were slim. Someone had to learn the position and learn it quickly.
Cue Georgie Edgecombe, a young wing defender who has been a staple for the Magic for a couple of years – she’s played in the Beko league as an in-circle defender and adjusted to move into a wing-defence centre option. But Mary-Jane Araroa has thrown Edgecombe an opportunity: if you want game time, you have to learn the wing attack position quickly. So for someone playing a new position at New Zealand’s highest level, Georgie Edgecombe was outstanding against the Pulse.
After being doubted by several broadcasters on New Zealand’s major broadcasters as not being good enough at wing attack for several weeks, Edgecombe came out firing. She had 40 feeds, 20 goal assists and 25 centre pass receives, the highest amount of each in the game. At the same time, her defensive expertise was on full display getting three defensive pickups, an intercept and two deflections.
The young player shows the grit and determination needed to get better at wing attack and she is quickly progressing to being a strong wing attack option for the Magic. With Bailey Mes and Amelieranne Ekenasio moving closer to having 60-minute games together, the dynamic midcourter will have the benefit of feeding two of New Zealand’s best shooters.
Matches of the Round
NORTHERN MYSTICS MEN 55 d ROBINHOOD STARS MEN 45
New Zealand netball could see a new televised competition created after the success of this week’s Match of the Round. The Men’s Northern Mystics and Northern Stars sides used fast ball movement and enormous defensive elevation to showcase the excitement of the men’s game. As Anna Stanley said in the game’s commentary, look for this to only be the beginning of televised men’s netball. In a year where New Zealand rugby created the Women’s Super Rugby Aupiki, this game proved that an ANZ Premiership Mens is needed.
The historic game began with both sides forcing several turnovers and a few nervous shots that didn’t touch the hoop. However, they quickly clicked into gear and found the confidence to move the ball at a pace rarely seen in the women’s game.
The Mystics’ side had the advantage of having an experienced attacking end. It was led by Kevin Bell and Quintin Gerber, who have both been a part of the New Zealand Men’s side that has faced the Silver Ferns during the Cadbury Series. Both players had a great game, with shooter Quintin Gerber shooting at 93% for the game. At the same time, Kevin Bell was ably assisted by the Vercoe twins in driving to the circle edge and giving confident feeds into the shooting circle.
The essential advantage of this side was their transition offence. After forcing turnovers from their opposition, the Mystics’ players moved the ball down with speed from Kruze Tangira in goal defence, right down to Quintin Gerber in quick succession.
For the Mystics side, their defensive combination of Kruze Tangira, Hikorangi Pake and Joseph Tukaki was a nightmare for the Stars attacking end. The Mystics’ defenders forced hesitancy on the Star’s offensive flow as they got their hands on everything. Interceptions, deflections and rebounds were plenty for these three, forcing the Stars’ shooters to use clever passing and take risks to get the ball inside their goal circle.
Tangira and Tukaki have been crucial features in the New Zealand Men’s side facing the Silver Ferns in the Cadbury series, but the defensive highlight was Pake. Besides getting sent off in the game’s final minute, his ability to read the opposition offence was a masterclass. He was crucial to forcing several shooting changes and a low scoring percentage by the Stars’ shooters.
While the Stars’ offence struggled with consistency, their shooter Maruatawhao Delamere was a force to be reckoned with. The goal attack was shooting the ball from everywhere in the circle. This included a couple of impressive goals scored right on the edge of the shooting circle. The sharpshooter also gave his feeders a crucial target to pass the ball to, making it easier to combat the experienced Mystics’ defensive end.
Another highlight for the Stars was the services of internationally experienced defenders in Dan Rich and Timothy Apisai. Timothy Apisai’s 2.01m stature and significant elevation make him an exciting player to watch. He always gets a hand to the ball, and tonight was no different. The contest between Gerber and Apisai is exciting to watch as both are very tall and bring great athleticism to the game.
At the same time, Dan Rich was picking up ball everywhere on the court. He was the player that was creating hesitancy for the Mystics’ offence as he wasn’t afraid to go hunting and would do anything to get the ball. While he doesn’t have the other defenders’ rangy arms, he showed terrific court craft and the ability to read the ball at a level higher than the other players on the court.
Kruze Tangira and Maruatawhao Delamere summed up this game very well. This game was a further opportunity to highlight the men’s game’s athleticism and netball skills. These players deserve this opportunity after all the hard work they have put in to help the women’s team with training for their respective competitions. What a brilliant showcase, and hopefully, the talent on display will see the continued expansion of the Men’s game.
CENTRAL PULSE 51 d WAIKATO BAY OF PLENTY MAGIC 50
“Breathless” is the only way to describe the feeling amongst our Netball Scoop team after this one and in particular after the heart-stopping final few seconds. It was likened by Debbie Fuller in commentary to being akin to a playoff game and we couldn’t agree more.
There was barely anything to separate these teams, as evidenced by the final score and the fact that neither coach made any player changes until seven minutes into the third quarter.
The Pulse continues to be able to move the ball down court at speed and consistently demonstrate confidence in letting the ball go to their shooters. The Magic attacking lineup is still developing but they began to establish more depth off their centre passes throughout the game.
Where the match was won and lost?
The Pulse won this game in its nail-biting final seconds due to the ability of two individual players that stepped up in a high-pressure moment. After the Magic looked set to take the game following a delaying play call against Pulse centre Ainsleyana Puleiata, Kristiana Manu’a secured a brilliantly clean intercept and Aliyah Dunn shot a “buzzer-beater” shot from long range.
The Pulse overall had slightly more gains than the Magic (15 as compared to nine) but also were more heavily penalised throughout the game, accruing twenty more contact penalties than the Magic. Jury and Manu’a are currently leading the competition’s list of most penalised players. While this didn’t lose the Pulse the game, it is something they will no doubt look to tidy up in the coming weeks.
Which players/combinations stood out?
Kelly Jury had a blinder of a game and was a well-deserved MVP. Building on last week’s showing, she was able to consistently come off the body of her opponent and use her outside arm to secure outstanding intercepts. Her lean over the shot is also looking increasingly lethal and her combination with Kristiana Manu’a is developing well. Her impressive play saw her be selected as Netball Scoop’s Player of the week.
It would be impossible not to talk here about Bailey Mes, who achieved a “freak of nature” type feat by managing to fire a shot in with one hand over her shoulder, while falling out of court and with her back to the goal post. Mes’ shooting is strong and confident this season, complementing her natural athleticism.
Leana de Bruin is not looking like she has spent any time out of the game and she was effective at goal defence, creating some limits to the vast space which usually surrounds Tiana Metuarau at goal attack. Her leadership on Court was evident and we hope she will return to play some more this season.
Bailey Mes 24/28 (86%)
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 18/21 (86%)
Ivana Rowland 8/10 (80%)
Aliyah Dunn 37/40 (93%)
Tiana Metuarau 14/17 (82%)
MVP: Kelly Jury (Pulse)
Team / Pld / Pts
Northern Mystics . 5 . 13
Central Pulse . 4 . 7
Southern Steel . 4 . 6
Mainland Tactix . 3 . 4
WBOP Magic . 4 . 4
Northern Stars . 2 . 3
Competition Stat Leaders after Round 3
Most Goals: 198 Grace Nweke (Northern Mystics)
Most Centre Pass Receives: 109 Whitney Souness (Central Pulse)
Most Feeds: 166 Shannon Saunders (Southern Steel)
Most Rebounds: 11 Sulu Fitzpatrick (Northern Mystics)
Most Deflections: 23 Kate Burley (Southern Steel)
Most Intercepts: 11 Kelly Jury (Central Pulse)
Most Penalties: 68 Kelly Jury (Central Pulse)
All matches will be shown live on Sky Sport New Zealand.
Fans outside of New Zealand can view all matches on the NetballPass platform (www.netballpass.com).
Saturday 9th April 4.10pm Magic v Steel
Sunday 10th April 4.10pm Stars v Magic
Monday 11th April 7.15pm Pulse v Steel
* Sunday’s game between tactix & Mystics has been postponed.