By Ian Harkin
Round 10 of the ANZ Premiership saw the competition’s two leading teams, Stars and Mystics, put a handy gap between themselves and the chasing pack. In the opening clash of the round, Stars consolidated their position on top, defeating Steel by 10 goals. But that wasn’t really a true indication of the game. The final score line flattered Stars. Just before three-quarter time, they only led by two. That was when Steel shooter George Fisher and Stars defender Elle Temu clashed heavily and Fisher was forced to leave the court for the rest of the game.
Without their English import, Steel could only muster nine goals in the final quarter, while Stars piled on 17 to run away with the game and deny the home side even a bonus point in the process. It must be noted that before she was replaced, Fisher was already having a devil of a job up against Stars’ ageless goal keeper Anna Harrison. Harrison and Temu combined for a total of 18 possession gains and they were successful in putting Fisher off her game. But when Fisher left the court, even more pressure went on to her replacement Kiana Pelasio.
The second game of the round turned into a bit of a mismatch. Northern Mystics won every quarter as they comfortably beat a disappointing Central Pulse team. Pulse’s Maddy Gordon and Whitney Souness gave up 15 turnovers between them, and Mystics capitalised on the errors. Grace Nweke and Elisapeta Toeava again led the way for Mystics with 54 goals and 29 assists respectively, while Kate Burley and captain Sulu Fitzpatrick dominated in defence. Mystics are in great form and now look like great prospects for their first ever title, while Pulse’s chances of a third straight crown are slipping.
To complete a round of double figure margins, Tactix dominated Magic from start to finish. The quarter time score was 22-11 and there was no coming back from there for a Magic team missing both Grace Kara and Temalisi Fakahokotau. Once again, captain Sam Winders stood out for Magic, who were otherwise well outplayed. For Tactix, the defence of Karin Burger was outstanding, well supported by her captain Jane Watson, while Ellie Bird, returning after a week on the sidelines, scored 47 goals. Tactix have now set themselves up for a run at the finals while Magic is still searching for a second win. will they get it when they come up against a Steel side missing George Fisher?
Sunday, Jun 27
6:15pm – Stars v Mystics
Monday, Jun 28
7:15pm – Steel v Magic
Tuesday, Jun 29
7:15pm – Pulse v Tactix