By |2021-05-16T13:05:03+10:00May 16th, 2021|Categories: ANZP, Featured, Match Reviews, NZ|0 Comments

By Ian Harkin

The Stars maintained their position on top of the ANZ Premiership ladder as they kept their unbeaten record intact in the first match of round four. Stars won every quarter as they defeated Southern Steel 59-45. An example of their dominance is the number of attempts each team had; 78 for Stars compared to just 56 for Steel.

Stars’ win was built on a strong defence which stifled the Steel attacking play and led to a string of possession gains, 23 in all. Leading the way again was the circle defensive duo of goal keeper Elle Temu and ageless goal defence Anna Harrison, who each finished with seven gains. Lisa Mather at wing defence also had an outstanding game. This back three is developing into a combination that will be extremely difficult to beat.

Gifted all the extra possession, Stars midcourters Mila Reuela-Buchanan and Gina Crampton didn’t waste it as once again they combined for over 40 goal assists. The success rate of shooters Maia Wilson and Jamie Hume was a touch lower than they would have liked, otherwise the eventual winning margin would have been even greater.

For Steel, young defender Taneisha Fifita continued her tremendous start to the year. She was the beneficiary of some of the Stars shooters’ misses as she collected five rebounds amongst nine gains in total. The shooting combination of George Fisher and Tiana Metuarau found the going tough in this game. While Fisher still scored 34/37, she found it more difficult to find space in this game compared to previous ones. Metuarau had a game she might rather forget, shooting just 58% and committing eight turnovers.


Wilson 33/43 (77%)
Hume 22/31 (71%)
Malesala 4/4 (100%)
TOTAL 59/78 (76%)

Assists 51 (Crampton 24)
Gains 23 (Harrison, Temu 7)

Fisher 34/37 (92%)
Metuarau 11/19 (58%)
TOTAL 45/56 (80%)

Assists 37 (Saunders 20)
Gains 15 (Fifita 9)

Penalties: Steel 57-52
Turnovers: Steel 28-22

MVP: Elle Temu (Stars)

Starting lineups:

Stars: GS Wilson, GA Hume, WA Crampton, C Reuelu-Buchanan, WD Mather, GD Temu, GK Harrison

Steel: GS Fisher, GA Metuarau, WA Saunders, C Heffernan, WD Savai’inaea, GD Selby-Rickit, GK Fifita

Having gone very close the week before, Tactix finally got off the mark with their first win of the 2021 season. The first two quarters of the game against Magic were split and the teams went into halftime 33 all. Magic then edged ahead in the third quarter, at one stage leading by four goals, and it looked like another loss was coming up for Tactix. They managed to dig deep however, reclaiming the lead with a goal right on three-quarter time, eventually running out winners in a see-sawing match 63-59.

The star for the victors was undoubtedly goal shooter Ellie Bird, who turned in what must surely be her best ever performance. She scored with 54 of her 55 attempts, but perhaps even more amazing than that was that she played a full 60-minute game at goal shooter and committed zero turnovers. That is almost unheard of.

Goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit ended the match with 25 goal assists. She also recovered from the inaccuracy of the previous round, and missed with just one attempt. In all, Tactix shot at 96% compared to Magic’s 88%. Kimiora Poi also had a tremendous game at centre, while Karin Burger put in another strong performance in defence. Captain Jane Watson was slightly quieter than usual, but still effective.

The Magic team’s ability to feed Australian goal shooter Caitlin Bassett was improved on the previous outings, but it’s still not perfect. They will be looking to build on that in coming matches. Young shooter Khiarna Williams put in another impressive display at goal attack, while captain Sam Winders tried her heart out as usual. In defence, Erena Mikaere and Georgia Tong had ten possession gains between them.


Bird 54/55 (98%)
Selby-Rickit 9/10 (90%)
Prosser 0/1 (0%)
TOTAL 63/66 (96%)

Assists 61 (Selby-Rickit 25)
Gains 7 (Burger 3)

Bassett 45/48 (94%)
Williams 9/14 (64%)
Semple 5/5 (100%)
TOTAL 59/67 (88%)

Assists 53 (Williams 20)
Gains 13 (Tong 6)

Penalties: Magic 62-61
Turnovers: Magic 21-20

MVP: Kimiora Poi (Tactix)

Starting lineups:

Tactix: GS Bird, GA Selby-Rickit, WA Pedersen, C Poi, WD Elley, GD Burger, GK Watson

Magic: GS Bassett, GA Semple, WA Kolose, C Winders, WD Edgecombe, GD Mikaere, GK Fakahokotau

The round concluded with a matchup between Pulse and Mystics. This was a truly unbelievable game. For three of the four quarters, there was little between the two sides, but something incredible happened in the third period. With Pulse ahead at the main break, they then unravelled spectacularly. After being relatively error free in the first half, their game inexplicably fell apart to the tune of nine turnovers and 24 penalties. Fumbles, poor passes, defenders caught out of position, the mistakes piled up.

Aided greatly by Pulse’s errors, a controlled Mystics team took full toll. They ran riot, piling on goal after goal and eventually winning the quarter 22-8, turning a four goal deficit into a 10 goal lead. Young shooter Grace Nweke scored a mind boggling 21 goals for the quarter as the Auckland-based side took control of the match. The last quarter was then largely academic as the damage had already been done.

Mystics moved into a clear second place on the ladder with this win, and the combination of Nweke and Elisapeta Toeava is continuing to dominate, leading the competition in goals and assists respectively. But it’s not just in attack where the team is performing. Captain Sulu Fitzpatrick led the defence in a strong fashion, picking up five possession gains and conceding just three penalties in 60 minutes of netball.

For Pulse, they will need to put the disappointment of this loss behind them, but at the same time strive to make sure it doesn’t happen again. They were more than a match for Mystics for 45 minutes, but their composure went completely out the window for the other 15. One factor they will need to look at is the high number of penalties conceded by circle defenders Kelly Jury and Kalera Nawai, who sit first and second in that statistical category.


Dunn 27/34 (79%)
Amaru-Tibble 18/24 (75%)
Souness 2/4 (50%)
TOTAL 47/62 (76%)

Assists 41 (Kersten 25)
Gains 9 (Souness, Gordon, Nawai 2)

Nweke 51/55 (93%)
Mes 5/7 (71%)
Tui 2/3 (67%)
TOTAL 58/65 (89%)

Assists 54 (Toeava 32)
Gains 14 (Fitzpatrick 5)

Penalties: Pulse 57-51
Turnovers: 21-21

MVP: Grace Nweke (Mystics)

Starting lineups:

Pulse: GS Dunn, GA Amaru-Tibble, WA Souness, C Kersten, WD Gordon, GD Jury, GK Nawai

Mystics: GS Nweke, GA Mes, WA Toeava, C Earle, WD Ioane, GD Burley, GK Fitzpatrick

Stats Leaders of the Week:

Most Goals: 54 Ellie Bird (Tactix v Magic)
Most Assists: 32 Elisapeta Toeava (Mystics v Pulse)
Most Gains: 9 Taneisha Fifita (Steel v Stars)
Most Offensive Rebounds: 8 Maia Wilson (Stars v Steel)
Most Defensive Rebounds: 5 Taneisha Fifita (Steel v Stars)
Most Intercepts: 5 Georgia Tong (Magic v Tactix)

(after Round 1)

Team / Played / Pts / %
STARS . 4 . 12pts . 118.8%
MYSTICS . 4 . 10pts . 106.3%
STEEL . 4 . 6pts . 100.9%

PULSE . 4 . 5pts . 96.8%
MAGIC . 4 . 5pts . 93.2%
TACTIX . 4 . 4pts . 87.0%


Round 5

Sunday, May 16
4:15pm – Pulse v Steel

Monday, May 17
6:15pm – Tactix v Mystics
8:15pm – Magic v Stars

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