NZ Netball Round Up – #1

NZ Netball Round Up – #1

By |2024-05-03T17:08:48+10:00May 3rd, 2024|Categories: ANZP, NZ|0 Comments

NEWSLETTER #1

Welcome to Netball Scoop: New Zealand 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. 

After what felt like an extremely long hiatus from netball, the 2024 ANZ Premiership is finally underway. There have been a few moves, shakes and changes throughout the league and pundits are eagerly predicting where this season is headed. The first few rounds are always exciting, as teams settle in and find their groove and 2024 has, so far, been no exception.

 

The season so far 

Round 1 saw the three teams stronger on paper convert their games into wins. The Mystics beat the Magic (64-52), the Pulse beat the Stars (58-51) and the Tactix beat the Steel (52-35). This round showcased teams’ depth and resilience in the face of injuries and the implementation of the new two-minute suspension rule which saw four players sent off. Despite being on the losing sides, young talents Saviour Tui (22) and Lili Tokaduadua (19) stood out, both earning MVP honors. Tokaduadua, in particular, made an impressive debut, with one intercept and seven deflections despite not playing a full game.

In round 2, there were no real surprises when the same three teams won with the Pulse beating the Magic (56-44), the Tactix beating the Stars (59-54) and the Mystics beating the Steel (61-52). Despite the second loss, the Steel are not to be counted out, as we saw the return of Shannon Saunders who provided a boost of confidence for her team, leading the attacking end with vision and precision. Grace Namana continues to show promise with an impeccable shooting performance which earned her the MVP title. 

Excitement levels were high for round 3 as the Stars and the Magic, two teams yet to win a game, faced off, with the Magic narrowly bringing home the win 52-49. Similarly, there was anticipation for the Mystics and Tactix match-up to close the round: both teams had won both games so far, and the Tactix managed to beat the defending champs at home 62-59. The Pulse remain undefeated with their 54-46 win against the Steel. 

 

Ladder at the completion of round 3 (taken from the ANZ Premiership website)

Milestones and Debuts

The Tactix have started the season off with a significant number of milestones. In round 1 both Ellie Bird and Kimiora Poi reached 100 National Netball League Matches and in round 2, Jane Watson played her 150th National Netball League Match. In the Tactix round 3 match against the Mystics, Karen Burger played her 50th game for the Tactix, as well as Marianne Delaney-Hoshek reaching her 100th game as Tactix coach.

In round 3, Filda Vui of the Mystics played her 50th match in the ANZ Premiership League.

Tactix GK Jane Watson brought up her 150th National League game in Round 2 against the Stars. Image – Graeme Laughton-Mutu

 

As always, the start of the season has brought a number of exciting debuts. 

  • The Magic had four debutants in round 1: Saviour Tui, Ali Wilshier, Reeghan De Bono and Claire O’Brien and in round 2: Kate Taylor.
  • The Stars had three debutants in round 1: Khanyè-Lii Munro-Nanoa, Rahni Samason, Lili Tokaduadua, round 2: Summer Temu and Crystal Maro and round 3: Holly Mather.
  • Hannah Glen made her Mystics debut in round 1. 
  • The Pulse had four debutants In round 1, Khiarna Williams, Kelea Iongi, Paris Petera and Kiana Pelasio.
  • The Tactix had two debutants in round 1: Jess Allan and Charlie Bell.
  • The Steel had three debutants in round 1: Jeanté Strydom, Grace Southby and Martina Salmon. 

 

Players to watch

  • Georgia Takarangi has been firing for the Magic in GD. Currently sitting first in intercepts with 9, the deceptive defender has been creating many opportunities to gain possession. 
  • The return of Khiarna Williams has been handy for the Pulse as they await the return of Tiana Metuarau. Former Magic player Williams returns from an extensive injury that took her out for nearly two years. She has given the Pulse a second attacking threat in GS, pushing Silver Fern Amelia Walmsley into the unfamiliar position of GA. 
  • The star of round one, Lili Tokaduadua, was strong against Silver Fern Amelia Walmsley. She created crucial turnovers, keeping the Stars within a close margin in the second half. Expect the 19-year-old to be a big-league feature for years to come. 
  • Grace Nweke has started the season dominantly. Still only 22 years old, the Silver Fern is the highest scorer in the competition and has been giving an inconsistent Mystics attacking line an easy option to post. 
  • Summer Temu was given her first ANZ Championship cap in Round 2 against the Tactix and finished with an impressive 100%. When you consider she was against two of the toughest defenders in the competition in Jane Watson and Karin Burger, you have to applaud her!

Summer Temu shot 20/20 in her ANZ Premiership debut. Image – Graeme Laughton-Mutu

Injuries

  • Aliyah Dunn (Tactix) sustained a knee injury at the start of the season. It was confirmed earlier in the week that she has now undergone knee surgery and will be out of action for a further 4 – 6 weeks. Sunshine Coast Lightning training partner Charlie Bell and former Tactix GS Elle Bird were filling in and this week Elle Bird has been confirmed as her official temporary injury replacement until her return. 
  • Emma Thompson (Stars) suffered a concussion and missed round 1, 2 and 3, however she is now back training with the team. Gina Crampton replaced Emma in the first two rounds.
  • Amorangi Malesala (Stars) suffered an ankle injury the week before Easter. Despite playing round 1, her injury is lingering and it has been confirmed she will be unavailable for the next 3 – 4 rounds. 
  • Tiana Metuarau (Pulse) has sustained a foot injury throughout the earliest rounds and although she is being assessed week by week, it is predicted she will remain sidelined for a few rounds yet.
  • Maddy Gordon (Pulse) landed on the foot of another player in the Pulse’s round 3 game against the Stars, rolling her ankle. It is not yet known when she will return.
  • Grace Nweke (Mystics) went off on Monday night against the Tactix with a knee injury. No word yet on the diagnosis or how long she could be on the sidelines for.

South African international Jeanté Strydom made her ANZ Premiership debut in Round 1. Image – Graeme Laughton-Mutu

Talking points

The beginning of the 2024 season saw the implementation of World Netball’s updated rules into the ANZ premiership. One of these rules is the introduction of two-minute suspensions and in round 1 alone, we saw four players sent from the court. Most players who have been sent off under these new rules have not been re-introduced back into the game, with coaches seemingly deciding its not worth the risk of them further offending and potentially being sent from the court for good. Meanwhile across the ditch, not a single Australian player received a two-minute suspension. With the physicality of international netball, fans will be curious to see the application of this rule and what level of physicality will be acceptable. 

It was confirmed early 2024 that Dame Noeline Taurua will remain the Silver Ferns coach for at least another 2 years. Whether she will then continue to lead the team through the 2027 World Cup might depend on whether she believes the team has 4 world-class players – something she considers critical if the team wants to win gold. The team is relatively young and inexperienced so we can expect to see a lot of building and embedding occurring in the next two years.

The changes to the 2024 broadcasting of the ANZ Premiership League has people wondering where netball in New Zealand is headed. Streaming the Saturday match on free-to-air TV will enable more New Zealanders to watch the ANZ Premiership, alongside rumours that Sky TV isn’t getting the viewership levels it requires. Meanwhile, the seed has been planted for some kind of merging of the Australian and New Zealand leagues (which would no doubt benefit both the players AND the spectators) but what shape or form this will take, only time can tell.

Erikana Pedersen has made a good return to the Tactix. Image – Graeme Laughton-Mutu

Links to other relevant articles/other resources

Inside Netball podcast – with Adine Wilson, Anna Stanley and Jenny Woods.

Round 4 upcoming games:

Saturday May 4 –  Southern Steel v Northern Stars @ 4pm (NZT)

Sunday May 5 – Northern Mystics v Central Pulse @ 4pm (NZT)

Monday May 6 – Waikato/BOP Magic v Mainland Tactix @ 7.30pm (NZT)

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