ANZ Premiership: First victory for the Steel, Pulse remain unbeaten in Round Three
Coverage of Round Four starts on Friday, live Sky Sports Mix, with the Mystics taking on the Tactix
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 29/06/20 11:10am
The Steel won their first match of the 2020 season, while the Pulse remain unbeaten after outlasting the the Mystics in Round Three of the ANZ Premiership at Auckland's Netball Centre.
After every outfit had dusted off the cobwebs created by the enforced hiatus last weekend, all six were eager to build on their work seven days on.
The Steel and the Mystics were the two teams tasked with a double-header of matches, while the defending champions had to wait until Monday to return to court.
Take a look at all of the results from Round Three and mark the start of Round Four in your diaries; the Tactix and the Mystics face-off on Friday at 8am, live on Sky Sports.
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Tactix 45-35 Magic
A strong second-half performance from the Tactix ensured they secured their second victory of the season against the Magic on Friday.
It was a contest filled with exceptional defensive work, particularly in both circles, and that resulted in both teams' low conversation rates to goal; 73 per cent for the Tactix and 77 per cent for the Magic.
After losing the opening 12 minutes by two goals [11-9], the Magic turned up the heat in the second quarter and surged into half-time with a 22-19 advantage. Whitney Souness was driving their work in attack while Holly Fowler and Erena Mikaere pressed in defence.
Half-time arrived just when the Magic did not need it to though, because the Tactix regrouped during the interval. They returned to the court with a new focus and that paid dividends.
Tactix vs Magic - Quarter Splits
Jane Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotau disrupted the Magic's continually disrupted shooters. Watson also turned over ball with ease further up the court while Te Paea Selby-Rickit upped her game in their shooting end.
The Magic shuffled their hand for the last quarter, however, the damage had already been done and they did not make the inroads required to secure a positive result.
Both sides will now return to their training courts and prepare for Round Four. The Magic have a double-header of matches in against the Pulse and the Stars and Tactix will commence the round against the Mystics.
ANZ Premiership Results - Round Three
|Friday, June 26||Tactix 45-36 Magic|
|Saturday, June 27||Mystics 46-42 Steel|
|Sunday, June 28||Stars vs Steel|
|Monday, June 29||Pulse 42-35 Mystics|
Mystics 46-42 Steel
And Mystics make it 4 from 4. Youth and Experience meshing so well. Fitzpatrick & Karaka smart, skillful and working well for each other. Couple of loose passes in the last few minutes from Mystics and the mindfulness of Steel gets them bonus point. @SkyNetball @ANZPremiership pic.twitter.com/gcgQzxlK34— Pamela Cookey (@PamelaCookey) June 27, 2020
Despite being pushed all the way, the Mystics created a new record for themselves on Saturday with their fourth consecutive ANZ Premiership victory.
After triumphing in their final match of the 2019 season, they have started this new one in fine form and have yet to experience a loss.
|55||Attempts at goal||55|
The tale of the tape is clearly shown by the full-time statistics. The Mystics were more accurate in their shooting circle, had greater potency in defence and snatched the amount of ball needed.
Grace Nweke took the bulk of the work up front, scoring 35 of their 46 goals, while Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick continued to gel superbly out the back. They never finished a quarter behind on the scoreboard.
Throughout the Steel threatened their opponents, putting runs of goals to get back into touching distance but they did not produce for the full 48 minutes. Also, a penalty count of 51 against them is something that head coach Reinga Bloxham will want to address.
Stars 47-49 Steel
After a very short turnaround, the Steel showed the courage of their conviction to record their first win of the season over the Stars on Sunday.
The contest was a thriller, with both sides winning two quarters each. The Steel took the first and the last while the Stars made the middle of their game their own on the scoreboard.
Throughout the contest, the Steel showed fierce determination and much better accuracy. Unlike on Saturday, O'Connell and McCollin nailed their goals in the circle and across the board they cleaned up their work.
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Heffernan awaits scan to determine knee injury. Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel shooter Georgia Heffernan will have a scan this week to confirm the extent of a knee injury suffered on Sunday night. Wishing Georgia a speedy recovery 💖💙 Thanks to our amazing supporters for all of your well wishes 🏐 Read more: Link in bio 📸: Michael Bradley Photography
After a productive first half, the Steel held a 26-23 lead at the interval. The two sides kept their intensity high throughout the second half and both tried to make decisive moves.
Neither was able to get away from the other. After being locked at 36 goals apiece at three-quarter time, you wondered if the Stars might shake their opponents' confidence - given that the Steel were still winless.
However, Regina Bloxham rallied her troops at the final pause and their leaders stepped up. Gina Crampton and Shannon Saunders both used their cool heads in midcourt to continue to feed the circle purposefully.
The only blight on the match for the Steel was Georgia Heffernan being carried off the court following a fall in the third quarter. The 20-year-old had just settled into her work at GA and she will now have a scan on her right knee.
Pulse 42-35 Mystics
The Central Pulse maintained their unbeaten record at the expense of the only other unbeaten side, the Mystics on Monday.
Following a 24-goal victory in the last round, the Pulse didn't enjoy the same dominance and instead were pushed all the way.
Just two goals separated the teams with a quarter to play [30-28], as they brought the best out of each other.
The Mystics' circle defenders, Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick, kept the Pulse's shooters under intense pressure throughout while Peta Toeava excelled for the second week in a row at WA.
The Pulse are the defending champions for a reason, and under the guidance of Yvette McCausland-Durie problem-solved and upped the ante in the final quarter.
With seven minutes to play, the Pulse pressed and creates a four-goal cushion. Tiana Metuarau's introduction at GA paid dividends and Ameliaranne Ekenasio stepped up after moving back to GS.
As a collective, they squeezed from there and the final margin made the defending champion's victory look, just a little easier than it was.
What's next in Round Four?
ANZ Premiership Fixtures - Round Four [All live on Sky Sports]
|Friday, July 3||Mystics vs Tactix||8am|
|Saturday, July 4||Pulse vs Steel||6am|
|Sunday, July 5||Pulse vs Magic||6am|
|Monday, July 6||Magic vs Stars||8am|