Netball: Mystics prevail over Steel

The Mystics remain on track for a spot in the finals series after delivering a comprehensive 68-47 win over the Southern Steel in Auckland on Sunday.

The result pushed the Mystics into third place on the table for the time being, providing the opportunity for all team members to get valuable court-time while nabbing their biggest win of the season.

Continuing their successful return from lengthy injury lay-offs, wing attack Peta Toeava and goal shoot Grace Nweke, were named for a second straight week in the Mystics starting line-up while the Steel presented with a familiar starting seven of recent weeks.

After a quiet start, the Mystics continued to flex their muscle through the ensuing three-quarters while pushing into a position of dominance. Making the most of their extra possession, the Mystics enjoyed 21 more shots at goal than the Steel with Nweke’s return proving fruitful after nailing 40 shots from 44 attempts during her time on court.

Steel shooter Grace Namana made the most of her opportunities with a 25 from 27 return.

Through the busy play of captain Kate Heffernan and her midcourt partner Renee Savai’inaea, the Steel made an enterprising start during the opening exchanges as the teams went goal-for-goal.

It took the highly-fancied Mystics half the quarter to poke their noses in front with Nweke taking time to settle and the Steel providing plenty of hustle.

A late burst helped the Mystics gain the jump when leading 16-12 at the first break.

With Toeava rested for the rest of the match, there was a Mystics reshuffle on the resumption.

Tayla Earle, who turned on an accomplished outing, took over the reins at wing attack, Katie Te Ao came on at centre and Filda Vui into goal attack.

On the back of some fine feeding from Te Ao, Earle and Vui, Nweke became a prominent force, the Mystics finding their flow on attack.

Contesting well and having some fine moments of their own, the Steel were frustrated by soft turnovers which continued to put them on the back foot as the home side tightened their grip.

Vui, at the attack end, and defender Phoenix Karaka at the other were strong contributors for the Mystics. Nweke took a seat with five minutes to go, replaced by Hannah Glen, the Mystics retaining their control with a late surge to lead 33-23 at the main break.

The third quarter mirrored the second with the Steel competing gamely on even terms for much of the 15 minutes before the Mystics put a closing stamp on proceedings to reinforce their control.

Interchanging their shooting circle through the stanza with Dani Binks, Glen, Vui and Nweke all having on-court minutes, the Mystics showcased their ability under the hoop either with a holding or mobile circle.

Once again, the Steel had their moments in making the Mystics earn their keep but a lack of consistency counted against them. Making their first change late in the quarter with Jeante Strydom coming on for Taneisha Fifita, it remained an uphill battle for the visitors.

Five straight goals for the home side to end the quarter left the Mystics well in the driver’s seat when leading 50-34 at the last turn.

The Steel made a bright opening to the final quarter, showing their spirit with a five-goal run but were left with too much work to make serious inroads against a well-credentialled Mystics side.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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