Netball round-up: Tactix flip the script on Mystics

The Tactix completely turned the tables on the Mystics in the second half to upset the ANZ Premiership defending champions 62-59 in Auckland last night.

The Mystics led 32-28 at half time and they were firing the ball with ease into shooter Grace Nweke, in contrast to the laboured approach to the post for the Tactix.

It felt inevitable that the Mystics would pull away further in the second half but the Tactix re-wrote the script.

Tactix coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek mixed up her midcourt by moving Greer Sinclair into centre, after she kept firing the ball into shooter Ellie Bird from wing defence.

Sinclair continued to hone her connection with Bird and it had a flow on effect on the side.

With a few minutes left in the final quarter Nweke had to leave the court with what looked like a minor injury, when the Tactix led by three goals.

Greer Sinclair of the Tactix during the ANZ Premiership netball match, Tactix Vs Magic, Mainpower Stadium, Rangiora, New Zealand, 27th March 2023.

The Mystics scored five goals on the trot in the dying stages but the Tactix were able to hold on and along with the Pulse, remain unbeaten after three rounds of the ANZ Premiership.

The Tactix revealed yesterday that shooter Aliyah Dunn has undergone knee surgery and will be out of action for the next four to six weeks.

Bird has been confirmed as a temporary injury replacement and has been an outstanding stand-in for the player who replaced her at the franchise last year.

Last night she shot 51 goals at 98 percent.

Moving verse holding

Teams will use whatever strengths they have to win a game of netball, whether that be through a moving shooting circle or a tall target holding shooter, or something in between.

Grace Namana ended the game on 100 percent accuracy from her 33 attempts.

At one end of the scale, the Mystics have the ultimate target in 1.93m tall strike shooter Grace Nweke, who is the leading goal scorer with 140 goals at 90 percent after three rounds.

In contrast, on the weekend we saw a good example of a moving circle between Steel shooters Grace Namana at goal shoot and Georgia Heffernan at goal attack, who took more of a share of the shooting load.

The results are what matters at this level but you can’t deny the craft of a moving circle is highly entertaining. The synchronicity between the two Steel shooters was fun to watch.

Having bided her time on the fringes and finally getting her first full ANZ Premiership contract at the age of 28, Namana has been very impressive.

The 1.80m shooter’s attacking smarts, dodges, and creativity are worth the price of a ticket.

Could other franchises learn from the Pulse?

Whatever the Netball Central Zone are doing, it’s working.

Silver Ferns coach Wai Taumaunu

Last year the feeder team Central Manawa won their fifth National Netball League title and with eight players returning from last year’s team they are a good chance of adding another.

The Pulse have retained seven players and are strong again across the court. They are the most successful franchise in the ANZ Premiership era with three titles.

The zone works hard at fostering the next generation of talent in the region, while the Pulse also attract players outside the area.

It also has key people working behind the scenes such as former Silver Ferns coach Wai Taumaunu, who joined the zone as Director of High Performance in 2016.

Her former New Zealand team-mate Sandra Edge, has been the Community Performance Manager since 2017.

Four players from the Central Zone made up the 2023 NZ Secondary Schools team, the same number as the Northern Zone, which has a larger catchment area.

The consensus is that New Zealand needs to build more depth, and the quality of the ANZ Premiership needs to be better.

Perhaps the Central Zone has the blueprint for preparing players through the pathways.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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