Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic def. Southern Steel to set up next Monday’s fight for 3rd in the ANZ Premiership v Northern Mystics

by Sports Benches

It was a fairly quiet game but close though tonight to finish off Week 10 of 15 between the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic v Southern Steel in the 2024 ANZ Premiership Netball season after two close games over the weekend. We saw the Mystics over the Stars in an all-Northern Auckland derby two days ago 51-49 and then the best of the best clash ended right through the wire yesterday with Mainland Tactix (1st) showing the Central Pulse (2nd) whose boss in the end at extra time 58-53.

Steel actually got away with a great start where they won first two quarters. Gotta say it was a big team effort to get things going rather than the attackers converting them into goals though despite staying ahead of the Magic a bit every time the Steel were able to add goals inside the net. Meanwhile, the Magic might have fired off poorly that gave the Steel the benefit of the doubt. Despite this, the Magic were never too far back to see them add up while they added goal after goal of their own top going into the break, 20-22. The nature pacing of this game might not have changed that much where there lots of scrambling defenses from both teams but at least there was a new leader with the Magic while the Steel couldn’t continue to capitalise and own up to their poor shooting conversions up front. The Magic got away by three points head of Steel after the 3rd quarter off the back of some subs and tactical tweaks before they were able to hang into top spot by seven points as the Steel’s poor front two display including its poor tactical decisions has 100% gifted the Magic another win, 48-41.

Ameliaranne Ekenasio is so crucial to the glue of this Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic side as goal attack. Yes, their first half might have been slow and steady but she was always the team’s go-to attack in the front two, who rubs around opposition defenders off the back of the Steel’s poor executions at the other end, particularly when the Magic managed to turn this around from a two-goal trail after half-time. That way, she knows where to find the net either for herself or her goal attacking team-mate when she’s in & around the circle. She will look to keep that recent winning form by closing into the Mystics for that Top 3 Finals circle next Monday & the Magic needs her so badly in order to make that perfect storm up front. Meanwhile, Erena Mikaere also kept a great eye on a struggling Steel front two as the team’s main goal keeper for the Magic. She’s got a physically robust Georgia Takarangi by her side while she’s got the experience and tall reach – such as the impressive read and direction to knock down a hesitant Steel shooting front two herself that led to a lot of ball going her team’s way with a decent comeback to hang in there for the win in the end. Gotta say she’s still got a lot to offer with a great sense of humour having tasted plenty of success in the past as unfinished business goes on by looking to upsurge the Mystics for 3rd next Monday.

And now the Steel attackers includign their starting front two won’t definitely get a shout after a poor attacking conversion display tonight but gotta say Renee Savai’linaea did the best she can possible to keep the Steel in check including her backline at wing defense. The way she communicated with her defenders and Kate Heffernan in the middle was so crucial to get the ball rolling right from the opening centre pass such along with excellent energy to disrupt the Magic as being tested defensively at times to feed these attacking chances at the other end. But as said, it’s just the shooters who let herself & the whole Steel team down where lots of hits and misses eventually forced the Magic’s hand unfortunately with yet another loss.

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