17/04/2024

Grace Kara made her return for the Magic, impacting instantly. (Picture: Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic/Facebook)

Every week the ANZ Premiership gets better and challenges the Suncorp Super Netball, in stats, game highlights, fans and now, players.

Every week the ANZ Premiership gets better and challenges the Suncorp Super Netball, in stats, game highlights, fans and now, players.

Round six of the ANZ Premiership was the redemption round of round one, where underdog teams challenged their opponents, some becoming victors.

The Central Pulse rallied a huge second half together to walk away with a 13 goal win over the Northern Stars 57-44, handing them their first loss of the season.

Mainland Tactix also took the win over the well-oiled Southern Steel 60-50. Lastly, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic showed some potential in their loss against the Northern Mystics, 67-59.

It ultimately wasn’t the games that made this round a reclamation, but the players themselves.  

The Pulse connection found and thriving again

For the first five rounds of the season, the Central Pulse have scrambled through games and lacked connection both in defence and in attack. The team is missing three key players that have previously made up their Premiership sides in Ameliaranne Ekenasio (pregnancy and fatigue), Katrina Rore (pregnancy) and Karin Burger (transfer).

However, the Pulse proved that they were a team to watch as they commanded the second half and stormed home.

“I think tonight was the best we’ve felt – it wasn’t always pretty, but it felt more comfortable in those tight moments,” the Pulse’s Claire Kirsten commented in her post match interview.

“That always takes a little bit of time, when you look at the people who have been at the Pulse for quite a long time and we don’t have at the moment and it takes time for those combinations to click and to feel natural out there.”

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Kelera Nawai defending Maia Wilson. (Picture: ANZ Premiership/Instagram; MB Photos)

Kelera Nawai showed her form and shone brightly against Silver Fern Maia Wilson this week. Nawai, who has garnered attention previously due to her high penalty count, had an outstanding game where she contained Wilson to just 23 goals.

If defensive measures were counted as goals, Nawai would have taken the cake in this match up as she finished with five amazing intercepts, 12 gains, five rebounds and four deflections.

Maddy Gordon also looked to be back to her usual self as she flittered the court in Wing Defence with a clean yet physical game.

A little bit of Kara Magic

Grace Kara made her return to the ANZ Premiership after suffering a calf injury, and with it came the strong start the Magic have been looking for all season. With pinpoint accurate passes into both Caitlin Bassett and Chiara Semple, it was a dream come true for the Magic.

Bassett herself didn’t go unnoticed by fans and commentators, as she thrived from start to finish, showing a level and style of play not seen from her before pre-COVID times. She displayed fantastic sportsmanship and leadership as she vocally supported youngster Khiarna Williams throughout the second half of the match.

For Australian fans, it was that glimmer of hope and strength they had been waiting to see from Bassett in her move to the ANZ Premiership.

Hungry for the ball

In the Tactix vs Steel game, it was a game of defense right from the get go.

Taneisha Fifita was out to redeem herself from last week’s send off while Jane Watson and Karin Burger proved why they are the starting defensive duo for the Silver Ferns.

It was Burger’s arms and agility that stole the show as she covered Tiana Metuarau with ease getting some clean deflections and gains throughout the game.

Looking forward

Round seven’s match ups could yet again determine league standings, as the Northern Mystics will be looking to take the win from the Southern Steel and the top spot.

The Mainland Tactix will have a fight on their hands if they want to show their dominance against the Northern Stars.

But the game to watch will be the Central Pulse vs Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, both underdog teams coming into the match with plenty to prove.

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