2021 ANZ Premiership Round 10 Preview
Saturday, 19 June
Steel v Stars at 5.15pm at Edgar Centre in Dunedin
Two teams who know how to battle right to the final whistle go head-to-head in Dunedin as they both look to hold their places in the ANZ Premiership top three.
The Robinhood Stars came from behind to maintain the top ranking after nine rounds while the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel got a small jump on the chasing pack in holding down the third rung on the ladder.
Look at either end of the court for the firepower with the league’s most accurate shooter, the Steel’s George Fisher, coming up against Stars’ defender Elle Temu who has the most intercepts (19) in the Premiership.
At the other end of the court is Silver Ferns shooting rock and Stars captain Maia Wilson who takes on another promising youngster in Taneisha Fifita who sits in the top four for rebounds, deflections and intercepts.
Wilson said her side will have taken plenty of confidence from their come from behind win over the Pulse last week.
“I’m so proud of our team to stick together and really fight it out until the last second. But we still have a bit of a problem of getting a half and not consistently a full game.”
Sunday, 20 June
Mystics v Pulse at 4.15pm at The Trusts Arena in Auckland
The Queens of the bonus point – Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse have now secured five bonus points defeats. And while the bonus point may be crucial in the race to the Final Series, the Pulse will want to start securing maximum points to stay in the hunt for a top three spot.
Closing out a game was an area captain Claire Kersten wanted to work on moving forward after leading against the Stars last week, only to fall in the final quarter.
“Not being able to close that out was disappointing. Being able to still play quite freely in those tight moments is something that we can take forward.”
They are up against the second-placed Northern Mystics who finished strongly last week maintaining their spot on the ladder. Centre Tayla Earle made a welcomed return but it’s hard to take eyes off the attacking combination between Peta Toeava and Grace Nweke – a must focus for any Mystics’ opponent.
Pulse coach Gail Parata has mixed up her midcourt line with Maddy Gordon filling all three positions in recent weeks. Will she plump for the more experienced Kersten to shut down Toeava or rely on the explosiveness of Gordon to match the Mystics’ firecracker?
Monday, 21 June
Tactix v Magic at 7.15pm at Trafalgar Centre in Nelson
Disappointment for both The Good Oil Tactix and the Splice Construction Magic last week having controlled their matches for much of the 60 minutes, only to fall short when it mattered most.
For the Tactix, they will need to show they can close out games if they are to stay in the race for a top three spot and they will also be hoping to have sharp shooter Ellie Bird back on board – the shooter ending a 54-game consecutive run of matches played in the red-and-black dress with her absence in Round 9.
Captain Jane Watson says her team needs to remedy their finishes before they run out of time as the Premiership counts down towards the Finals Series.
“Whether we’re not moving, not doing the basics right or not meeting the ball – it’s not good enough. We seem to do that in the last five minutes of every game.”
The Magic was also left ruing a poor finish after controlling much of their match against the second-placed Mystics, only to go down by six. But they may have an injury-hit Tactix side in its sights having gone down to the Mainlanders by just four goals when they last met in Round 4 in Christchurch.