2021 ANZ Premiership Round 7 Preview
We take a look at all three match-ups in Round 7 of the ANZ Premiership.
Sunday, 30 May
Mystics v Steel, 4pm at The Trusts Arena in Auckland
The Northern Mystics have delivered the grind that captain Sulu Fitzpatrick has been searching for – coming from behind for the win last week and are now within grasp of the top spot on the ANZ Premiership ladder.
The eight-goal victory over the Magic may have tossed up a few questions for coach Helene Wilson, particularly in the goal attack role with Filda Vui making the most from her cameo in the circle.
Vui made an impact from the bench, showing confidence to turn to the post and netting 12 from 14 and may have warranted a start against the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Steel captain Shannon Saunders said it was back to the drawing board for her team after a disappointing loss to the Tactix.
“Our bread and butter is holding onto that ball. We went away from our game plan.”
Also of concern for the Steel was the high penalty count against the southerners and Saunders said it was something they needed to address before their next game.
“We could probably be a bit better at coming off the body to contest the ball. Rather than contesting the body, we need to come off the line and attack that a bit better.”
Pulse v Magic, 6pm at TSB Arena in Wellington
A resurgent Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse has set the ANZ Premiership alight and will look to keep the heat on when they return home to meet the Splice Construction Magic.
Victory over the unbeaten Stars last week was reminiscent of the form which took the Pulse to two championships and captain Claire Kersten put it down to a lift in intensity at training and new combinations finally finding their feet.
“I think that always takes a little bit of time for those combinations to click and gel and feel really natural out there,” she said.
“It isn’t always pretty but it felt comfortable in those tight moments.”
Recapturing that winning feeling may just be the springboard for the Pulse as the Premiership heads towards the half-way mark. Goal attack Te Amo Amaru-Tibble was a strength last week and showed she has the ability to take the pressure off shooter Aliyah Dunn.
Her Magic counterpart, Khiarna Williams, has also impressed and is building a nice combination with Caitlin Bassett. The return of wing Grace Kara can’t be underestimated with her calmness and creativity on attack a big bonus for the Magic last week.
These two teams last met in Round 2 when the Pulse picked up a 12-goal win on the road.
Monday, 31 May
Stars v Tactix, 7pm at Pulman Arena in Papakura
The Good Oil Tactix are on the move and the Robinhood Stars will know the 14-goal win they got over the Mainlanders in Round 2 will mean nothing when they match-up again.
Three wins on the trot have the Tactix lurking in third place on the ANZ Premiership ladder but captain Jane Watson says they still have areas to address leading into Round 7.
“I think there are still things we need to work on so we’ll just go with our same processes, we’ll have a look and analyse and see how we can get better,” she said.
Converting turnover ball must be top of their list after creating numerous opportunities against the Steel last week but unable to make their opponent pay.
The Stars are also taking a good look inward after suffering their first defeat of the season, losing by 13 goals to the Pulse. Captain Maia Wilson believes the loss will be “a good lesson” for her team going forward as the Stars struggled to adjust to the Pulse’s tight man-on defence.
“We just need to come together a bit and look at our processes. It’s just some little things – not taking our hands and feet to the ball.”