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Tactix win clash of South Island teams

The Mainland Tactix have dominated the southern derby and returned to winning with a well-constructed 53-44 win over the Southern Steel in Christchurch on Sunday.

With more ball in hand, the home side were able to dictate terms from the outset to dismantle an inconsistent Steel. A non-stop defensive effort laid the platform for an improved attacking effort from the home side who were quick to reassert their game leading from start to finish.


No scoring woes for the Tactix this week with Ellie Bird scoring 37 on her own missing just the one shot.

The Steel won the final quarter but with an overall inferior share of the ball were always on the back foot. Shooters Grace Namana and Georgia Heffernan provided strong accuracy under the hoop but lack of volume for the pair counted against the side.

Bird, once again, slotted in at goal shoot in place of the injured Aliyah Dunn in a settled Tactix line-up.

With injury recently ruling out the experienced Shannon Saunders for the rest of the season, the Steel opted for the up-and-coming Ivari Christie to make the start at wing attack in an otherwise regular starting side.

The Tactix won the clash of the south island sides in the ANZ Premiership
The Tactix came back from last week's loss to defeat the Steel in the ANZ Premiership. PHOTO: NETBALL NZ/MICHAEL BRADLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

Looking to shed last week’s loss, the Tactix were all business at the outset with midcourters Erikana Pedersen and Kimiora Poi spearheading a quick and steady stream of ball into shooter Bird’s hands.

At the other end, the home side’s defensive unit smothered the Steel’s attacking progress while providing plenty of turnover opportunities. Forging out to a six-goal lead, the Tactix looked set to take off but the Steel held their own to finish the quarter strongly.

Limiting the damage, the Steel remained within touching distance when trailing 14-11 at the first break.

It was a similar pattern on the resumption, the Steel needing to work overtime to thread the ball through court where multiple passes were required. But through patience the southerners found reward through shooters Heffernan and Namana.

However, the relentless combined defensive pressure from the Tactix began to take its toll. With the classy defensive pairing of Karin Burger and Jane Watson alongside intercept expert Poi, the home side were able to take a firm grip on proceedings.

The Tactix did not make the most of all their opportunities on attack, several passing lapses handing the Steel extra ball. Charlotte Lourey came on for her ANZ Premiership debut, taking over at wing attack for Christie but the Tactix built on their buffer to hold a 27-20 lead at the main break.

With Christie returning for the third quarter, the Steel made a promising start, gaining momentum on attack while a sterner defensive challenge slowed the Tactix progress.

A lack of defensive gains hindered the Steel’s ability to eat into the deficit, the goal-for-goal impasse finally snapping midway through the stanza. Unable to absorb the constant pressure, the Steel were guilty of too many turnovers and the Tactix were quick to pounce.

Watson provided the impetus from the defensive end, the error rate on attack was cleaned up as the home side clicked up a gear to take full advantage.

Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit were smooth and accurate with their finishing under the hoop as the Tactix took a handy 41-30 lead into the last break.


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