Loss down to losing edge early

George Fisher of the Steel takes a pass during the ANZ Premiership round 2 match between the...
George Fisher of the Steel takes a pass during the ANZ Premiership round 2 match between the Northern Mystics and the Southern Steel at The Trusts Arena in Auckland on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images
The Steel will not have to watch the game tape for too long to see what went wrong.

The Southerners fell off the pace about midway through the first quarter.

The Mystics piled on seven unanswered goals and took a 19-11 lead into the first break in Auckland on Saturday night.

The game was more or less even thereafter. The Mystics went on to win 64-58.

Goal shoot Grace Nweke drilled 56 of her 60 attempts in an impressive performance.

Her opposite, George Fisher, recorded a perfect 42 from 42 but did not always link well with her feeders.

Steel coach Reinga Bloxham said her side struggled to recover from a poor start.

"The rest of the game we weren’t too bad," she said.

"We held our own but the start was not fantastic."

No. Not fantastic at all.

Arguably the Steel’s slide started with a piece of brilliance from the opposition. Elisapeta Toeava tossed in a rocket pass to Nweke under the net.

She slotted it and moments later Steel goal attack Tiana Metuarau missed down the other end.

The Steel’s next opportunity to score was snuffed out when Kate Burley got in front of Fisher to nab an intercept.

It was perhaps a sign the connections are not just quite there yet for the Steel.

Add in a fumble from Metuarau and you have pretty much pinpointed exactly where the game was lost.

The Mystics stretched their eight-goal lead by one by halftime. But the Steel won the final two quarters to cut the deficit to six goals, which was not enough to rescue a bonus point.

"I think the Mystics applied some really good pressure and we probably struggled a wee bit to counteract that at the beginning," Bloxham said.

While Fisher was accurate under the net, there were still "plenty of things to work on".

"I think at times the connections between the outside and inside was good. But there are still a few things we can do differently to help get the ball in a little bit easier."

The Steel’s next assignment is against the Pulse in Invercargill and Bloxham wants her side to be "stronger in the contest" for the ball.

The Steel had a disrupted travel day to Auckland. Its flight out of Invercargill was cancelled due to fog and the team had to load into a shearing gang’s van and drive through to Queenstown to catch another flight.

"I think it is probably in the back of your mind because we were a little bit slow out of the blocks to start off with, so maybe there was a little bit of fatigue there.

"But that is part and parcel of the competition, so we are going to have to be prepared going forward."

Burley was named player of the match for her efforts in the defensive circle for the Mystics. She made it hard for the Steel to find Fisher. That was instrumental because Fisher has missed only three times in two games.

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