Mainland Tactix inflict demolition on Northern Mystics

Karin Burger of the Tactix looks on during the ANZ Championship match between Tactix and Steel at...
Karin Burger of the Tactix looks on during the ANZ Championship match between Tactix and Steel at Wolfbrook Arena on April 15, 2024 in Christchurch. Photo: Getty Images/file
By Penny Miles of RNZ

The Mainland Tactix jumped into a share of the lead of netball's ANZ Premiership with a 56-42 demolition of the Northern Mystics in Auckland.

Joining the Central Pulse on 21 points at the top of the ladder following their seventh win from eight games, the Tactix sent a warning sign to their rivals at the halfway stage of the competition.

Tactix goal keeper Jane Watson was inspirational in defence as the Canterbury side led from start to finish in a sensational performance.

Defensive duo Watson and Karin Burger were in imperious form, through their athletic antics and ability to constantly limit the Mystics' scoring opportunities. In the middle, captain Kimiora Poi was a bundle of energy on attack while reaping rewards with her constant hustle on defence.

The Tactix began with a flourish following last week's last-gasp victory over the Stars, using speed and vision to pierce the tall Mystics defence line of Phoenix Karaka and Carys Stythe.

Both ends of the court were outstanding for the visitors, as they dominated the opening quarter to lead by eight goals at the first break.

Ellie Bird had room to move in the goal circle, missing just one goal in the opening stanza, as the Tactix swiftly found their rhythm in attack.

Initially adding cover for the injured Aliyah Dunn, shooter Bird has revelled in her play since spending last year plying her trade in the UK and was once again at the forefront of the Tactix charge.

At the other end of the court, the relentless trio of Watson, Karin Burger and Paris Lokotui restricted the flow of ball into the Mystics shooters.

Hannah Glen, who has been making the most of her time on court covering for the injured Mystics powerhouse Grace Nweke, found the action tough going against her former Canterbury teammates.

Glen scored eight goals from 11 attempts in her starting effort until she was replaced by the talented up-and-comer Dani Binks in the second quarter.

By halftime, the momentum was strongly on the side of the visitors, with the Tactix leading 31-19 at the break.

The home side didn't see many improvements in the third quarter, with a further blow coming in the form of an injury to dynamic midcourter Peta Toeava.

Toeava limped to the sidelines after becoming tangled with Watson at the edge of the court.

The Tactix kept their composure to extend their lead to 14 goals by the end of the third quarter.

In a strong fourth quarter the Mystics matched the Tactix, with Hannah Glen taking over the shooting duties once again.

Player-of-the-match Jane Watson commended her defensive partner Karin Burger for a first-rate performance, but told SkySport the Tactix still had room for improvement.

"We got complacent at times, and we didn't take our feet into the ball.

"Honestly, I'm really happy with that performance but also know that we can be better, which is really nice."

Off-colour Mystics captain Michaela Sokolich-Beatson only took a minor part in the game due to illness.

Shooting stats - Mystics:

Filda Vui 24/28 (86%)

Hannah Glen 17/22 (77%)

Dani Binks 1/4 (25%)

Shooting stats - Tactix:

Ellie Bird 42/46 (91%)

Te Paea Selby-Rickit 14/14 (100%)

Player of the Match: Jane Watson