Netball: Steel notches record margin in rout of Tactix

The Southern Steel is in record-breaking mode this season and it notched up another milestone with its 81-51 demolition of the Tactix in Christchurch yesterday.

The 30-goal margin in the rout at Horncastle Arena was the Steel's biggest win in the ANZ Championship, breaking its old mark of 28, also against the Tactix, in 2010.

Its 81 goals were the second-most it has scored in a match, just three behind the 84 it scored against the Tactix last season.

Such was the dominance of the visiting side from the first whistle that much of the attention in the second half turned to whether the Steel could break its goal-scoring record, or whether goal shoot Jhaniele Fowler-Reid could break her own championship record of 65 individual goals in a match.

In the end, Fowler-Reid fell one short of that mark as she slotted 64 goals from 66 attempts in yet another colossal performance.

The win was the Steel's seventh in a row, comfortably its longest winning streak, and it remains the only unbeaten side in the competition with eight wins and a draw.

It now needs just one more victory to record its most wins in a season, although it has already secured top spot in the New Zealand conference and a home playoff match, probably in Invercargill.

It is hard to believe this is, practically, the same Steel side which drew 58-58 with the Tactix back in round two.

Defender Storm Purvis was a late scratching from the team due to illness yesterday and was replaced at goal defence by Te Huinga Selby-Rickit.

The Steel has improved considerably since those early rounds and it reached another level yesterday with a ruthless performance the home side tried valiantly to match but simply could not.

The southern side was slick, committed and clinical as it converted turnovers into points and was able to get the ball into shooting circle with a minimum of fuss.

In contrast, the Tactix were under huge pressure with ball in hand and, although it produced some nice touches at times to add to the spectacle, its play was not nearly as polished.

The Steel wasted no time in getting to work, racing out to a 5-0 lead on the back of deflections by Selby-Rickit and Jane Watson before the Tactix could even get into the game.

The home side, which was well off the pace for most of the encounter, tried everything to stem the tide, even introducing two substitutes before the end of the first quarter in the first of its many changes throughout the game.

But nothing it did could make up for the fact it was a class below the Steel, and it faced a 24-13 deficit after just 15 minutes.

That was extended to 42-24 at halftime, the Tactix giving up 16 turnovers by the halfway stage.

At times in the second half, the match resembled women playing girls as a crumbling Tactix frequently coughed up possession for no apparent reason, and the Steel stormed to a 64-36 lead.

Jane Watson was at her athletic best, contributing one intercept and five deflections, including a spectacular effort in which she slammed into the goal post as she nabbed possession and got a pass away.

Captain Wendy Frew, playing her 100th ANZ Championship game, said yesterday's effort was the Steel's best this season.

"Thirty goals is a big win in the ANZ Championship and it was pretty much close to a perfect game.

"But we still let them have too many turnovers so we can still get better.''

The Steel played like a team determined to atone for its disappointing round two effort, but Frew said that had not provided any extra motivation for the side.

"We definitely talked about that performance but we didn't focus on it too much.

"We just wanted to put in a better performance and we certainly did that tonight.''

● Things did not get much better for Mainland in its national league match against South following the ANZ Championship game.

South won the match 63-37 to record its third win from six matches and cap off a disappointing day for the mainlanders.


ANZ Championship
The scores

Steel                 81

Fowler-Reid 64/66, Selby-Rickit 13/18, Leaver 4/6

Tactix               51

Mes 24/29, Kumwenda 24/26, Hazeldine 3/4


Best of the Steel
For the record

Highest scores

84 v Tactix 2015
81 v Tactix 2016
79 v Tactix 2013

Biggest winning margins

30 v Tactix 2016
28 v Tactix 2010
26 v Tactix 2015

Most goals in ANZ Champs match

Fowler-Reid (Steel) 65 v Tactix 2013 (round 2)
Fowler-Reid 65 v Tactix 2013 (round 12)
Fowler-Reid 64 v Tactix 2016

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