The Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic have opened their ANZ Premiership netball season with a 54-48 victory over the Southern Steel in Dunedin.

It is the first time the Magic have beaten the Steel in the four years of the competition.

With the government restriction on crowds of no more than 500, Netball New Zealand decided to play the game without fans.

The Steel lost their home court advantage and were slow to get off the mark.

The Magic were in front by four after the first quarter, but slowly
pegged their way back into the game and led briefly in the second half.

However a concerted team effort by the Magic in the final quarter saw
them notch up their first victory over the Steel in ANZ Premiership
history.

Magic goal keep Erena Mikaere, back in her home colours, was able to
disrupt the Steel’s new shooting combination of Jen O’Connell and
Trinidad & Tobago import Kalifa McCollin.

Abigail Latu-Meafou led the charge on attack for the Magic, standing
strong against the Steel defence and was able to feed goal shoot Kelsey
McPhee.

The new midcourt combination of Whitney Souness and Ariana
Cable-Dixon, who was player of the match, was also important in the
Magic’s flow through court.

Steel co-captain Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit said the team was
disappointed the game had been closed to the public but safety was
paramount.

“This is a really challenging time for everyone and we respect the
decision which has been made. While we were excited to be launching our
season in front of our loyal fans, this is best to keep everyone safe,”
Selby-Rickit said.

Netball NZ Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie said while it was
disappointing for all fans, the decision was based on the message from
Government.

“This decision is in the best interest of public health and well
being, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, our
volunteers,” Wyllie said.

In the other first round games over the weekend the Pulse beat the Tactix and the Mystics beat the Stars.

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