The Mainland Tactix have proven they’re genuine play-off contenders while the Northern Mystics continue to slide in the national netball competition.
The Tactix thumped the Mystics 50-40 in Nelson last night to move into second on the ladder alongside the Southern Steel, while the Mystics languish in fifth.
With their defenders usually receiving the plaudits, it was the turn of the Tactix attack line to fire.
Centre Kimiora Poi and 1.96m shooter Ellie Bird produced inspiring efforts for the home team in a major boost to their season.
They were well-supported by wing attack Erikana Pedersen, for her poise in the midcourt, and goal attack Brooke Leaver, who produced a strong off-loading game, her quick releases setting Bird up a treat under the post.
With just a four-day turnaround from their last game, the Mystics struggled from the outset with most facets, having their moments but unable to string consistent phases together.
With Maria Folau unavailable for this game, Jamie Hume got the start at goal attack for the Mystics. There was also a slight reshuffle defensively with Anna Harrison moving to goal defence and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson picking up wing defence.
With plenty resting on this match, it was fast and furious from the outset. The Mystics impressed with their quick transitional play early on, leaving Hume and Bailey Mes finding plenty of space in the circle. Harrison and the in-form Phoenix Karaka made the Tactix shooters work for their keep as the teams’ level-pegged through the opening stanza.
However, it was an ever-improving Tactix who got the important jump late in the piece, a finishing burst of four straight goals handing the home team a 13-11 lead at the first break.
It was more of the same on the resumption, another four goals on the trot pushing the Tactix out to a handy six-goal buffer.
There were positional and personnel changes for the Mystics at the start of the third quarter but retaining their efficiency, purposeful intent and patience, it was the Tactix who pushed out to a 10-goal lead.
In an increasingly defensive outing, turnovers abounded, captain Harrison getting her long arms to plenty as she inspired a late rally from her team. In a low-scoring stanza, the Mystics took advantage of some wobbly Tactix moments, gaining some momentum with the last three goals and reducing the home side’s lead to 38-31 at the last turn.