Southern Steel claim comfortable game of two halves netball win over Northern Stars - May 28, 2017
by SCOTT DONALDSON
The unbeaten Southern Steel netball juggernaut rolls on with an impressive first half paving the way for a comfortable 82-58 national netball league win over the Northern Stars.
Any thoughts that the Northern Stars might continue their mid-season giant killing run were quickly extinguished at Stadium Southland.
The Southern Steel recorded a franchise record 11th win on-the-trot, to all but cement the top spot in the ANZ Premiership with four games remaining.
They raced out to a commanding 23 goal halftime lead as the Stars struggled to combat the high balls from the Steel midcourt, into tall shooters Jhaniele Fowler-Reid and Te Paea Selby-Rickit, before the Stars fought back.
"It definitely was a game of two halves, the first half was what we were aiming to achieve for the whole game, but the second half, I am not sure what happened," Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham said.
"But the third quarter obviously the Stars came back at us and won that quarter, we seemed to get a lot of ball, but we weren't quite converting anything that we got which is usually a strength of ours so it was a little bit disappointing there."
"I think the Stars did lift their game, but I think we lost a little bit of consistency and flow in our own game, that is probably the most disappointing thing."
"I think what would have been nicer is if we were able to push on in each quarter, but I think for us we will look at the third quarter and see what it is that we can do better next time."
The Steel raced to an 8-2 lead after four minutes, with some impressive defence by Jane Watson in defence and athleticism from shooter Fowler-Reid to claim several high balls to race to a 15-7 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Stars tweaked their combination, as they moved captain Leana de Bruin to goal keep and introduced Courtney Tairi at centre.
It did little to stem the flow of goals from the Steel, who went to the first quarter break 24-14 ahead.
The Stars kept rotating their squad as they tried to stem the flow of high ball into the 1.98 metre Fowler-Reid, with de Bruin leaving the court at the end of the first quarter with an injury.
The Steel stretched their lead to 31-18 early in the second quarter at one stage, before the Steel switched the game up a notch and produced some impressive plays to race to a 48-25 lead at halftime.
To their credit, the Stars started the second half strongly as the Steel made some uncharacteristic mistakes as the teams went goal for goal in the third quarter.
While the result was never really in question after halftime, the Stars won the third quarter as the second half was a lot closer than the first with the Stars midcourt of Tairi and Emma Iverson doing a good job finding goal shoot Maia Wilson.
Steel young gun Jennifer O'Connell made her debut in the final quarter, while player of the match Jane Watson sporting blue hair braids courtesy of Fowler-Reid and Fowler-Reid's mother got six intercepts and five deflections.
The Steel's next game is against the Northern Mystics in Dunedin on Wednesday June 7, while the Stars host the Tactix on Sunday June 4.
At a glance:
Southern Steel 82 (Fowler-Reid 56/59, Selby-Rickit 25/29, O'Connell 1/3)
Northern Stars 59 (Wilson 42/46, Vaka 13/19, Rusivakula 3/5).
Q1: 24-14; Q2:48-25; Q3: 64-43.