Southern Steel given wake up call by determined Mainland Tactix in national netball league - May 7, 2017
by SCOTT DONALDSON
The Southern Steel were given a wake up call, before they overcame a determined bottom placed Mainland Tactix 61-55 in the national netball league at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin on Sunday.
Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham used the match as an opportunity to give some of her stars a break and less experienced players an opportunity, with Jamaican international Jhaniele Fowler-Reid rested after the Steel opened up a 21-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, while Abby Erwood and Jamie Hume started ahead of the Selby-Rickit sisters.
The Tactix took the opportunity to erase memories of their horror 90-41 round four defeat, by winning the second and third quarters, but were cruelly denied the upset of the season and a bonus point after Fowler-Reid returned to the game in the final quarter to help the Steel retain their unbeaten record.
"It might just be what we need to make us go back and have a look at ourselves and see what we could do better," Bloxham said.
"The plan was always to play the game out like that so it was a good opportunity for those less experienced players to have a start, because that is a different scenario all together."
"It is quite nice to be able to come on when you are comfortable and got a lead, but I think being there from the start and having to build that lead is an experience in itself."
Both Hume and Jamaican international Fowler-Reid scored some early mid to long range shots to give the team confidence as the Steel raced out to an early 4-1 lead.
To their credit, the Tactix didn't lie down, taking the lead seven minutes into the first quarter 8-7, after some well taken turnovers, including a great intercept by Tactix goal keep Temalisi Fakahokotau.
The Steel managed to raise the intensity, to finish the first quarter with a seven goal lead.
Both teams replaced their goal shoots at the end of the first quarter.
The Steel replaced Jamaican international Fowler-Reid at goal shoot with Silver Fern Te Paea Selby-Rickit, while tall young shooter Ellie Bird, sister of Chiefs rugby lock Dominic, entered the game in place of Charlotte Elley for the Tactix.
Not surprisingly, the absence of Fowler-Reid from the Steel circle took some time to adjust to, with the second quarter a more event contest.
"I thought at times Jamie [Hume] and Te Paea [Selby-Rickit] had some good space in the shooting circle and the Tactix defence did a really good job of disrupting their shooting flow, so we should be able to be better than that and adjust and make adaptions quicker," Bloxham said.
"I think if our ball into the shooters was a bit more quality it shouldn't really matter who is behind in the circle."
While the Steel took a 34-28 lead into halftime, the Tactix won the second quarter 14-13 and gained confidence as the game progressed.
Some excellent work by Tactix defenders Fakahokotau and Zoe Walker and the extra height of Bird tied the game up 43-43, towards the end of the third quarter.
The Steel brought Fowler-Reid and Te Huinga Selby-Rickit into the game for the final quarter in an attempt to secure the game.
The lead changed throughout the early stages of the fourth quarter, before the more experienced Steel came home with a wet sail and recorded a 61-55 victory.
Meanwhile, the Netball South team won their Beko League match against Mainland 60-40 at the conclusion of the national league game.
At a glance
Southern Steel61 (Fowler-Reid 29/31, Jamie Hume 16/23, Te Paea Selby-Rickit 16/19)
Mainland Tactix 55 (Ellie Bird 34/39, Brooke Leaver 17/25, Anna Thompson 4/5)
Q1: 21-14; HT: 34-28; Q3: 46-45.