Visit the ANZ Premiership WebsiteReturn to Steel Home Page
  1. Home >
  2. News >
  3. Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel v Avis Magic – Round 10

Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel v Avis Magic – Round 10

June 17, 2024

After a scrappy encounter, the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel succumbed 48-41 to the AVIS Magic in Hamilton.

Steel arguably had the advantage for the bulk of the ANZ Premiership Rd 10 match, and deserve kudos for the fight shown, but unfortunately faltered again when it counted most – the second half.

Desperate to keep its hunt for the Finals Series alive, it was all the motivation Magic needed as the home side turned mediocracy into dominance after the break. It was an impressive transformation from a team which initially struggled to contain the gutsy southerners.

Turnovers were rife throughout the match as both teams unleashed powerful defensive efforts but too often the gain wasn’t cemented on the scoreboard. For the Steel, it proved particularly costly as superior volume simply wasn’t converted for lackluster shooting return of 67 percent, a reflection of the defensive pressure swamping their flow on attack.

In terms of standout performances, Steel captain Kate Heffernan was instrumental in dictating play from go to woah, while wing defence Renee Savai’inaea chalked up some stellar intercepts.

Heffernan was left ruing what might have been.

“We just didn’t look after the ball as well as we said we really wanted to,” she said.

“They (Magic) came out hard after halftime and it’s a bit disappointing we weren’t able to match it and push on because it did feel really good in the first half and we needed to keep that momentum going.”

She was eager to praise the performance of Savai’inaea.

“Renee is amazing – I love playing with her and we have a really good connection out the front. She is such a work horse and she’s very consistent. Working so hard behind the scenes, she probably doesn’t get the credit she deserves.”

Magic were forced to dig deep to overcome the Steel in the fragmented game. While the southerners held the lead throughout the first half, it was never by more than three goals.

But the injection of calmness and experience in Ariana Cable-Dixon and Ivana Rowland helped the Magic to settle into their rhythm in the second half and gain an important win that keeps them in reach of third spot on the ANZ Premiership ladder.

The Magic defence of Erena Mikaere and Georgia Takarangi were outstanding from the get-go and claimed four intercepts and 16 gains between them.

Steel started strongly, scoring three goals before Magic even opened their account.

The Magic struggled to find avenues through to their shooters with a wall of pink and blue defence throughout the midcourt; Kate Heffernan leading by example at centre.

But it wasn’t all rosy for the Steel attack, up against the long arms of Mikaere, who snapped up two intercepts and three gains in the first quarter. But the Magic failed to turn all their gains into goals, until the final minutes of the quarter when they closed a three-goal deficit to even the scores.

Up 10-9 at the first break, Steel continued to smother the Magic attack, who were caught out too often pondering where to pass. The Steel defensive pairing of Abby Lawson and Jeanté Strydom made movement difficult for Magic shooters Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Saviour Tui.

At the opposite end, Takarangi used her smarts and speed to flummox the Steel shooters (who put up 11 more shots in the first half but were let down by their lack of accuracy).

Both sides were guilty of patchy play and disconnection on attack, and the scoreboard ticked over slowly. Ariana Cable-Dixon was brought on at centre and Ivana Rowland at goal shoot for the home side which helped the Magic to tie the scores again, but they still couldn’t build momentum.

Steel turned to a new goal shoot, Summer Temu, who helped them to reclaim the lead, 22-20, at halftime. The wing defences on both sides made their presence felt in the third quarter: Renee Savai’inea was all over the Magic’s midcourters (who built to four intercepts and five gains for the match).

Georgie Edgecombe was a power of strength for the Magic – her intercept contributed to the Magic taking a three-goal lead for the first time and holding on to it going into the final stanza, 34-31.

But the real story of the second half was Ekenasio (20 from 22 attempts) finally able to take charge in the Magic circle, gaining confidence with pinpoint feeds from Cable-Dixon, and the sure hands of Rowland (16 from 17), and the gap grew out of the Steel’s reach in the final 15 minutes.

Official Result and Stats:

Avis Magic: 48
Ascot Park Hotel Steel: 41

Shooting Stats - Magic:
Saviour Tui 12/14 (86%)
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 20/22 (91%)
Ivana Rowland 16/17 (94%)

Shooting Stats - Steel:
Grace Namana 16/25 (64%)
Georgia Heffernan 17/26 (65%)
Summer Temu 8/10 (80%)

ANZ Fans' Player of the Match: Erena Mikaere (Magic)


Christchurch Website Development