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Steel v Stars Match Report - June 19, 2021

In a bruising encounter, the Robinhood Stars earned a 53-43 win over the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel in Dunedin.

The ANZ Premiership round 10 clash was a test of physical prowess from the athletes, with neither team shying away from the intense challenges which emerged as the hunt for competition points heats up.

It was reflected in the match statistics with the Stars circle defenders racking up a staggering 45 penalties compared to the Steel’s 10.

Hunting their fourth consecutive win, the Steel started with strong energy and a humdinger buzzer beater from Tiana Metuarau to inch ahead after the opening spell.

The Stars kicked into gear to dominate proceedings in the second quarter, a ferocious defensive effort from Anna Harrison and Elle Temu rattling the usually unflappable Steel shooting duo of George Fisher and Tiana Metuarau.

Facing a 22-26 deficit, a feistier Steel emerged for the second half, immediately slashing into the Stars buffer to ultimately snatch back the lead 32-31.

Disaster struck with Fisher and Temu involved in a nasty collision late in the phase, the England international forced to leave the court for medical treatment and concussion checks.

While the visitors capitalised on the momentum swing and etched out a valuable buffer, the courageous Steel fought to the final whistle, executing some exciting phases of play.

The Stars were forced to dig deep to eventually shake off the dogged Steel and retain their place at the top of the table.

None was more influential than imposing Stars defender and Player of the Match Harrison, who applied non-stop pressure to provide a torrid outing for the opposing shooters.

Both teams presented with settled, well-performed starting line-ups, the match-up between Fisher, the league’s most accurate shooter, and stalwart defender Harrison, an eagerly-anticipated individual clash.

Staunch defensive efforts at both ends of the court stifled any chance of a free-flowing game with a lack of volume coming into the shooting circles resulting in a low-scoring opening stanza.

The home side had their noses in front early but increasingly, the long reach of the ever-competitive Harrison had an impact.

Neither side found any rhythm, the ball swinging back and forth with little action under the hoops as conversion rates also took a hit.

Steel clung to a tenuous 10-9 lead the first break but the Stars came to play on the resumption, scoring the first two goals to set the tone. The defensive stoush continued but it was the visitors’ who benefitted most as Harrison, Elle Temu and Lisa Mather got the upper hand on their southern rivals.

The shooter-to-shooter exchanges between Maia Wilson and Jamie Hume clicked into gear on the back of the efficient flow on attack provided by Gina Crampton as the Stars enjoyed more ball in etching out a six-goal advantage.

A lack of volume counted against the Steel shooters with Fisher and Metuarau having all sorts of problems against the Stars relentless defensive exploits.

Stepping it up on attack and showing more flow and accuracy, it was an improved Stars who hit the main break with a 26-22 lead, the Steel staying in the contest after delivering a late productive surge.

Showing plenty of their renowned tenacious spirit, it was the Steel’s turn to show what they’re made of during a dramatic third stanza. While the hustle and bustle continued unabated in the contest, four goals in a row helped the home side narrow the deficit to just two.

Fisher and Metuarau had a strong impact in the Steel circle while the side’s through-court transition was much improved as they regained the lead for the first time since the first quarter. However, the Harrison influence could not be discarded, the rangy defender picking up a vital turnover to give the lead back to the Stars.

At three-quarter time, the Stars had nudged into a 36-34 lead as the Steel were left to ponder the big adjustment needed in their re-jigged shooting line.

Official Result and Stats:
Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel: 43
Robinhood Stars: 53

Champion Data Match Centre

Shooting Stats - Steel:
George Fisher 22/32 (69%)
Tiana Metuarau 19/23 (83%)
Kiana Pelasio 2/6 (33%)

Shooting Stats - Stars:
Maia Wilson 38/47 (81%)
Jamie Hume 13/19 (68%)
Amorangi Malesala 2/3 (67%)

MVP: Anna Harrison (Stars)


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