Northern Mystics' 63-51 victory over West Coast Fever at Trusts Arena in Auckland showed great team-work, inspirational and athletic defence and precision on attack.
Their performance was a shot in the arm for New Zealand netball after Magic's defeat by the Swifts and Pulse's embarrassing heavy loss to the Queensland Firebirds.
Although Mystics were slow to start, down 15-17 at the first quarter, new starting combinations such as Temilisi Fakahokotau and Julie Corletto on defence and Bailey Mes at wing attack teamed with centre Laura Langman and wing defence Anna Harrison, provided fast-moving and often technically astute play.
Cathrin Latu's accuracy was at last reinforced by volume. Latu shot 39 from 43 attempts with captain Maria Tutaia scoring 24 from 35. Latu was irresistibly all brilliant technique and precision enabling herself to receive shots by leaps, precise turns, sure hands and brilliant athleticism. Pulse and Magic could learn a lot from her play and that of the centre court who managed to infiltrate defences of classy players like Shae Bolton at wing defence and Eboni Beckford Chambers in the circle. Bailey Mes was a strongly defensive wing attack picking up ball with dexterity and finding circle edge while Laura Langman provided some beautiful aerial and rapid passages of play both defensively and on attack. Langman's form is decisively back!
Fakahokotau's speed and ability to read the game and pluck intercepts was stunning, paired with the competent Corletto. No wonder Fakahokotau is attending sessions with the Silver Ferns trialists. With Harrison's help, Caitlin Bassett and Natalie Medhurst faced formidable defence and Medhurst was removed at three-quarter time.
Captain Maria Tutaia celebrating her hundredth game took shots from anywhere in the goal circle. Magic and Pulse have good reason to rue not having done the same thing this week. Pulse particularly need to turn and shoot.
National selector Wai Taumaunu must have been thrilled with what was put out on court last night which shows such promising combinations and technique from both experienced and younger players bearing fruit at last!