ANZ Premiership: Northern Stars triumph over Tactix in their first home game

Star shooter Maia Wilson (L) and Tactix defender Kelera Nawai-Caucau challenge for possession during an ANZ Premiership netball clash in Auckland.

Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.

Star shooter Maia Wilson (L) and Tactix defender Kelera Nawai-Caucau challenge for possession during an ANZ Premiership netball clash in Auckland.

At Pulman Arena, Auckland: Stars 56 (Maia Wilson 31/34, Jamie Hume 17/24, Amorangi Malesala 8/12) Continental Tactix 48 51 (Ellie Bird 24/21, Te Paea Selby-Rickit 21/17, Hannah Glen 11/10). Quarterback scores: 13-14, 29-27, 40-38.

The Northern Stars hung on for their fourth win of 2022 in their first home game of the ANZ Premiership netball season, rising to a determined Tactix challenge.

Kiri Wills’ well-drilled side won 56-48 in the second meeting between the two rivals in four days after the Stars beat Tactix by 12 points in Christchurch last Saturday.

There was no rematch result for the Tactix, but it was still a braver effort from the Mainlanders, fielding a full-strength team for perhaps the first time this season.

They were competitive for the first three quarters before the Stars overwhelmed them in the fourth period.

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Te Paea Selby-Rickit lines up a shot for the Tactix.

Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.

Te Paea Selby-Rickit lines up a shot for the Tactix.

Marianne Delaney-Hoshek’s visitors quickly took a 2-0 lead in the first quarter and at one point stretched their advantage to four goals.

The Tactix took advantage of putting more pressure in midfield – where center Kimiora Poi made a welcome return – and in defence, where Kelera Nawai-Caucau and Karin Burger had a good battle with the Stars shooting ace Maya Wilson.

The Stars rallied a bit to trail just one point late in the first quarter and took the lead in the second after a hard-fought defensive effort led by former veteran Silver Fern Anna Harrison and exceptional Elle Temu , plus a timely change to the offensive end with Amorangi Malesala brought in to replace Jamie Hume, who had shot just 54% in the first stanza.

A two-point lead over the Stars at halftime meant the Tactix were still looking for their second win of the season.

The third quarter was equally cat and mouse with the Tactix showing great determination to recover from a five-goal deficit to close at 40-38 with 15 minutes to go.

But the Stars were too strong in the fourth, scoring 16-10 as they had the luxury of resting hard-working center Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, who had 22 assists, 41 assists and three turnovers.

Elle Temu was outstanding on goal defense in a Player of the Game performance for the Stars.

Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.

Elle Temu was outstanding on goal defense in a Player of the Game performance for the Stars.

Best on the court

The Elle Temu goal defense was a tour de force in the Stars backline with seven deflections and an interception in his team’s toughest game of the season against Tactix’s big shots.

The big moment

Three straight buckets from Silver Ferns ace Maia Wilson gave the Stars a five-goal lead after five minutes in the third quarter. While the Tactix cut it to a two-goal deficit at the quarter break, the lead remained out of reach for the rest of the game.

Ranking of matches

7/10. Tight and tense for three quarters with steady ebbs and flows, but a few untimely errors from both teams before the Stars exerted absolute control in the final quarter.

The big picture

The Stars remain in fourth place, but are just two points off third and have two fewer games on the three teams above the theme, the Mystics, Steel and Pulse, while the Tactix have yet to only one victory this campaign despite a more encouraging performance.

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