Magic night for netball at ASB Arena

By Peter White

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Magic vs West Coast Fever Courtney Tairi
Magic vs West Coast Fever Courtney Tairi

Top class netball returned to the superb ASB Arena tonight as the unbeaten Kia Magic continued their golden start to the ANZ Championship with a resolute 65-48 victory over the West Coast Fever.

After a week sunning themselves in Tauranga, the Perth-based Fever looked fit and ready to go - and their opening performance reflected that as they jumped out to a 17-12 lead after the first quarter.

Fever extended their lead to 21-13 before Magic scored eight straight goals to close the game up 21-21, with Grace Rasmussen distributing well from wing attack. Magic goal shoot Joanne Harten impressed with her composure under pressure and there was plenty of that in the shooting circle.

Magic finally got in front 24-23 with four to play in quarter two before Harten and goal attack Ellen Halpenny stretched the lead out to 33-26 at the break. Fever seemed to have no answer to Magic's dominant second quarter power and no doubt had the message rammed home at halftime by coach Norma Plummer.

Magic's dominant defensive pairing of captain Casey Kopua and Leana de Bruin snuffed out some early Fever attacks in quarter three while at the other end Harten and Halpenny kept knocking in the goals.

The lead stretched out to 14 goals at one stage before Magic happily settled into the final 15 minutes with a healthy 49-38 margin.

The last quarter was a benefit waltz for the Magic players who continue to impress under the astute coaching of Australian Julie Fitzgerald.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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