Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Netball: Magic chase 50th home victory tonight

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The return from injury of Grace Rasmussen is a major boost to the Cold Power Magic.
The return from injury of Grace Rasmussen is a major boost to the Cold Power Magic.

Cold Power Magic will hope their past record at ASB Arena will help drive them to a win over the Central Pulse tonight.

The Magic have a good record at the impressive indoor stadium despite their loss to the West Coast Fever by 58-44 at the same venue earlier this month. They have played 14 matches since the first match there in 2009 with a record of 10 wins and four losses but have never lost to another New Zealand side at ASB Arena.

A win against the Pulse would see the Magic jump up to second in the New Zealand conference behind the high-flying, unbeaten Southern Steel.

Last round was the first time the Magic had veterans Leana du Bruin and Grace Rasmussen on the court together playing a full match since last season's semifinal loss to the Swifts in Hamilton.

And what a difference they made as the Magic defeated Mystics 49-45 to make it back-to-back wins after losing their opening six games.

The Magic frontline look like a different unit with the inclusion of Rasmussen, which has seen the confidence soar for shooter Joanne Harten

The English international played a dominating role against the Mystics netting 30 from 34 attempts at goal attack. Her match-up against Pulse captain Katrina Grant could determine tonight's result.

Rasmussen says it has been enjoyable being part of winning the last two games with the Magic, which she says shows the character within the team.

"Going ahead it is important we don't get too far ahead of ourselves and go back to our game plan to make sure we are doing everything leading up to make sure we topple the Pulse.

"Then we will climb the ladder because it is a tight competition. The games we have won haven't been by drastic margins by any means."

Rasmussen says having du Bruin back has made a dramatic impact.

"She makes a huge difference down at the defensive end and particularly bringing the ball through court. Having that experienced head there makes it a lot easier transition I think.

"Her captaincy role and her on-court encouragement are hugely beneficial for us going forward."

The Magic are after their 50th home victory tonight. They have 49 wins, 15 losses and a draw at home for a 75 per cent win record, shaded only by the Firebirds in ANZ Championship history who have 50 wins at 79 per cent at home.

- Cold Power Magic v Central Pulse, ASB Arena, 7.30pm, tonight.

Magic v Pulse

* Magic 12 wins 5 losses, Pulse 5 wins 12 losses

* Magic highest score 67 (Round 11, 2009), lowest 38 (Round 5, 2015)

* Pulse highest score 57 (Round 1, 2016), lowest 35 (Round 11, 2009)

* Last meeting: Round 1, 2016: Pulse 57 def Magic 56 (Wellington)

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