Netball: Hard work pays off for unbeaten Mystics

By Dana Johannsen

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The Northern Mystics have reaped the rewards from an intense pre-season fitness regime, going through the weekend's tournament in Queenstown unbeaten.

The Mystics made it four from four yesterday when they toppled defending champions NSW Swifts 58-53. It was the first time the Auckland side had beaten an Australian franchise in the ANZ Championships, pre-season or otherwise.

After a brutal off-season training programme, which included boot-camps and a big emphasis on fitness, the Mystics looked sharp and well-drilled over the weekend.

For new coach Te Aroha Keenan, the weekend's results have reaffirmed her side were on the right track.

"The commitment the players have made to doing the work has been awesome. They're stepping up and they're enjoying playing the game," said Keenan. "The weekend has been beneficial not because of the results, but because we know where we are and we know where we can get to."

Mystics midcourter Temepara George said while pre-season results mean little, beating the Swifts, and their performances over the weekend in general, had been a big morale-booster.

"We're like 'wow, we've got four in a row' it's a pretty unusual feeling. But we had a pre-season this year, we've been going since November whereas last year we didn't have so much time together, and I think it's paid off for us," said George.

While George pointed out the teams they beat over the weekend would come back "bigger and stronger in six weeks' time", she said her side also had room for improvement.

"I still think we've got a lot to improve on, we didn't play a faultless game out there and we want to come out humming in six weeks' time and we don't want to make the same mistakes that we made here," she said.

- NZ Herald

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