Netball: Magic returns at last

By Dana Johannsen

The Magic's Irene van Dyk shoots under pressure from Tactix defender Anna Galvanin Rotorua. Photo / Alan Gibson
The Magic's Irene van Dyk shoots under pressure from Tactix defender Anna Galvanin Rotorua. Photo / Alan Gibson

Suddenly all is beginning to feel right again in the Magic's world.

Well, almost - if you discount their eighth position on the transtasman league table.

But after an unprecedented ANZ Championship drought, the Waikato/Bay of Plenty side finally returned to the winner's circle last night, notching up their first win of the season against the Canterbury Tactix in Rotorua to end a four-game losing run.

For a while in the third period and early in the fourth, it looked as though they were going to blow another opportunity.

After going off the boil in the second quarter, the Tactix came back to overcome a 24-32 halftime deficit and close to within two goals of the star-studded Magic side on three occasions.

But after a series of near-misses in Australia over the past two weeks, the motivation was high in the Magic camp - they were not going to let another two points slip away.

Inspired by some sterling work at the back from Leana de Bruin, the Magic went on a scoring spree over the final 10 minutes to secure a nine-goal win.

While the Magic camp will be feeling much happier with a win on the board, the Tactix further highlighted some attacking concerns for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty side.

They will especially be wanting to take a close look at the third quarter, during which they were outscored 17-12.

Magic coach Noeline Taurua said that while she was relieved to finally get some points on the board, her team had not produced the clinical attacking performance she had been hoping to see.

"I don't think we attacked the ball enough and became very hesitant so we had a very high turnover rate," she said.

"This year, we've been talking about building on each of our performances and I don't think we did that. Even though we lost last week [against the Vixens] I still think we played better then."

Despite their attacking struggles, the Magic were able to notch up 61 goals.

Shooting star Irene van Dyk came into her own late in the game after her team mates struggled to find her under the post early on.

The veteran had another 100 per cent return, slotting 33 from 33.

Taurua is hoping the win will help build some momentum in the team as they look towards a play-offs position.

A 0-4 start to the transtasman league might seem terminal, but after an unpredictable start to the competition, the composition of the table this year is looking very different to other seasons.

The teams in fourth to seventh places on the table have only two wins to their name, although two - the Steel and Swifts - had byes, meaning they have a game in hand.

With games against the Fever, Pulse and a re-match against the Tactix over the next three weeks, the Magic have an opportunity to make up some ground on the competition leaders.

But the true toll of their poor start may not be evident until the end of the season.

- NZ Herald

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