Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Dana Johannsen: 5 surprising things about the first 5 rounds

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Romelda Aiken. Photo / Getty Images
Romelda Aiken. Photo / Getty Images

The only sure thing about this ANZ championship is uncertainty, writes Dana Johannsen.

The Magic have been dreadful
Who would have thought it would take the Magic five rounds to get a win on the board in 2012?

The most consistent team of the competition over the first four years, the Magic have been inexplicably poor this year, with their only win coming last week against the Canterbury Tactix. Their unprecedented losing streak has left the Magic's hopes of making the play-offs for a fifth straight year hanging by a thread.

The Pulse haven't been dreadful
When you look at the talent in their line-up it shouldn't be surprising, but given their history it is hard to get used to the idea of the Central Pulse being a danger team in the transtasman league. While they have just two wins after five rounds, they are on equal points with the fourth-placed team, and look capable of claiming big scalps this year.

Romelda Aiken has not been a factor
Before the start of the season Australian netball great Vicki Wilson confidently proclaimed in her column for the Herald "Romelda Aiken has the competition by the throat". She believed the Firebirds looked 15 goals better than any other side, and she was certainly not alone in her thinking. But that has been challenged over the first five rounds, with the Firebirds recording just one win. After dominating in the preseason, Aiken has been surprisingly quiet over the first few rounds - have opposition defences finally got her number?

Grace Rasmussen's comeback
Mystics utility Grace Rasmussen has proved to be the wildcard for the Auckland side this year, with her unexpected injection in the shooting circle adding another dimension to their attack. Rasmussen's strong early season form is all the more surprising after the 24-year-old's 2011 season was cut short by a serious knee injury. Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu singled out Rasmussen's strong form after major surgery as one of the highlights of the first few rounds of the competition.

Casey Williams not leading the intercept count
Star defender Casey Williams is renowned for her ability to pull off the spectacular aerial intercepts. Each game Williams sets herself the ambitious task of pulling off 10 clean intercepts, which has seen her regularly top the league's intercept count.

But this season she has been extremely quiet, picking up just seven intercepts in five games, which does not even place her in the top 10.

- NZ Herald

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Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Dana has more than a decade's experience in sports journalism, joining the Herald in 2007 following stints with TVNZ and RadioSport. Over that time Dana has covered several major events including the 2011 Netball World Cup in Singapore, 2011 Rugby World Cup, 2012-13 Volvo Ocean Race, and the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco. A multi-award winning journalist, Dana was named New Zealand Sports Journalist of the Year in 2012 after scooping both the news and feature categories at the TP McLean Awards. The previous year she picked up the prize for best news break. She was also an inaugural recipient of the Sir John Wells scholarship at the 2009 NZSJA awards. Dana also writes a weekly sports column for the NZ Herald.

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