Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Netball: Mystics ready to make a statement

Maria Tutaia of the Mystics. Photo / Getty Images.
Maria Tutaia of the Mystics. Photo / Getty Images.

Northern Mystics coach Debbie Fuller wants her side to announce themselves to the rest of the trans-Tasman netball competition when they meet the Vixens in Melbourne on Sunday.

The Auckland-based Mystics are the only kiwi side in the top four and have won five of their seven games but were well beaten by the Queensland Firebirds 56-43 in round six during their previous trip across the ditch this year.

Four of their five wins have come against kiwi opposition and the only Australian side they have disposed of was the lowly West Coast Fever who have struggled this year.

The Mystics boast a deep squad, deadly shooting and were last year's beaten finalists but are yet to deliver a complete performance in 2012.

"I think we need a breakthrough game like this," Fuller said.

"We need to attack the game, there is no way we can stand back and wait for the ball to come to us without doing work to get free. So every person out on court is going to have to double their workload."

Playing in Australia has proven tough for all of the New Zealand teams this year but Fuller said it was a matter of concentration.

"It's keeping to our game plan and keeping to our style and being able to adjust to the different interpretations of the umpiring. Again, it sounds like a broken record but there's no excuses, we've got to get over ourselves and really focus on what our game plan is. What we are wanting to do over there is assert ourselves in to the game instead of being distracted by umpires and opposition antics."

The Mystics sharp shooting pair is led by Cathrine Latu who has drained a competition-best 98 per cent of her attempts on goal this season, while Silver Fern Maria Tutaia provides strong support.

As long as their mid-court can get enough ball in to the shooting circle the Mystics will push the Vixens close, although Melbourne have won six from seven this year and occupy second place on the ANZ Championship ladder behind the league-leading Adelaide Thunderbirds.

In other round eight games this weekend, the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic travel south to meet the Canterbury Tactix in Christchurch tomorrow as the Magic look to win their fourth game in a row.

After starting the year slowly with four losses, the Magic look as though they're returning to their best form, which is a worrying sign for the Tactix who have won only one from seven and are anchored to the bottom of the table.

The NSW Swifts host the under-performing Fever in Newcastle on Sunday, while the Queensland Firebirds head to the bottom of the South Island to meet the Steel in Invercargill on Sunday evening.

The Steel began the season well with a surprise win over the Magic but have tasted victory just once in their last five outings and are seventh on the ladder.

Monday night's only game will see the Central Pulse host the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Wellington as the Pulse look to snap a three-game losing streak.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 28 Dec 2014 04:21:23 Processing Time: 283ms