Netball's 'hoist' not so easy to master

By Dana Johannsen

Northern Mystics attack team Catherine Latu and Maria Tutaia practice the new lifting tactic. Photo / Dean Purcell
Northern Mystics attack team Catherine Latu and Maria Tutaia practice the new lifting tactic. Photo / Dean Purcell

The Harrison Hoist may be a goer, but the Tutaia Flyer is unlikely to take off.

While Anna Harrison's aerial heroics have proved a defensive masterstroke, the Northern Mystics' light-hearted attempts to introduce lifting in the shooting circle at training this week were not so successful.

With all the talk this week of where the defensive innovation could lead to next, the Mystics shooters couldn't resist the opportunity to experiment with some lifting manoeuvres at the end of their training.

Cathrine Latu and Maria Tutaia tried combining for an assisted alley-oop, with Latu hoisting her shooting partner in to the air to collect a pass and put it in to the net.

The results were rather shambolic.

"I got one," Tutaia shrugged as they abandoned their experiment after about 10 attempts.

Not quite the level of accuracy Mystics coach Debbie Fuller expects of her shooters then.

"It's opened a can of worms," said Fuller, shaking her head at the pair's experiments.

"But it begs the question what can you do with the game that's in the rules, so that is exciting."

The Mystics' new defensive innovation has generated huge interest in what would otherwise have been a fairly uninspiring match-up against the 10th-placed Canterbury Tactix on Sunday.

While many opponents of lifting believe it will lead to low-scoring games, driving fans of the sport away in their droves, that does not appear to be the case.

Mystics chief executive Julie Paterson said the excitement of the weekend's game had notable impact on ticket sales, with fans keen to see the Harrison Hoist live.

"There was definitely a spike in ticket sales on Monday, and it has been really steady since then," said Paterson.

"We're having to open up seating areas that we haven't had to open up before, because people have been trying to buy online and the availability hasn't been there, so we've had to put more seats in to the system."

But will the fans walk away happy?

There has been some suggestion that the Mystics may bring the spectacular move out only for their crunch games.

However, Fuller said this won't be the case and if the opportunity arises against the Tactix, the hoist will be employed.

"It's not something you can do over and over again, it's really tough to execute properly and it takes a lot of energy," she said.

"But no, we're definitely not [going to save it]," she said.

"And this is a big game, Tactix are a well-drilled side and they've shown already this season they can be very dangerous."

Southern Steel midcourter Courtney Tairi has been ruled out for the rest of the ANZ Championship season after scans confirmed she has ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament.

The 23-year-old will undergo surgery on her injured right knee in Dunedin as early as next week.

It's a cruel blow for the Sydney-born Kiwi, whose inclusion in Netball New Zealand's accelerant squad was a strong indication of both her talent and potential to earn national honours.

- NZ Herald

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