Netball: Top Aussie sides stand in way of Magic

By Dana Johannsen

Magic shooter Irene van Dyk in action. Photo / Christine Cornege.
Magic shooter Irene van Dyk in action. Photo / Christine Cornege.

Another week, another number one side standing in the way of the Magic's play-off hopes.

After deposing the Northern Mystics from the top perch last week, the Waikato/Bay of Plenty side will look to do the same to the new league leaders, the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Tauranga today.

Despite the heroics of recent weeks, during which they have emerged from the mire to deliver seven straight wins and jump into the top four for the first time, Magic's play-off hopes remain in the balance.

Notching a win over the Mystics in their latest outing was a huge confidence-booster for Magic but with Thunderbirds and Queensland Firebirds lying in wait to round out the regular season, any celebrations were kept on ice.

Shooter Irene van Dyk, who celebrated her 40th birthday this week, said the next two weeks loom as a daunting challenge. "Irrelevant of the table, these last three games of the season were always going to be hugely challenging," she said.

"We've only played one of those so there's no way we're going to get complacent.

"We're happy with where we are at but we know that the work isn't half done yet.

"That is quite a good thing because it puts us in a place where there's no room for complacency."

Nearly 30 goals better than the NSW Swifts last week, the Thunderbirds are in ominous form and eager to continue building momentum heading into the post-season.

But the Adelaide side are conscious of the Magic's fighting qualities, which have been on display over the past eight weeks.

"We are expecting them to play very high on emotion, which they've done before and given us some good beatings in New Zealand," said Thunderbirds coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson.

- NZ Herald

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